As Hurricane Sandy moves ashore on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, the storm’s effects are being felt by more than just the ports that have curtailed operations. Among the many maritime companies that are coping with the storm’s impact is the AdvanFort Company, a global maritime security firm based in the Washington, DC suburb of Herndon, Virginia. Contacted by gCaptain, Will Watson, president of AdvanFort, explained that the company’s global security operations – including its counter-piracy missions – are continuing uninterrupted by the hurricane.
“The maritime industry is the backbone of international commerce and never stops,” Mr. Watson said. “ And securing that industry cannot take a holiday just because of a storm – either at sea or one that passes uncomfortably close to our headquarters.” Mr. Watson, who is also vice president and governor of the Maritime Security Council, explained that his company has full redundancy in directing its security operations. “We operate a round-the-clock Maritime Operations Center (MOC) at our headquarters in Herndon but we also have out Global Operations Center located in Asia,” Mr. Watson explained. “Additionally, we can also direct operations from the SG OHIO, the flagship of our fleet of Operator Support Vessels, which is forward positioned in the northern Arabian Sea.”
AdvanFort is one of the oldest, most diversified and well equipped of the Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) currently providing counter-piracy support to commercial vessels transiting the High Risk Area (HRA) for piracy. “We are the only PMSC to operate our own fleet of support vessels that are strategically located at key choke points surrounding the HRA. These vessels allow us to forward position PCASP (Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel) teams as well as their equipment to facilitate embarkation to and disembarkation from client vessels without their having to divert from their planned courses,” Mr. Watson continued.
“In this particular storm event, senior company officials are continuing to discharge their duties from their homes while the headquarters has been secured in the interest of employee safety,” Mr. Watson noted. “Operations are continuing just as if everyone were in the office and there was no storm.”