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AdvanFort President Will Watson Addresses Criticism From the Maritime Security Industry

Rob Almeida
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August 1, 2013

advanfort logoThe world of private maritime security has utterly exploded in recent years following the rise of Somali piracy, and now the huge increase in attacks in the Gulf of Guinea.  In a recent chat with the owner of a European security firm, he describes the flood of new firms as “ridiculous.”  He adds that there are 65 private maritime security companies (PMSCs) in Greece alone.

In the “game” of maritime security, there are definitely no pads, and the “referees” still seem to be trying to get an handle on how it’s actually supposed to be played.  In short, the sector is still in a development phase.

After a bit of blood was spilled into the water yesterday, the sharks have been circling around maritime security firm AdvanFort, hoping to get more than just a bite.

Advanfort acknowledged that they had pled guilty to “Aiding and Abetting the Making of a False Statement During the Acquisition of Firearms,” a court case stemming from an incident in 2011.

Various individuals wasted no time on social media to use this as an opportunity to attempt to discredit AdvanFort and make conclusions based off what they wanted to believe, rather than the facts.

“The story must go deeper,” one person wrote.

Another stated, “The facts will come out to show there is no credibility with this group…”

The truth of the matter is, comments like this are not supported by facts, and do nothing to support the private maritime security industry, one that is relied upon by shipowners and seafarers worldwide.

I spoke with one of AdvanFort’s competitors today, who wished to remain anonymous, and he notes, “all of the maritime security companies out there have faced similar situations as what AdvanFort faced in 2011.  Bad-mouthing them will do nothing to support my business.”

AdvanFort President, Will Watson emailed us this afternoon in response to those who were seeking to discredit his company, and to those who are seeking the truth, he writes:

“What is now being bandied about by AdvanFort competitors (and their front men using fake identities in the social media) is an isolated incident that took place over two years ago exclusively due to the poor judgment of one of our independent subcontractors. The responsible individual is no longer with AdvanFort and faced all applicable legal consequences. At all times, the AdvanFort Company cooperated closely and actively with all legal authorities in addressing and solving the situation. In part because of our cooperation the issue is now behind us. This issue was adjudicated over five months ago and the company is moving on.

Advanfort wants to underscore to its clients and all interested public that this single incident is in no way reflects of our company’s policies and practices. We have for years been working hard to build a reputation of a corporation that operates in full compliance with all applicable local, national and international laws. It has been our practice since inception and it continues to be our motto for today and for tomorrow.

Some of our cornerstone guiding values include customer-orientation, professionalism, and reliability. Our dedication to these values, combined with the increasing volume of services that Advantfort provides, has unavoidably led to a certain degree of personnel rotation.

While Advanfort is on constant look-out for customer-oriented and dedicated staff characterized by good judgment and respect for laws and customs, at times the Company has been forced to let go individuals who do not meet these criteria. As occurred in the firearms case, we have been led to believe that some of these individuals, always let go for cause, are now embarked on a bitter effort with a few unscrupulous corporate rivals to damage AdvanFort’s reputation.

From our perspective, however, such efforts only reiterate the fact that AdvanFort is today one of the leading forces to incorporate “lessons learned”–including our past mistakes—and as such has become a key player in the maritime security arena.

To quote an old proverb: dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.”

Note: gCaptain is not supported in any way by the private maritime security industry.

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