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CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS: Maritime Security Jobs, The Next Big Thing?

Your opposition may be a little less gay looking than this if you decide to get into Maritime Security work

(UPDATE – 4/20/13) It is looking like more and more guys are getting hired for Maritime Security gigs, what was once a pipe-dream for most guys is quickly becoming a realistic job prospect. As far as I can tell most of the guys getting hired are solid Tier-1/2 guys

I have heard guys talking about Maritime Security being the “next big thing” in Security Contracting for over 15 years now, even before I started working overseas. Five years ago if someone mentioned Maritime Security work to me I would have just chalked up as being another International Security Job Old Wives Tale.

But just over the past year the Maritime Security Job market has started to become a reality. This is mostly due to the massive increase of piracy incidents off the cost of Africa. After years of completely dismissing even the very idea of having armed security professionals aboard ships the maritime shipping consortium is finally waking up.

This is mostly due to the billions of dollars that piracy has cost the maritime industry in a relativity short amount of time. As usual Money and not the safety of their employees has prompted a security policy change within an industry.

So after hundreds (thousands?) of hijackings, attempted hijackings and regular old vanilla robberies on the high seas, we are finally starting to see a few guys working armed gigs on ships.

Who are the Maritime Shipping Companies are Using for On-board Armed Security?

Right now it seems to be a combination of active duty military personnel from whatever country the ship is from and some Security Contractors. Their is some talk of having firearms available to the crew for emergencies but that one seems to be up in the air right now.

I won’t go into Active Military on ships or crew members serving double duty as armed security because that really doesn’t have anything to do with us. What we are interested in is the armed security that is being farmed out.



Training is and will continue to be one of the regular jobs in the Maritime Security industry job market. Especially if western countries start sending (or continue sending?) aid money to the tin-pot governments in Africa so they can train their own maritime security forces.

Old Hand military training contractors like MPRI (Military Professional Resources Inc) have already stepped in and been awarded a contract. I also know through the “Contractor Grapevine” a few other medium sized companies are in the planning stages to start sending guys there for training contracts or to drum up business.


This is the big one, the 90-point albino buck of the Maritime Security industry job market, the one everyone in civilian contracting has been talking about lately (well, talking about with more hope). Maersk, the Big Daddy of the maritime shipping industry already has armed contractors on a few of their boats. And Israeli guards are working on a couple of Italian ships, additionally a Spanish contractor has armed guys on tuna fishing boats that fish off the coast of Kenya.

Over the past year many defense contractors and security companies have been advertising online for Maritime Security jobs. They seem to be just fishing for resumes so they can show them to potential clients. So far I have not heard about anyone being hired for any advertised maritime security job.

What are the chances of you getting hired?

Ahhhh… yes, the big question. Like most guys in the Security Contracting industry you have probably daydreamed about riding the high seas yelling “Avast ye Landlovers” and other cool Letter of Marque shit like that.

Well hold your damn seahorses matey, because right now the Maritime Security industry is so young the few armed maritime security jobs that are out there far outweigh the pool of candidates. And unless you have a 20+ year high speed background in the Special Forces you can forget about a training job.

I know two people that are working in Africa right now in armed security work related to the maritime security field. Both of them were hired via the “contractors bubbas club” – meaning they were hired by a friend who vouched for them.

Oddly, one of them isn’t even ex-military or law enforcement (he was a personal trainer – WTF???), another example of the nepotism that exists within the civilian contractor industry, especially for the “premium jobs”.


So… what’s the word on the future of the maritime security job market? Will I ever be able to get in on this?

Not going to happen for you right now – especially of you are not ex-SF or have a hook-up. You are going to have to give the Maritime Security Job market time to mature before you will be able to apply online with a realistic chance of getting hired.

This is really no different than the way the Security Contracting job market has matured over the years. Back in 2000 when I first started in Security Contracting I got my first gig working in the Middle East through a buddy that vouched for me.

That’s just the way it worked back then, but after Iraq and Afghanistan came along any Joe could throw his resume in the hat with a better than average chance of getting picked up for a high paying security gig overseas.

I suspect that the Maritime Security Job market will be no different if, and that is a big IF, hiring private contractors to provide armed security personnel on ships becomes an industry standard. Will that happen? I honestly don’t know, a dozen factors come into play – everything from the maritime insurance companies to the political situation in countries like Somalia.

My personal opinion? I believe that Maritime Security will always be a relatively thin Job market with the majority of the gigs going to a select few high-speed and well connected guys.

But hey, opinions are like assholes and you never know if a major shipping company just suddenly says; “F-This BS with pirates, lets hire 2000 guys and arm up every ship in our fleet”. Stranger things have happened in the security contracting business so keep your fingers crossed.

How to Make Yourself More Marketable to Potential Maritime Security Employers:

For the optimists out there who believe that Maritime Security will be a bigger job boom than Iraq was here are a few suggestions to help get your resume to the top of the stack:

– Get EMT certified

Security guys with advanced medical training will be in demand. The same thing happened when Iraq and Afghanistan popped-off, companies were desperate for medics.

– Get some AK and other Foreign Weapons Training
Chances are you won’t be using a shiny new Rock River Arms M-4 on an old ass container ship traveling through the HOA, think AK family and the FAL.

– *Get Merchant Mariner Credentials
This is basically a license to work on a ship that is over 100 tons (every cargo ship is) and is used as your passport wile in port outside of your home country. If you don’t have one, you can’t work on a ship.

You will also need a STCW-95 (Standards of training and Certification for Watch-keepers), basic safety training called STCW-95 BST and a TWIC (Transportation Worker ID Card) expect to shell out between 1 to 2 grand to take the courses and pay for the apps.

*This applies to Americans only. And whether or not all Maritime Security guys will be required to have the above is not known right now. But having all the licenses, certs and courses for seafarers (even if they are not required) will sure as shit get your resume to the “in” box.


External Resources:

Now that I have 500 AK’s its time to hijack some damn ships

Read All CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS Articles | Read All Articles by James G.


~James G
Founder – Editor in Chief

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and making Eric Cartman AK-47 jokes even though its already way played out.


  1. Great article. Yeah, this is a closely watched industry right now and I am getting tons of emails asking about maritime security jobs.

    I say give it time, and just as long as folks deliver a quality service out there, the shipping industry will continue to warm up to the concept.

    Now one development that will happen when the shipping industry is the ratio of attacks on unarmed versus armed vessels. The pirates will continue to go after the weakest prey–unarmed boat. As more armed vessels make their way out there on the high seas, the unarmed vessels will get more attention by these thugs. That is the law of the jungle, and doesn’t take a piracy expert to figure that one out.

    So with that, and with less ransom pay outs, the insurance companies will instead focus on servicing the armed boats market instead. So in nutshell, with each new boat that becomes armed, so goes follows the rest of the boats out there.

    I do not know how close we are to the tipping point on this, and that is why I watch this stuff closely. A number of things (or even Black Swan Events) could ratchet up piracy. EU forces stop patrolling the area do to cost or political reasons.

    AQ in Yemen and Somalia extremist groups infuse more money and bodies into jihadi privateering. A tanker is taken by pirates, sold to AQ, and then blown up in a terrorist attack.

    Other groups learn from the Somalis, and decide to get into the piracy game because the ‘business model’ works. The economy continues to suffer, crime increases.

  2. Thanks Matt

    I think I have read a few things about the concerns a group like Al Qaeda may buy or hijack a LNG tanker and use it as a floating bomb.

    But I really don’t know enough about the counter-Islamic terrorism aspect of piracy to give an opinion on it (but I did think about including a mention in the article) so thanks for the SITREP.

    ~James G

  3. Very interesting post. TWICs are only required for US-flag vessels regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act.

    The Coast Guard has put out “Minimum Guidelines for Contracted Security Teams in High Risk Waters” (Port Security Advisory 05-09), which indicates that for foreigners not eligible for TWICs may still provide security for US-flag vessels in High Risk waters, provided they undergo a name-based terrorism check (procedures for which are spelled out in Port Security Advisory 06-09).

    PSA 05-09 makes no mention of requiring either a Merchant Mariner Document or STCW-95 BST.

    Both PSAs, and lots of other interesting counter-piracy info, such as self-defense guidance, ITAR implications, and some Port State laws on carrying firearms, are available at:

    DVM Admin Edit: The link you posted was broken


    Thanks for the info JBennett!

    ~James G

  5. [quote]- Get EMT certified
    Security guys with advanced medical training will be in demand. The same thing happened when Iraq and Afghanistan popped-off, companies were desperate for medics.[/quote]

    This was my route in. I took it a bit further than merely being an EMT and went EMT-I. That and my LE background opened doors.

  6. I tool the EMT course (like 12 years ago) but I never tested – something I still kick myself for today

    ~James G

  7. I wonder what the chances might be for some small group of entrepreneurs – not exactly like Blackwater, but maybe with the same spirit – to offer designated marksmen teams for hire, long or short term, one way or round trip, providing their own equipment?

    I’m thinking of one good man with a Barrett 50 and a spotter with an AK or what have you. Barrets would reach out and touch someone long before the diaperhead AK crews could close, and such small squads or teams would offer the ‘plausible deniability’ that was once a big deal with some employers. Just a thought.

    And no matter how badly Somali pirates might THINK they want a quick trip to their paradise, the sight of one’s fellow pirate standing one foot away, suddenly dissolving from the shoulders up, is one hell of a deterrent to dreams of glory.

  8. Naaaa… no way the shipping companies would hire straight-up mercenaries

    ~James G

  9. The maritime industry is a complex one. It seems that there are so many people in the business of shipping goods, have such a vested interest, and lots of liabilty. I’m starting to see some security companies ramp up armed security opportunities to help offset some liability.

    Some security companies are getting out of maritime security altogether. From what I can tell, Xe is selling their ship that was to provide security escort for cargo ships.

    On a side note, I remember seeing a position posted a while back for armed maritime security for laying phiberoptics off of the coast. The pay was insanely high, and then I found out why… It was in East Africa.

  10. On a side note, I remember seeing a position posted a while back for armed maritime security for laying phiberoptics off of the coast. The pay was insanely high, and then I found out why… It was in East Africa.  (Quote This Comment)

    I saw that add also – I never heard about anyone getting hired, it was most likely just another company resume fishing

    And yep, ER sold their boat – their name is pretty much mud in the international security market these days

    Too bad, they run a great company – it is the only contractor that I never heard their employees complaining. That speaks mounds in this line of work

    ~James G

  11. Looks like they’ve whacked their first pirate.

  12. Yep – I saw that, it will be interesting to see how the insurance and shipping companies will react to this

    I am sure that some liberal group in the US has already filed a lawsuit on behalf of the “Victim”

    ~James G

  13. Judging from that article, the anti-piracy lawyers at the UN are looking for some way to press charges. “Stop the vicious pirates — just don’t hurt them.” I say let the USN use the pirate vessels for target practice, with a few practice USMC landings at Somali ports and shipyards. Our boys get some exercise and problem solved.

  14. There is a company based out of San Antonio called Espada Services. They have a couple Maritime Security contracts. They’ve got a few FAST boats for escort, and teamed up with private investors and have some maritime industry partners. They offer armed escort vessels and embarkation security teams.

    Armed Escort prices:
    $54,000 USD Gulf of Aden (up to three days)
    $74,000 USD East Africa, Horn of Africa to Seychelles or Mombasa (up to four days)

    Embarkation Team:Price:
    $26,900 USD Gulf of Aden (up to three days)
    $49,000 USD East Africa, Horn of Africa to Seychelles or Mombasa (up to four days)

    Interesting to say the least.

  15. I have heard of them, I don’t know if they actually have any contracts. They have put out a couple of press releases whenever they buy boats, but never anything about winning contracts.

    ~James G

  16. Their site reports that they are currently escorting various cargo ships through out the high-risk area.

  17. Regarding the regulation of private armed security on vessels by the U.S. Coast Guard recommendations, it sounds like the firearms licensing is very vague.

    Does anyone have an information on the possibility of NFA Class III type firearms being regulated by anyone, if they firearms aren’t from U.S. origin & come into U.S. waters but not dock? It sounds like if you recieve, firearms, training & licensing from a country that requires almost nothing then your good-to-go?

    Sounds like the U.S. Coast Guard is encouraging setting up pirate fighting businesses overseas.

  18. ?Sounds like the U.S. Coast Guard is encouraging setting up pirate fighting businesses overseas.  (Quote This Comment)

    I don’t think the Cost Guard is necessarily encouraging it – they just know it is inevitable considering the state of piracy these days. So they threw the MINIMUM GUIDELINES FOR CONTRACTED SECURITY SERVICES IN HIGH RISK WATERS together so they could say the Cost Guard did something in case some security contractors blow up a boat full of weekend divers or something. Its basically a CYA thing, the guidelines are laughable at best.

    If you read the Cost Guard MINIMUM GUIDELINES FOR CONTRACTED SECURITY SERVICES IN HIGH RISK WATERS (and you are familiar with security) it reads like someone who has never worked in security wrote it based off of stuff they found in security manuals.

    ~James G


    If you are contacted by Global Sea Security or a guy called Scott Meinket do not respond – it is a scam

    Just Google “Global Sea Security or a guy called Scott Meinket”

    ~James G

  20. Years back when maritime industry leaders and consultants all condemned armed security aboard vessels; I foresaw the winds of change and have since brought like-minded active-duty souls together who together see a great opportunity in this field. One thing I want to point out, does one have to be a ex-SEAL or SF to provide Force Protection? Are the costs associated with paying high wages to such individuals the best course of action for the maritime industry?

    Things to ponder…..

    • Good point ! Dont get me wrong, I have the highest respect for the guys who go through the special ops training and serve in that capacity. However, just because a man doesnt serve in special ops, it doesnt make him any less a viable candidate for a security job. I honestly feel that many people are passed over for employment in these jobs , that could become very well trained and loyal assets. Granted, everyone wants the best for what they have planned, but I think it has gotten a little out of hand. I personally amd going back into private security after a 10 year absence. I am EMT certified, level 4 protection professional in Texas and a veteran. I just came back from a year in Northern Afghanistan. Im fully aware of military procedures, OPSEC and trained in various firearms and martial arts. I also am a firearms instructor with a spotless record, yet I cant get hired in alot of gigs , because I dont wear the Budweiser or sport a spec-ops ring, or worse yet, I dont know a certain somebody to get me in.

  21. MARITIME SECURITY JOB SCAM ALERT!!!If you are contacted by Global Sea Security or a guy called Scott Meinket do not respond – it is a scam Just Google “Global Sea Security or a guy called Scott Meinket”~James G  (Quote This Comment)

    James G. You are on the money about Scott Meinket and Global Sea Security. I was one of a number of former special operations (Army, Navy, and USMC) who were offered work by this guy last year.

    Many of us gave up existing work, purchased equipment, etc. only to find out that he never had any contracts. The guy led us along for a month and a half until we found out he was BS.

    He even fooled an active duty officer with 17 years in, into leaving the service to work for his company. Now that guys is standing with his d–k in his hands and is looking at a trip through the IRR if he wants to get back in.

    Meinket also lied about his military background, saying that he was a former SEAL. We checked on him (stupidly after the fact), and found that there are no records of anyone by his name going though BUDS, UDT, or having been part of a SEAL team.

    Please spread the word about Meinket and Global Sea Security because the word is, that he does this every year or so. Best we can figure is that he is using CVs to scam potential investors.

  22. So I get this straight, those of us who have a passport fall under 33 CFR 101.515 & are good to go for vessel security in high risk waters, right? Because Semper Fi Staffing Solutions seems like a good company but at this time they’re saying that’s all I need. I just sent them an email asking about the other docs after reading several of your articles on the subject. I just want to be as informed as possible. Thanks gents!

  23. If you blow a hole in a pirate ship and it sinks with the crew and nobody knows about it, is it still illegal ? Just askin.

  24. Espada is a horrible company do not work for them. They cant pay their people on time, and the support staff back in the office isnt support staff at all. They have a bunch of rejects working for them and also all the press releases they put out arent true at all.

  25. “to be unknown” — care to provide some details on how dicked up they are? Were you / are you on that gig? Or are you passing on second hand info?

    Info I have from people who are/were working for Espada.
    – first team of employees quit en masse
    – cheap chinese uniforms and kevlars
    – shotguns with birdshot and a rusty Mosin Nagant that wouldn’t fire
    – now some AKs but only 200 rounds to be split amongst everyone
    – crappy “villa” in Mogadishu outside of town – half dozen US and about 9 Filipinos and only 4 bedrooms.
    -Crap for food – according to some American palates – as Filipinos buy it and cook it.
    – Arrears in Pay. People are back in US and still waiting to get paid.
    – Two year “contract” made with employees. (anybody in contracting knows that’s hokum – probably at will contract. But it sucked in the newbies.)

    Again, this if from a couple guys on the ground.

  26. Thanks for the info on the site and the forum. I am ex army ( non combat ) I am also an entrepenur with an eye on the piracy situation. I can see where a oppurtunity for martitime security coming. I am trying to position myself to take advantage of this. I am obsessed about with this and can’t seem to move fast enough. I just want to thank all you guys for your input.

  27. Thanks for this input, I am a Marine, and have been contracting for DoD and DoS. I have been in Yemen,Afgh., pakistan,and some other garden spots. Was just wanting to get some work and have the training..copperhead

  28. DO NOT GO TO MAST TRAINING unless you have 5 years in UK military. I just returned from Malta after taking the Mast training for STCW95 and the counter piracy course. When I read the website, it stated “those who complete this training will have the opportunity to work for mast”. After I paid for the course, I was told I would not be afforded the opportunity to work for Mast because I did not have 5 years UK military experience. Do not be fooled into giving up your money. If you are intent on getting training, get it from bonafide company that will aslo provide employment assistance.

    • Ronald,I was told by MAST,that I don´t need a 5 years in UK military.


    • i have just done the same course in malta with four of my ex army buddies and now are looking for work if you can help us i would be very thankfull kind regards

  29. Bro do you not think you should have done ure home work before going on this course. They clearly state there minimum requirement’s on there web site.

    I work for mast and can say they in the top three maritime company’s out there.

    You should have done more home work before jumping in to things, wouldn’t hurt to go get some military experience either for five or more years like the rest of us.

  30. Let me try and help out alot of folks on this forum. I am an ex- U.S. Navy Seal, spent 12 years in the Navy with 7 1/2 of those years with Seal Team 4. I also thought of this same idea of starting a security company, with 2 of my fomer Seal buddies that I served with. Clearly we are very qualified. We were so srious about it and got the ball rolling. We had an investor to bank roll us to get started,we also hired 5 army special forces guys. Then gues what , e could not land any contracts. So if we could not do it, with our backgrounds, then nobody can. The only slim chance you have, is you got to know somebody that owns a shipping company, and that you will work for cheap, but yet have the qualifications that we have. So there you have it, If we could not crack the market with being ex-Seals, then who can ???

  31. Best of luck to you guys. I suggest sub-contracting directly for the shipping company you plan on working for. We had several rounds with angel investors, and most are terrified to throw money at this idea. Too much grey in this field for anybody to inject funds. Try looking into Libya for a possible approach. They want to drill there and the tribal rebels haven’t been disarmed. First is always better than best in picking up contracts.

  32. Stop posting your email looking for a job –


    And if you honestly think they will – give up looking for work in this industry right now because you are not an intelligent person

    Same goes for the so-called maritime security company’s posting here saying they have guys that are ready to go – if things are so bad with your company that you have to make random posts on blogs to find work for your company please get out of this business because based on that logic you are going to get someone killed if you ever do get a contract

    ~James G

  33. Armed guards on international shipping is more likely to come about if Lloyd’s shipping insurance gives insurance discounts or cheaper premiums for those ships that have registered protection staff aboard.
    I’m not going to start linking people here to info sites, but even as I write this Llyod’s and the international shipping security association are discussing the situation.

    I do forsee armed operators on international container ships, even perhaps on cruise ships in the future.
    The minimum number of guards per container ship is being discussed as a four man team.
    The idea someone posted up about using a Barrett .50 to ‘deter’ pirates at a distance is feasible but not likely to be accepted.
    To date the Captain of the ship is supposed to operate the security response scenarios according to a rigid set of escalation rules.
    Shoot first isn’t part of the response agenda. Much as gung-ho gunslingers might like it to be.

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