Panama Maritime Authority approves AdvanFort counter-piracy operations

  • Washington | Business Wire via ITWeb, 15 Feb 2013
  • Read time 2min 10sec

    The AdvanFort Company, a world leader in providing comprehensive maritime security solutions for the commercial shipping industry, was officially approved last week by the Panama Maritime Authority (PMA) to conduct counter-piracy operations aboard vessels flying the Panama flag.

    "We at AdvanFort are very pleased that the world's largest flag state has vetted our company and approved our highly trained operators to protect their ships from piracy attack," said Captain William H Watson, president of AdvanFort.

    "I want to personally thank Alfonso Castillero, Panama's General Director of the Merchant Marine, for the professional manner in which this approval was handled."

    To facilitate the process, Watson travelled to Panama to meet with Castillero and with Nyxkhari Ardilla, of the PMA's Maritime Ships Security Department.

    The Resolution (Number 106-26-DGMM) is dated 4 February 2013 and was later signed by the general director, following an extensive review by the PMA's Technical Committee and Legal Department.

    The Republic of Panama is the largest ship registry in the world, with more than 5 700 ships flying the Panamanian flag.

    AdvanFort recently emphasised its continuing dedication to quality management by announcing it is currently undergoing International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001 certification.

    In addition, this week a number of AdvanFort vessel security officers are participating in a first-ever counter-piracy training programme for corporations working in the merchant marine environment.

    Offered by the National Maritime Law Enforcement Academy and supported by the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS), the NMLEA's efforts are a big step forward in meeting growing international demands for standardising (and professionalising) counter-piracy security teams around the world.

    The new NMLEA and MITAGS training programme teaches those "best practices" that have been identified to date, with a special emphasis on the effective integration of security forces with vessel captains and crews.

    Robert M Wells, NMLEA director of training, pointed to the company's leading role in the private maritime security world, singling out the fact that the company was just last week officially approved by the Panama Maritime Authority.

    "The programme," Wells said, "is designed to assist companies like AdvanFort to maintain and highlight their highest level of professional security officers possible."

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