Following closely upon Congressional testimony about international maritime piracy offered by a U.S. State Department official, who called the use privately contracted armed security teams a "game changer in the effort to combat" the international menace, AdvanFort President William H. Watson has issued the following statement: "In testimony this week before the House of Representatives, the Assistant Secretary at Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro said that U.S. efforts to 'empower the private sector to take steps to protect themselves from attack’ was ‘perhaps the most significant factor in the decline of successful pirate attacks.'
"Mr. Shapiro added that: 'Perhaps the ultimate security measure a commercial ship can adopt is the use of privately contracted armed security teams.' The teams (such as those of AdvanFort), he pointed out, 'are often made up of former
members of various armed forces, who embark on merchant ships and guard them during transits through high risk waters.’
"The State Department's conclusion?
'The use of armed security teams has been a game changer in the effort to combat piracy,' Secretary Shapiro concluded. "AdvanFort is very proud to have served in the front ranks of those private security efforts. We led the field in making sure that our security teams meet or exceed the types of IMO-Guidance(s) that will form part of the new requirements being set down by European Union countries and our other best practices are now making the additional training required by the new legislation around the world truly a moot point for us.
"I think that threat analysis guru Andrew Moulder, who heads AdvanFort's research department, said it best when he noted recently:"'Unfortunately, the private maritime security company community remains as a group a motley crew, some well ahead on best practices (while) … others, too many, still seek to increase their share of the market with proclamations, claims and even the invocation of misunderstood history that keep them competitive only at the risk of the greater good.’
“As I love to point out, at AdvanFort, what counts are deeds.” Mr. Shapiro's comments were made Wednesday before the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, chaired by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA).