Setting Up a Maritime Security Company

MSR recently caught up with an emerging private maritime security company in the market. Its Managing Director, Helen Mitchell, agreed to share some insights in setting up a new company within the sector.

The PMSC market is notoriously competitive, with new security companies entering the sector almost on a weekly basis, why have you set up Actus and what do you hope to achieve?

Actus International Security was set up to provide high quality maritime security services to the International Shipping sector, primarily in response to the exponential rise in threat from piracy and other maritime criminal activity. Actus is not dissimilar to other much larger and established PMSC’s. Aside from scale, Actus possesses the appropriate commercial expertise and maritime security knowledge and experience to deliver high quality security services to the International maritime community. It is true that this is a crowded market, but there is an increasing requirement from the Maritime community for a high quality security product, where the security provider demonstrates an inherent understanding of the maritime environment and its associated risks as well as a capability to mitigate such risks. Actus was established to assuage the concerns that have plagued the origins of the private maritime security sector, to deliver a high quality product at a competitive rate.

What makes Actus any different to other PMSC’s?

Actus board of Directors demonstrates knowledge and experience from both the public and private sector. It is entirely privately financed and well provisioned in terms of capitalization of the business and far exceeds the normal requirements of a PMSC, in insurance, licenses, compliance and delivery. For example the UK Government’s Business Innovation and Skills department recently audited Actus’ Trade Control License. We were praised for the processes and standards of operation that we have established demonstrating our commitment to the professional approach we take in every aspect of this business. Actus provides an assured product; operating in a competitive market, it is a fully established, accredited, compliant, licensed PMSC, keen to be the security provider of choice in safeguarding seafarers through high-risk areas.

What are the current issues for the PMSC sector?

In a crowded and unregulated market, standards of delivery and compliance are becoming increasingly important. It must be incredibly difficult for a CSO/DPA choosing a security provider with so many companies offering various standards of compliance and delivery capability. The sector must support SAMI, ICOC, SCEG, and ISO accreditation in translating and harmonizing standards that the sector wishes to set and maintain. Equally the shipping community should also share in this process as of course any introduction of accreditation and regulation comes at a cost, which stands in danger of being passed onto the customer. Another important developing issue is responding to the increasing maritime criminal activity in the Gulf of Guinea. Actus is particularly interested in addressing this issue in mitigating the risk to vessels and seafarers entering and departing this increasingly volatile area. The counter piracy solutions in the Indian Ocean do not fit neatly into solving the West African threat and the sector should be looking to provide a credible deterrent in this part of world.

What is your message to readers of MSR, notably the CSO’s of Shipping Companies?

Alongside international navies and best management practice, private maritime security has an intrinsic role in countering piracy in the Indian Ocean. The armed deterrent is proven and commensurate with the threat in the HRA. Despite the continuing downturn in successful hijacks, piracy attacks continue. Despite there being some very capable security companies able to provide cost effective solutions to minimize risk to vessels, there are still a worrying number that transit the HRA without any enhanced security. Many CSO’s conduct thorough due diligence on their prospective PMSC’s, Actus stands ready to be scrutinized and looks forward to providing a high quality, assured and professional service to the International shipping community.


Article with thanks to Helen Mitchell and Actus International Security.  For more information on them or their service click the logo below.

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