Hurricane Irma Preparation

Hurricane Irma is now a Category 5, which has sustained wind speeds greater than 136 knots (157 mph; 252 km/h).  The latest storm track reveals that it is forecast to reach the Straits of Florida by 1am CDT on Sunday (September 10).  The National Hurricane Center has told Americans along hurricane-prone parts of the coast to get an evacuation plan in place.

In developing an evacuation plan, the following should be considered:

  • How are you getting to the evacuation hotel?
  • Do they accept pets?
  • Who else can reach you in case your cell phone dies?
  • How are you going to pay for expenses?
  • What are you going to take with you?
  • How will you secure your home?
  •  Without power, you are going to be consuming more water, therefore, it is recommended to have 100 ounces of clean water per person per day with regards to planning.
  •  Non-perishable food is the best to purchase
  • Once the power goes out, a freezer can last 72-96 hours if it is not opened before the food spoils.  Once it is opened, eat or dispose of everything in it in a timely manner.

For port users, please check with your local Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) for status of Port Condition (PORTCON).  For example, COTP Key West has ordered PORTCON WHISKEY to be set at 8:00 PM, September 5 for the COTP Zone Key West, FL.  Some actions, which waterfront facilities, should take include:

  • Remove all debris and secure potential flying hazards.
  • Take due diligence to prepare for potential storm impacts.

Meridian can also provide Incident Management Support and Direct Asset Response Teams:

 

  • Incident Commanders
  • Incident Command System Specialists
  • Staging Area Management

 

Meridian.us can rapidly deploy highly-trained, disciplined, self-sustaining, multi-faceted, and dedicated unit of private security specialists for security, medical and or recovery services.

Meridian.us can assist with hurricane preparation, response and recovery.  For more information, please contact Jason Wilbur at (337) 515-5833 or jwilbur@meridian.us.

Is Your Company Doing Enough to Deter Pirates in High Risk Waters?

Earlier this month a court in Mumbai, India, sentenced a group of 15 pirates to 6 months in prison, plus time served.

In January 2011 25 Somali nationals attempted to board a merchant ship 1,400 nautical miles off the coast of their nation. The crew of the ship sent an emergency distress signal to the Indian Navy and Coast Guard, which responded quickly. The ensuing firefight killed 10 of the 25 pirates. The remaining 15 have been incarcerated in India for the last six-and-a-half years.

“The offenders have been given a lesson that in India there is rule of law and that the offenders are brought to justice,” said special public prosecutor Ranjeet Sangle. “From 2011, since the pirates were arrested, the entire piracy operation in the western waters of India has come down . . .  now, I believe that it will go down to zero.”

Unfortunately for merchant ships, the prospect of seven years in prison isn’t much of a deterrent, especially given the large potential payoff pirates receive when they are successful. 

But the firefight, resulting capture, and eventual conviction of these pirates should send a very important message to those who sail through high risk waters (HRWs):

A trained and armed presence on or near your ship can protect you and your crew from dangerous pirates.

Over the last several years pirates in HRWs have kidnapped crew to hold them for ransom, stolen highly valuable cargo, and even ended the lives of those on board the ships they attack.

But since 2009 Meridian.us has guarded hundreds of voyages, and has successfully defended ships from pirate attacks and suspicious approaches—all without needing to fire a shot.

If your shipping company is ready to take the security of its crew and cargo to the next level, we’re here to help.

Meridian is uniquely qualified to provide security, safety, and environmental services to the maritime community. For additional information, please contact us at (251) 345-6776 or info@meridian.us.

Providing the world’s most trusted and reliable risk mitigation service to the maritime community

In 2009, Meridian began working as a maritime security company for merchant ships off the coast of Somalia. Since then, Meridian has grown into a full-scale security, safety, and environmental service company. Our vision is “To create the world’s most trusted and reliable risk mitigation service to the maritime community.”

In striving for our vision, we have implemented an integrated management approach to service development and delivery. This involves implementing ISO 9001:2015 standards for quality management and Incident Command System (ICS) tools and processes for mission planning and execution.

An example is how we provide our Direct Asset Response Team (DART) services. The mission of our DART is to provide the requesting client with a highly-trained, disciplined, self-sustaining, multi-faceted, and dedicated unit of private security specialists available on short notice for security, medical and or recovery services.

In meeting ISO 9001:2015 (Section 8.2), we closely collaborated with our clients to determine the requirements for DART services. For example, we staffed our DART(s) with highly qualified personnel, including:

  • Former Military and Law Enforcement Personnel;
  • Medics;
  • HAZMAT Specialists; and
  • Incident Command System Experts.

We recognized that, in most situations, DART(s) will operate within an incident management organization that uses ICS tools and processes. To facilitate DART’s response and seamless integration with the ICS organization, we maintain an initial Incident Action Plan that can be quickly updated for an emerging situation.
Before Tropical Storm Cindy hit the Gulf Coast last week, several companies inquired us about our DART services. We quickly provided them with a copy of our standard operating procedure and our DART(s) were ready to respond as needed.

Meridian is uniquely qualified to provide security, safety, and environmental services to the maritime community. For additional information, please contact us at (251) 345-6776 or info@meridian.us.

Client Satisfaction Update

Meridian.us has protected freedom, industry, and most importantly life for close to 8 years now. Since our establishment in 2009, Meridian has strived to set ourselves apart from the field through professionalism, versatility, and resolve. In order to not just maintain our standard, but also raise it, Meridian puts great importance on client satisfaction. Meridian views our client satisfaction scores as a free evaluation for improvement.

Every suggestion is progress and opportunity.

Meridian has been sending questionnaires to our clients upon completion of operations for years as part of our Business Management System. Meridian’s Client Satisfaction Survey is graded on a 10 point system which deducts points for anything below a “Very Good.” This grade is based on remarks for improvement as well the survey questions.

Meridian has set a goal of 8/10 to be the minimum standard set forth for our Client Satisfaction survey. Over the years, with many different clients, Meridian has an average assessment score of 9.5/10. Meridian not only celebrates our success, but also resets the bar. The company is enthusiastically making progress toward new goals above 9.5.

“As a company we want to be successful,” said Joshua Simonson, VP of Maritime Security. “Success is not just tied to completion of operations, but just as importantly, satisfaction of our clients.”

It is this kind of culture and military professionalism that have propelled Meridian to where it is today, and will be what brings us even more success in the future.

How Meridian.us Can Help You Prepare for Hurricane Season

North America’s hurricane season begins June 1st, bringing with it the threat of torrential winds and rain, loss of life, power outages, and an increased risk of security breaches.

The mission of Meridian.us’s Direct Asset Response Team (DART) is to provide our clients with a highly trained, disciplined, and dedicated unit of private security operators available on short notice for safety and security services. Upon request this unit can be rapidly deployed to address a variety of situations including but not limited to: Site Security, Heightened Security Risks, Personal Security Details, Natural Disasters, and Asset Recovery Operations.

Meridian.us’s DART will assist your company in three phases after a hurricane or other crisis event.

Response Phase

Establish an immediate and controlled security presence at the incident site.
Conduct shelter-in-place procedures if necessary.
Conduct a preliminary assessment of incident impact, known injuries, extent of damage, and disruption to the facility’s services and business operations.
Provide facility management with the facts necessary to make informed decisions regarding subsequent resumption and recovery activity.

Resumption Phase

Establish and organize a facility control center and headquarters for recovery operations.
Provide security for facility support teams necessary to facilitate and support the resumption process.

Recovery Phase

Prepare and implement procedures necessary to facilitate and support the recovery of time-sensitive business operations.
Coordinate with higher headquarters to discern responsibilities that will fall upon the facility’s Business Operations Recovery Teams and Technology Recovery Teams
Assist facility management coordinate with employees, vendors, and other internal and external individuals and organizations.

Meridian Global’s DART operations, utilize teams of highly trained private security operators. Our clients are not simply provided a one dimensional security team. Meridian.us supplies its clients with teams that are multifaceted, with personnel trained in the following areas:

  • Emergency Medical
  • Emergency Management Coordination
  • Incident Command System
  • Hazmat
  • Search and Rescue
  • K9
  • Special Response

Equipment

  • Firearms (Handgun, Carbine, Long Rifle)
  • Body Armor
  • Ammunition
  • Communication Equipment
  • Generators
  • Food Rations
  • Hazmat Equipment
  • Mobile Command Center
  • Tactical Operations Center
  • Watercraft/Maritime Patrol
  • ATVs
  • And more

For assistance with DART operations and preparing your business for hurricane season contact Meridian.us at (251) 345-6776 or info@meridian.us.

WILCO – What’s New from Meridian Global Consulting

WHAT’S NEW
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Meridian Global Consulting’s quarterly Newsletter.

Since our establishment in 2009, Meridian has been known as a high-quality organization that goes the extra mile to meet client expectations. The name “Wilco” reflects our values and commitment to those we serve.

In every edition of our quarterly newsletter, we will strive to provide information that facility and vessel operators can use to ensure operational readiness and regulatory compliance. We welcome any feedback or suggestions for improvement.

Jonathan McConnell
President
Meridian Global Consulting

 

Read the whole newsletter HERE.

Terrorists May Be Evolving in Their Tactics, But So Are We

The bustling Brussels Airport in Zaventem, Belgium, handles more than 500 flights a day, bringing more than 27,000 passengers into the facility with approximately the same number departing. Mornings are particularly busy at the airport, and amid the flurry of activity, it is little wonder that on March 22, 2016, three men emerging from a taxi outside of the departures hall passed through unnoticed.

The trio loaded their heavy suitcases onto baggage carts and entered the flow of people heading through the doors toward the ticket desks. Shortly after they entered the departures hall, the three split up to take their places in separate ticket lines.

Three minutes later, one of the men detonated his suitcase bomb, which had been packed with nails, as he stood in one of the check-in lanes. Approximately nine seconds after that, the second man detonated his suitcase bomb in another lane. The third suitcase bomb did not detonate immediately; surveillance camera footage showed that after being thrown to the ground by the second blast, the third man, Mohamed Abrini, simply got up and walked away from the airport toward the city center.

READ MORE at asisonline.org….

Cruise Ship Safety & Security

The cruise industry continues to experience significant growth, with the Cruise Lines International Association projecting that its members will serve 25.3 million passengers in 2017, compared to 17.8 million in 2009.

To meet the increasing demand, the industry is planning to build 97 new ships over the next ten years.

The cruise industry is a heavily regulated industry. All cruise ships are designed and operated in compliance with the strict requirements of the International Maritime Organization, for example, the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). They are subject to periodic inspections and surveys by their Flag State and Port State authorities, and classification society.

Over the last three years, the Coast Guard National Response Center annually received approximately 65 incident reports from cruise ship operators. Additionally, the Coast Guard reported that 2015 saw a substantial increase in the number of vessel detention over 2014.  The most common areas of detainable deficiencies include: (1) fire protection systems, (2) firefighting detection, (3) maintenance of ship and equipment, (4) rescue boats, and (5) oily water separating equipment.

Some of these incidents have resulted in significant enforcement action. Notably, on December 1, 2016, a major cruise line pleaded guilty to seven felony charges stemming from its deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up. The company has agreed to pay a $40 million penalty and be will be under a court supervised Environmental Compliance Program for five years.

In promoting safety, security and environmental protection, Meridian.us offers the following scalable, cost-effective services for the cruise industry:

  • Safety and Environmental Management Systems Assessment and Improvement
  • Pre-Port State Control Examination Assessment
  • SOLAS Compliance Verification
    • International Safety Management Code Compliance
      • Management review
      • Internal audits
      • Incident investigation
    • International Ship and Port Facility Security Code
      • Ship Security Assessment
      • Ship Security Plan Development and Maintenance
      • Cruise Terminal Security Assessment
      • Cruise Terminal Security Plan Development and Maintenance
      • Training, Drills, and Exercises
  • MARPOL Compliance Verification
    • Oil Record Book
    • Ballast Water Management
    • Waste Stream Management
  • Port Captain Assistance
  • Emergency/Spill management Team Services
  • Environmental Compliance Plan Audits

For additional information on our services, please contact Meridian.us at (251) 345-6776 or info@meridian.us.