The AdvanFort Company, reinforcing its commitment to quality operations, has instituted its Quality Assurance program. The multi-faceted program includes seeking counsel from outside expert advisors; independent auditing of training and operations programs; accreditation from professional and trade organizations; feedback from vessel masters who interact with AdvanFort operators; and an ombudsman program for the operators themselves.
“We equate quality to saving lives and livelihoods,” said company President Will Watson. “These systems have been put in place as part of AdvanFort’s commitment to quality and delivering services that enhance the safety and protection to our clients’ seafarers, vessels, cargo, and facilities. We are dedicated to becoming the best in the field and this comprehensive Quality Assurance program will aid in reaching that goal.”
Board of Advisors
The new Board of Advisors is comprised of four outstanding individuals: Mr. Charles Dragonette, who is retiring as Senior Commercial Maritime Operations Analyst at the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence’s Nimitz Operation Intelligence Center; RADM Joel Whitehead (USCG-Ret.), whose last post with the Coast Guard was as Commander of the 8th Coast Guard District which covers 26 states, more than 1,200 miles of coastline and 10,300 miles of inland waterways from Florida to Mexico and including the entire navigable lengths of the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Tennessee River systems; Mr. John A.C. Cartner, a master mariner, and maritime and admiralty attorney, who is also the author of The International Law of the Shipmaster and Defending Against Pirates: The International Law of Small Arms, Armed Guards and Privateers; and Mr. Michael Crye, an attorney and retired U.S. Coast Guard Captain who spent the past 15 years representing the Cruise Ship Industry in Washington.
Outside audits AdvanFort has reached out to the National and International Maritime Law Enforcement Academies, which have certified AdvanFort’s operator training program; and will continue to independently audit training, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Rules of Use of Force and other operational aspects of the company.
In addition to its certification from N/IMLEA, AdvanFort has applied to, been vetted and accepted into executive membership by the Maritime Security Council, a non-profit, member-driven organization founded in 1988 to promote security in the maritime industry; and has joined and is undergoing the accreditation process of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI). AdvanFort has also begun the process of obtaining ISO 9001 certification on quality management and intends to seek ISO 28007 certification for Private Maritime Security Companies as soon as the criteria and process is established. In addition to membership in SAMI, AdvanFort is a signatory of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC).
AdvanFort is now sending Assessment Reports to masters of vessels on which company security operators serve as counter-piracy guards. These assessments are independently reviewed by the N/IMLEA in addition to being reviewed internally in an effort to update training and SOPs.
Finally, AdvanFort has established a hotline in its Washington, DC headquarters where operators may call if they ever feel their needs are not being addressed through the chain of command. The company is dedicated to maintaining a corps of operators who are professional, well trained and who understand the defensive role they play as part of a ship’s company.
“We are committed to raising the bar on quality,” added Watson. “We take quality assurance, greater regulation and compliance within Maritime Security very seriously. Our clients face considerable risks… it’s the nature of their industry. Our aim is to provide our clients with the reassurance they need when contracting with a private security provider to lower those risks. They need assurance that they are engaging with a respected company employing a high level of professional and ethical standards to deliver quality results.”