AdvanFort has announced today that it is withdrawing from the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI). On its website, SAMI asserts that it is a ‘focal point for global maritime security matters’. However, according to Advanfort’s acting president, Ahmed (AL) Farajallah, when he reached out to SAMI for help with the 35 guards who were arrested in India in October, his calls and emails went unanswered.
?He claims that he made repeated requests to SAMI over the course of several months to assist with matters relating to their 35 imprisoned guards.?According to Mr. Farajallah, “When our guards needed SAMI they were nowhere to be found. For the last 4 months we have been asking them to return our calls, and they have stonewalled us, and thereby stonewalled our guards.”
He says that?the counter-piracy industry needs a voice that promotes an elevated debate about the challenges and opportunities, not one that stands by while their members need assistance.?He also says that AdvanFort is currently in discussions with other PMSCs about starting a US maritime association that truly stands for the industry.
In October,2013.? 35 AdvanFort maritime guards were arrested for possessing firearms in Indian territorial waters. The vessel Master maintains that they were in international waters.?Marine experts argue that a vessel might have drifted due to winds factor, as there was a nearby cyclone storm at that time, but this should have been treated as force majuer.?Most of the guards have been released on bail, but they still await the judge’s bail conditions. Two of the guards are still?imprisoned?in India.