April 20 - The Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) has entered into voluntary administration following a fall in membership.

Since the organisation was founded in April 2011, piracy off the coast of Somali and the Horn of Africa has fallen dramatically, helped by the efforts of SAMI itself to establish a regulatory structure for the use of armed guards on board ships in pirate-infested waters.

This has caused SAMI's private maritime security company (PMSC) membership to more than halve from its peak of 180 members, meaning that the association is no longer financially sustainable in its current configuration.

Peter Cook, SAMI's ceo, comments: "There has not been a successful hijacking of a commercial vessel in the High Risk Area since May 2012 and this is principally due to the increasing competence and professionalism of the private maritime security industry. This is the task SAMI set out to achieve and we have done it."

It is globally recognised that SAMI has had a very positive influence on the development of the use of armed guards on board ships in the North-West Indian Ocean. As noted by a former commander of the naval task force EUNAVFOR, the private maritime security industry "has a 100 percent rate of success", thereby, protecting many thousands of seafarers from pirate attacks and the horrors and deprivations of being held hostage.

SAMI has also reassured ship owners, charterers and marine insurers of a high standard of professionalism from the Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP) providing a measured and proportionate response to deter pirates from attacking ships transiting the High Risk Area.

Yordie Wiebes of Shore & Offshore Security, the chairman of SAMI members' Industry Steering Group (ISG), said "SAMI has done a fantastic job in bringing together this new international industry over the past five years. It has provided a focal point for the shipping industry and the members alike … and led the way in the formulation of a robust regulatory structure for the use of armed guards on ships in the High Risk Area which has allowed us to protect thousands of innocent seafarers and made significant strides in the raising of professional standards across our industry."

"There is no doubt that SAMI made a positive contribution to the private maritime security industry by helping to establish improved regulation and, in doing so, improved how the industry was perceived. Its pioneering work on floating armouries will be an enduring legacy," Neil Roberts, manager of marine and aviation at Lloyd's Market Association (LMA), said.