Everything seems to be under your control when you are working on the land. You have vehicles available to escape any dangerous situation. There is likely a hospital nearby if you need it for yourself or your principal. Lastly, you can find shelter in the blink of an eye. Conversely, you don’t have most of that when you progress through the seas. And that’s precisely the subject matter of maritime security.
What is Maritime Security?
In a nutshell, maritime security deals with protecting vessels externally and internally. Although some experts would argue that there is no one-size-fits-all description, that’s the crux of it. Moreover, even though every nation is interested in ensuring maritime security, there is still no international agreement on what it entails. Go figure.
As in most other categories relating to executive protection, maritime security also heavily depends on procedures and processes. They shield your team and the client in a multitude of situations. Just like you need to thoroughly prepare before going on a trip, you must implement tactics to minimize dangers. Here we don’t mean only malicious threats from other individuals or entities, but also accidental ones. Make no mistake: disasters still happen, especially on the open sea.
In essence, maritime security is the association of the following four concerns:
- Human security,
- National security,
- Economic environment,
- Marine environment.
As expected, EP relates to all aspects of maritime security in one way or another. The first concern primarily relates to protecting people, which is the epitome of executive protection. The second one can also be thought of as protecting high-level individuals, like government officials.
As for the third concern, it may happen that a company is transporting valuable cargo, and you may be tasked with ensuring its safety. Fourthly, all of the above occurring at sea. The links between executive protection and maritime security are rather obvious.
Furthermore, when you are out there, you may not only encounter ships from your country on the open waters. To make matters worse, you could not be sailing in home waters. For this reason, maritime is distinctive because it keeps employees and passengers safe onboard the ship.
Types of Maritime Security
As an executive protection agent, you probably won’t have to prevent weapons smuggling when traveling with clients. We said probably.
However, it’s useful to know what you can run into onboard. And it isn’t pretty. That’s all we can say. Still, let’s look at some maritime security models and what you can do to be on top of your game.
News flash: there’s a lot you can do about it.
Firstly, we discussed the importance of tools in executive protection in a different article. Here we will highlight saving the cargo and passengers from terrorist threats. Although not that common, this form of danger can be the end of you and your principal.
We don’t want to sound morbid, but you should be cautious when checking telecommunications and international commercial logistics. Do it before boarding the ship.
Bonus tip: Do everything before boarding the vessel. Prevention is better than cure.
Pirates and Terrorists
Since terrorists utilize shipping industries to damage political and economic security, you must be watchful and learn the pathways terrorists use. Put yourself in their position. What would you do if you were one of them?
Secondly, to be sure that nobody is tampering with sensitive equipment that could endanger your principal, don’t permit unauthorized personnel aboard. Grave consequences can ensue in case the ship’s engine or functional properties are at risk.
There have been situations where ships stopped working in mid-sea, so let’s avoid that. Additionally, this could be critical if you run into modern-era pirates. In that case, you would be a sitting duck out in the vast sea. It doesn’t sound like something good could come out of it.
Thirdly, be aware of any thieves who would want to steal goods and resources at the local port. To ensure the safety of precious and sensitive baggage, you must keep your eyes open at all transportation stages. Not just at the beginning and the end.
Fourthly, no good deed goes unpunished. Along with an increase in maritime trade and economic globalization came the expansion of transnational crime. Maritime security plays a crucial role in minimizing the spread of international crimes.
Criminals know that security officers rarely have the resources to check all the goods boarding a ship. They use this to their advantage to try to smuggle merchandise and undermine the safety of passengers.
Now that you know of all these threats lurking at the open sea do something about it. Better sooner than later.
Practices to Counter Threats
Anything can happen anywhere, and that’s true. But if you put the right practices in place, the likelihood of something multifarious occurring decreases dramatically. Doing a proper security risk assessment wouldn’t hurt in this case.
As maritime industry experts often say, this area of expertise is undoubtedly evolving. While it grows, it also advances technology and operations that are increasingly automated. Hence, security practices and tactics change also.
Although you can’t predict the future, here are a few practices to get you as close to ensuring security as possible.
- Keep a vigilant eye over what gets into the ship and what gets out. Inspect everything that looks suspicious. This isn’t limited to goods and includes personnel as well. Check the credentials of each person getting on the ship.
- If you notice something out of the ordinary, propose a travel delay to have more time to examine the circumstances. Alternatively, report the problem to your principal or the authorities. Better be safe than sorry.
- In case you identify something aboard the ship that isn’t in line with best security practices, remove it, or ask somebody to do it.
- Make sure the personnel on board is trained and aware of potential risks. Don’t overlook the importance of having seasoned professionals working with you on the ship. It’s a system, not a one-person show.
- We know you probably have only two eyes but put one of those on the security equipment. It could mean the difference between an engine failure and a safe cruise.
- Observe what crew members are doing. Are they behaving unusually? Are they surprisingly stressed or talking in low voices? Why is that?
You must dedicate a lot of time listening and watching over everything that appears remotely relevant. That’s why you need executive protection training.