AdvanFort International, Inc., a leading U.S. maritime security firm, has announced that the government of Benin has granted it permission — the first by a West African government — to conduct counter-piracy operations for both domestic and foreign-flagged commercial vessels throughout Benin's waters.
The company recently secured similar licenses from major maritime nations Panama and Cyprus.
“President Dr. Thomas Boni Yayi — who is also the African Union assembly chairperson — has made our Private Maritime Security Company (PMSC) the first foreign enterprise to be able to fight the sea-borne marauders where they cause the most problems,” said AdvanFort President and COO William H. Watson.
He said that the company can now offer in West Africa the same kind of security services for vessel owners and operators that have won official U.S. government praise for similar efforts off East Africa at a time when Benin prepares to become a world-class registry for merchant shipping.
“Having AdvanFort working counter piracy and security in the Gulf will safeguard cargo and an increased passenger trade,” observed Septime Gnacadja, Director General of Benin-Scaphandrier, Chantier Naval at the Port of Cotonou. “Also, with the exploration of so many oil fields in the Gulf, a maritime security flotilla is what is needed to take care of an unsafe area.”
Due to the expansion of its scope of business upon becoming the first major PMSC to win such an agreement with a West African country facing a growing piracy challenge, Captain Watson added that what was previously called the AdvanFort Company is rebranding itself and will operate globally as AdvanFort International, Inc., a Delaware (USA) corporation providing counter-piracy services to commercial customers.
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