Saturday, January 30, 2010

Maritime Security Operators

First let me clarify my intent on the title Maritime Security Operators. I am not talking about the Maritime security companies, but the employees that are put either on a merchant vessel, or on an armed escort vessel. Our company receives about 100 unsolicited CV's each month from individuals wanting to work in Maritime security, and every time we submit a proposal for service, the shipping company of course, wants to know the personnel that we use.

It is my opinion, that the nationality of the employee or security personnel is not really that important. What is important, is the background, training and experience of Mar Sec personnel. Most of the CV's we receive are basically the same. The prospective employee comes from a military background and served a tour or two in Iraq or Afghanistan. Performed convoy force protection, VIP protection and the like. What is almost always lacking is sea service, having operated in a maritime domain with enforcement such as Coast Guard, Navy Commando etc.

I think there is a big misunderstanding about these issues, as most think that because someone served in a 'sand box' for a year or two, they automatically qualify to work in maritime security. This notion is absolutely false.

It is of great importance, that personnel placed on vessels have a background serving at sea, and especially in the correct domain. The last thing we need is to place an individual on a 38 meter vessel in the open sea, and they are very sea sick for the entire transit. Sea sickness affects everyone differently, but the smaller the vessel, the more pitch roll and yaw. Therefore, seasickness occurs easier to the unseasoned person.

Another consideration is confinement. I do not mean confinement inside or in small places, however, a vessel, especially smaller escort vessel, can become a very small place in a very short period of time. Personnel must be able to deal with this psychologically, as the smaller the place, the closer you are to others. This can be very difficult for some as the need their 'own space'.

Another aspect that is usually overlooked, is that the maritime world has its own 'culture' and having personnel on board a vessel, that are not seafarers, can be intrusive to that culture. So if you place a group of "Operators" on the vessel that possess any arrogance in respect to their duties, this will not be well received.

Don't get me wrong, combat experienced veterans are an absolute plus, as it is a proven fact that these individuals can handle great amounts of stress and still perform. However, there needs to be a mix in experience that includes operations in a maritime domain, therefore having an understanding of the maritime domain and culture, as well as experienced at sea.

Any merchant shipping company should be concerned with the operators supplied by a maritime security company, and these are the factors that should be taken into consideration.

This is just one mans opinion.

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