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The Environment: Stewardship & Compliance

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MARPRO PROFILE their equipment and a well-secured armory. This, along the way, saves clients a lot of money and we can react quicker to emerging problems than most.? What?s Next: an always changing landscape? While piracy seems to be the number one maritime security issue today, Watson?s focus is anything but  xed on one target. ?We see Central America, Africa and the Middle East as logi- cal target markets because in those ports, in many cases, port security is lacking. Because we are already active internation- ally, we have the experience to deal with these quasi-military entities who welcome our expertise ? especially where we are able to interact so closely with the commercial maritime com-munity.? When Watson isn?t traveling to one of Advanfort?s many, far  ung of ces, he can be often found visiting Advanfort?s Mari- time Operations Center (MOP). Operating 24/7; 365 days per year, the watch  oor located in the Herndon,VA headquarters monitors shipping, piracy threats weather, sea state and a myr- iad of other variables. He explains, ?These issues and condi- tions affect not only our operations, but that of our client op- erations, as well.? The center employs sophisticated software and the latest tools and a variety of tracking systems. Watson adds, ?All of our teams ? whether on our boats or on board the ships ? carry their own SATCOM ? so we can communicate with our people, independent of the ship. One of my goals ? it is my hope ? that none of our teams actually ever has to  re a shot in anger at a pirate.? Maritime Security, the Watson Way: Necessary, Legal & Appropriate ?I?m proud to say that in the four years we?ve been in busi- ness ? and partly as a function of our rules of engagement ? we?ve never had to  re directly at pirates. Warning shots, yes; exchanging gun re, no.? Watson insists that Advanfort?s procedures are modeled with regard for international law, and the nation states that they op- erate around and in close proximity to. He adds, ?Internally, our chief of analysis in the company is a former ONI analyst. We have a close working relationship with them. Our Board of Advisors oversees our business plan. This, and through our in- house counsel, we endeavor to make sure that everything that we do is consistent with international and U.S. laws. We even try to do our bunkering and provisioning at sea outside the 12- mile limit. But, we also have licenses and permits with some coastal states so that we can call on their ports, if need be.? It is important to stay on top of emerging trends, says Wat- son. ?Right now, pirates will ?ping? a vessel to see if an armed team musters and shows weapons and if so, they move on to a softer target. They are worried. Their tactics are changing.? And, while counter-piracy efforts are working and taking their toll on the pirates, he concedes at the same time that there is an enormous cost to industry. Mitigating some of that cost, he says , are the insurance underwriters. ?Some are actually pro-viding cost bene ts to client vessels that embark armed teams. So, if an owner decides to transit a high-risk area, his rates are going to go up but they don?t go up as much as they would without an armed team on board. Hand in hand with that is our threat and risk analysis that we perform on each vessel before ever embarking a team.? The Bottom Line: Excellence in PracticeThe bottom line for Will Watson when it comes to anything that he attempts is excellence. He, like everyone else, is wait- ing ISO roll out their quali cation standard for PSMC?s. In the meantime, Advanfort is moving forward with an in-house quality program; the AdvanFort Quality Assurance Program. Beyond that, Watson has sought certi cation for their stan- dard operating training procedures from the National Mari-time Law Enforcement Training Center. And, he adds, ?We?ve applied for and been granted a membership in the Maritime Security Council ? this required a review of our standard op- erating procedures. We?re reaching out for anyone who will bless our procedures and corporate governance to ensure and to prove that we are, if not the best, among the best in our  eld.? Watson?s impressive work history includes time spent as a journalist, with the Maritime Security Council, the IMO and a major  ag state. We asked him in October: What?s the biggest difference between those jobs and being President of Advan- fort? He laughed and replied, ?Well, this is the  rst job where I?ve had to go out and buy 100 semi-automatic weapons at one time.? More seriously, he adds, ?We?re serving an important need. It?s sad that it has come to the point where we have to do this, but it?s a necessary part of the mix. And if we have to do it, then we should do it correctly. It?s why we?ve instituted our quality assurance program. We reward excellence and we want to be excellent.? Never content to be the armchair execu- tive, Will also continues to serve on the Advisory Board of the National Maritime Law Enforcement Academy; the Adminis- trative Board of the Apostleship of the Sea (AOS - USA); the Maritime Working Group steering committee of the U.S. State Department?s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC); and is a member of Oceans Beyond Piracy Working Group. He has lectured at the International Maritime Law Institute, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and the Maritime Insti- tute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS). Actively involved in the Council of American Master Mariners and the Propeller Club, his outreach to the maritime industry he serves is remarkable. It?s not hard to see why Will was tapped for the Advanfort position. Already having put his unique stamp on this sector of ocean commerce, his best and most important work may be yet to come. That?s good news for just about everyone ? except the bad guys. 30 | Maritime Professional | 4Q 2012MP #4 18-33.indd 30MP #4 18-33.indd 3011/12/2012 9:40:47 AM11/12/2012 9:40:47 AM

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