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“Lipstick on a Pig”- Vetting Armed Security Part 3 February 21, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Piracy & Maritime Security, Risk & Risk Management.
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The recent event where Italian military personnel killed “suspected pirates” off the coast of India should provide an exclamation point to shipping companies on the need to carefully evaluate the armed security protecting their vessels.  While military personnel were involved in this particular incident, it is simply a matter of time before private military contractors make the same mistake.  This post is part 3 of a series of posts on vetting companies.  You can read the previous posts here and here.

One of the tactics being employed by many companies within the maritime security arena, and especially those with little experience, is to promote the fact that they are “ICOC signatories” as evidence of their professionalism and expertise.  While there is little debate that the ICOC is a step in the right direction toward gaining some form of control over a growing industry, the ICOC is NOT and should NOT be viewed as anything more than what it is. Using the ICOC as any basis of evaluation of a security company is both dangerous and short sighted.  All companies should be signatories of the ICOC.  That being said, the ICOC is not intended to be a governance document or standard.  The purpose of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Companies (ICOC PSC) is to: (more…)

Part 2: Vetting Security Companies & Their Principals February 15, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Risk & Risk Management.
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As I read Kevin Doherty’s questions for vetting security companies, I felt compelled to add some additional commentary.  It is important to really do your due diligence on the principals of security companies.  It is the leadership that will define the ethics, and attitude of the organization.  If the owner is prone to dishonesty or misrepresentations then the staff is likely to follow their lead.  Unfortunately, in the high risk world of maritime security (and other security) the fallout can cost more than money. In a very real sense, lives can be lost.

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Vetting Armed Security Providers February 13, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Risk & Risk Management.
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Nexus Consulting’s CEO, Kevin Doherty was kind enough to let me post a questionnaire his company developed specifically for companies considering the use of armed security on ships.  Nexus has conducted hundreds of transits through the Gulf of Aden and is one of the original maritime security companies and currently one of only 3 companies in the US that work with US Flagged vessels.  Please download the document here.

“Lipstick and Eyeshadow on a Pig” + “Nail Polish” April 21, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Industry News.
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Since I am heading to the Piracy event in Hamburg, Germany this week and (here is a plug…will be speaking on Cybersecurity), I thought it appropriate to re-post this particular post with some added commentary. You can read the previous posts on vetting armed security here.  I have added four techniques used by companies to project a skewed image.  I call them: “Sitting With Cool Kids” ; “Wining and Dining”; “Bravado Impresario”; and “Rambo-ing a Client”.

This is a bit off topic but I think it is interesting.   In a previous life I used to manage number of competitive intelligence projects for clients. It is field I find fascinating and very interesting and I put quite a bit of time into learning about CI and it’s application.  Today I was reminded of a CI signal and thought I would pass on.  When I was a younger man I liked to race my motorcycle around the streets and highways of Texas.  I remember my friend told me once: “Never race a car or bike that has a primer paint job.”  I asked why and he said: “Because they don’t care about looks and they put all their money into motor.”  It makes perfect sense in street racing and in business.  One of the trends that I look for is companies suddenly “painting their car” or announcing that they are about to “paint their car” for no real reason.  While companies should always be focused on improving their marketability, often a radical change like a total re-branding or a shiny new website suggests something more sinister.   Often these changes are calculated to occur at an opportune time like right before a major industry event.   (more…)

Nexus Security Calls for Investigation into Maritime Pirate Shooting April 20, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Piracy & Maritime Security, Uncategorized, weapons and tactics.
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In a recent press release, Nexus Consulting Group’s Founder and President calls for the recently released video of armed security firing on pirates to be investigated.   You can view the video here.  It appears to be an American company firing on a Somali boat.  As stated by Mr. Doherty:  “As president of Nexus Consulting, a leading provider of armed security teams in the defense of mariners against Somali pirates, I would like to personally note that though we are operating quite regularly conducting anti-piracy missions, the team in this video is not a Nexus team,”  Nexus also provides some valuable vetting questions for those considering maritime security. (more…)

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