In recognition of the International Maritime Organization’s “Year of Piracy,” WISTA USA announced that world renowned piracy negotiator, Suzanne Williams QPM, will be the keynote speaker at its sixth annual WISTA USA luncheon on March 21st, kicking off the Connecticut Maritime Association’s Shipping 2011 conference. The luncheon will begin at 11:45 in the Ballroom II of the Hilton Stamford Hotel and is open to all at a cost of $55 for WISTA members and $70 for non-members.
“We are pleased that Ms. Williams will be sharing her experiences with us at the luncheon”, stated WISTA USA President and Blank Rome LLP Partner Jeanne Grasso. “Sue was the recipient of the 2010 International WISTA Personality of the Year Award presented to her in Athens in September, and contributes greatly to the war against piracy. Her efforts in combating this “scourge of the seas” are admirable as our industry searches for solutions to this difficult challenge.”
Williams retired in 2008 from the London Metropolitan Police after 32 years service. For the last five years of her law enforcement career she was head of the internationally esteemed Hostage Crisis Negotiation Unit based at New Scotland Yard, in London. At the highest level, Williams has been an active contributor to the UK government's crisis response process in critical incidents such as abduction, hi-hackings, sieges and kidnap. Many of these incidents evolved in the media spotlight whilst others progressed covertly. All of them involved a danger to life. Williams has been a qualified Hostage Negotiator since 1991, since then she has completed intensive training with many agencies including the FBI and most European police forces.
Williams’ sustained involvement with preventing maritime violence began in 1992, when she investigated the death of Captain John Bashforth who, it was alleged had been murdered by his own mutinous crew, whilst sailing through the Malacca Straits. Her investigation determined he was murdered by pirates. The knowledge and experience gained during that investigation began an 18 year commitment to matters of piracy, concern for seafarers and promotion of worldwide awareness of the growing problem. She has travelled to ‘pirate hotspots’ with the International Maritime Organisation and conducted regional workshops on detection and intelligence gathering.
Reservations to attend the WISTA USA luncheon may be made by contacting Marlene Boyer of BLT Chembulk at [email protected]
WISTA is an international organization for women in management positions involved in the maritime transportation business and related trades worldwide. WISTA aims to be a major player in attracting more women to the industry and in supporting women in management positions. WISTA USA has seven chapters around the United States with 257 members from 20 states.