Papua New Guinea Security Services
Papua New Guinea Secure Transportation Services and Executive Protection
ETS Risk Management provides a range of executive protection, travel risk management and secure transportation services in Papua New Guinea (PNG). ETS has operated in PNG on several occasions supporting VIP travel security, maritime security of vessels, and secure ground transportation. We have an excellent team of local and expatriate personnel based in Port Moresby that facilitate and provide a high level of executive protection in Papua New Guinea.
Executive Protection and Secure Transportation in Papua New Guinea
Local tensions and tribal disputes are common throughout PNG and can escalate quickly into violent clashes. Clashes can spark increased lawlessness, including opportunistic crime and property damage. Crime is rife in many areas, especially those frequented by tourists. Business travelers, VIPs vacationing, or NGOs transiting in Papua New Guinea should consider the use of secure transportation services that include armed security and English speaking locals.
Maritime Security Services in Papua New Guinea
There have been reports of piracy in 2019 (Piracy Report) and in 2018 the Prime Minister identified that piracy in PNG was a concern. Especially in and around the area of Milne Bay (Milne Bay Report)
In January 2019 PNG and Australia initiated a proposal for a joint task force to combat the developing issue (Joint Task Force against Piracy)
Informal reports identify that piracy is on the rise due to the sheer area of coast, and offshore waters to be patrolled and a severely underfunded, undertrained and, and overstretched Police force. The vast majority of pirate issues are not reported, logged or communicated. There is currently a Most Wanted hunt for a renowned Pirate called Tommy Baker who fled police custody and is apparently responsible for a rise of piracy attacks, but these appear to be focused to the South in Port Moresby. Local security professionals identified that Piracy is a low risk off-shore, but informal reports have heard of small boats, skiff type boats (which are very common) moving to vessels at night in hopes of opportunistic crime, which in PNG can turn violent very quickly.
The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary were presented with many new water crafts vessels of all sizes from partnering countries for APEC last year, however since APEC vessels have remained dormant as RPNGC do not have funds for fuel or qualified and trained boat handlers. Criminal elements are aware of this and therefore conduct armed holdups etc. and head straight to the water’s edge where their getaway vessel is waiting. A growing trend among criminal gangs today.
With regards to visiting yachts and ships the main threat would not be hi-jacking etc. but more like night time sneak and steal methods. Locals can easily swim to docked vessel and board during cover of darkness in an attempt to steal whatever they can get their hands on. If criminals are confronted or threatened in any way they will retaliate with extreme violence.
Papua New Guinea Security Overview
Papua New Guinea is a high-risk security environment for travelers. Crime in PNG consists of a high number of indiscriminate violent break-ins, hold-ups, muggings, assaults, carjacking’s and sexual assaults. Tribal rivalries and disputes over royalties and benefits from extractive industries motivate violent crime in rural areas. The vast majority of issues are centered in and around the main urban areas.
Security and Crime in PNG
The high crime rate throughout the country represents the greatest risk to foreign travelers. Criminals target both foreigners and locals; the former are liable to be targeted due to their perceived wealth. Robbery and assault are the most often reported crimes.
Carjacking is the most prevalent crime in urban areas, with attacks becoming more coordinated and elaborate. Sexual assaults have occurred during daylight hours in remote coastal and mountainous areas thus traveling in large groups is recommended. Affluent suburbs in the National Capital District (NCD), where sophisticated security mechanisms are in place, have registered one of the highest incidences of crime. Criminals often use machetes and firearms during assaults and thefts; violence is common, often gratuitous, and frequently alcohol-fueled. Violent crime is more prevalent in urban areas, with the majority occurring in the NCD.
Crime in the countryside is often motivated by tribal rivalries and is an indirect risk to foreign travelers. Independent travel in rural areas or visiting isolated public areas such as parks, golf courses and beaches is dangerous. Villagers occasionally issue threats to close parts of a track due to local land and financial disputes. Robberies and assaults have also been reported on the popular Kokoda Track. The lack of response from the security forces compound the security issues faced by visitors in rural areas such as this.
The PNG police, law enforcement and protective agencies are assessed to be extremely weak, vulnerable, underfunded, and extremely liable to corruption.
All security in PNG and the Islands is conducted by Private Security Companies, the PNG Constabulary/Police just don’t have the resources. There are a number of Security companies operating out of Kokopo, approximately 15 min drive from Rabaul, Rabaul township was destroyed during volcanic eruption just over 10 years ago. Locals moved and resettled in Kokomo tow.
Social Unrest in PNG
Protests can escalate quickly and become extremely violent and should be avoided. Labor unrest and other forms of industrial action are frequent but are generally confined to work sites, ports or the main city, Port Moresby.
Tribal clashes are not uncommon in the country. Local disputes arising from tribal issues and settlement have the potential to quickly escalate into more serious and widespread disturbances. Ethnic hostility continues to exist between migrant settlements in the Highlands and between Highlanders and the coastal populations. The use of hand grenades and other weapons makes such clashes more lethal.
Kidnapping in PNG
The majority of kidnapping in Papua New Guinea targets local nationals or business people working in PNG. Kidnapping is often violent in nature and rarely successful. The PNG police have limited capability and technology to deal with such incidents and rely heavily on the Australian Federal Police. Travelers and expatriates, who are perceived to be wealthy, are vulnerable to abduction; assailants have previously impersonated police officers or security personnel to win the victims’ confidence or to assume a position of authority. Incidents involving a degree of surveillance and preparation have also been reported. Foreign travelers may also be targeted as a result of perceived acts/insults against local communities or if they are believed to be operating on behalf of a company involved in the extractive industry.
Rule of Law in PNG
While lack of resources has led to a decline in judicial standards, there have been accusations in parliament about corruption in elements of the judiciary, the branch is widely seen to be independent and largely free of corruption; the courts have successfully prosecuted and jailed many parliamentarians and senior officials for corruption. The police force suffers from indiscipline, corruption, lack of suitable equipment, and the use of excessive violence. Criminal gangs operate openly in all the major urban centers and are often better armed than the police.
FAQ’s for Secure Travel to Papua New Guinea
Papa New Guinea is considered a high-risk environment. Criminal activity is a serious concern; this can range from petty theft to violent crime and kidnapping. Foreign nationals, including expatriates may find themselves more vulnerable to being targeted due to their perceived wealth.
Business travel in Papa New Guinea can be conducted safely, however it is important to ensure adequate security measures are in place. Strongly consider booking a highly experienced security specialist team for movements throughout the region.
Armored vehicles are not routinely used in Papa New Guinea due to the cost and lack of availability.
Yes, private security can be armed in Papa New Guinea. Armed close protection officers are routinely utilized when traveling outside Port Moresby, this is due to the level of risk occupying the provincial areas.
The greatest risk to travelers in Papa New Guinea is crime, especially in the major cities such as Port Moresby. Rural areas do also get targeted, especially where foreign travelers visit. Criminals will likely use armed violence, including the use of machetes and firearms during assaults and thefts.
Before travel, consider speaking to a security professional about the risks. When traveling in challenging environments it’s important to be confident with your travel risk management plan.
Travel in Papa New Guinea for female travelers can be challenging, especially if traveling alone. Be mindful of how you dress and ensure you take time to understand the local culture before you travel. Sexual assault and muggings are common in city centers where the threat increases at night.
If you are traveling to Papa New Guinea, ensure you research the region and identify specific threats that could compromise your safety. Most importantly, be confident in your security plan and the safety measures you have in place.
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