How 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’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.’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. 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


  • 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 at (251) 345-6776 or

REGULATORY ADVISORY: Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) Facility Access Control Discrepancy on the Rise

On May 4 the Coast Guard Office of Port & Facility Compliance released its 2016 Year in Review.

In 2016, the Coast Guard completed 6,002 MTSA annual and spot check examination activities. About a third of the enforcement actions are related to access control—a category that has doubled in two years.

Per Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 105.255, the facility owner or operator must ensure the implementation of security measures to:

(1) Deter the unauthorized introduction of dangerous substances and devices, including any device intended to damage or destroy persons, vessels, facilities, or ports;

(2) Secure dangerous substances and devices that are authorized by the owner or operator to be on the facility;

(3) Control access to the facility; and

(4) Prevent an unescorted individual from entering an area of the facility that is designated as a secure area unless the individual holds a duly issued TWIC and is authorized to be in the area.

For assistance with MTSA compliance, please contact at (251) 345-6776 or

Does Your Safety Management System Address Cyber Risks?

At the recent Connecticut Maritime Association’s 2017 Shipping Conference, Coast Guard Rear Admiral Paul Thomas, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, indicated that the U.S. has submitted a paper to International Maritime Organization (IMO) for consideration that makes the case for installation of governance over cyber risks as part of the Safety Management System (SMS) required by the IMO’s ISM Code. “ISM requires that SMS establish safeguards for all risks, and put in place procedures to ensure compliance with all requirements of the convention and domestic regulations. ISM specifically mentions computer systems, which we take to include control systems. Our paper suggests a timeline for port state control officers to verify that SMS do indeed address cyber risks.”

Soon after the Connecticut Maritime Associations Shipping Conference, the U.S. Coast Guard released its Port State Control 2106 Annual Report. Detainable deficiencies are ranked as follows:

It is interesting to note that International Safety Management (ISM) Code has risen from 10th in 1998, when it became mandatory for companies operating certain types of ships, to 2nd in 2016.  In his February 2017 interview with Marine News, Admiral Thomas indicated that the Agency is working hard to update ISM requirements in both regulation and guidance.

To mitigate the risk of critical cyber systems, new Coast Guard ISM requirements may include the following:

  • Designated person responsible for Cyber Risk Management (CRM);
  • Corporate structure to address CRM;
  • Training requirements based on access to cyber systems; and
  • Corporate and shipboard procedures for operations and maintenance of critical cyber systems.

Does your SMS have these components?  How effective is your implementation? can help your organization improve the effectiveness of your ISM Code compliance and cyber risk management.

For more information please contact at (251) 345-6776 or

WILCO – What’s New from Meridian Global Consulting

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
Meridian Global Consulting


Read the whole newsletter HERE.

REGULATORY ADVISORY: Proposed Manning Changes for Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit

Nearly seven years ago, on April 20, 2010, while conducting temporary well-abandonment activities in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) Deepwater Horizon experienced a series of events that resulted in explosions, fire, loss of eleven lives, sinking of the vessel, and the largest oil spill in the U.S. history.

There were many investigations in the aftermath of the disaster to determine causal factors and identify potential safety improvements to offshore oil and gas drilling. The Department of Homeland Security and The Department of the Interior conducted a joint investigation. All told, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) held seven public hearings, called over 80 witnesses, issued more than 90 subpoenas, and collected over 400,000 pages of evidence.

Within the U.S. Coast Guard jurisdiction, the JIT recommended 52 safety improvements, on 80 percent of which the Commandant agreed to take action. One major recommendation was to implement regulatory changes that provide clear designation of the person in charge under both operating and emergency situations for all MODUs operating on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.

Additionally, in March 2013, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) began its investigation into the Deepwater Horizon casualty.  A proposed amendment to the MODU Code under consideration is “For units that use dynamic positioning systems as a sole means of position-keeping, the master should be designated as the person in charge at all times.”

On November 28, 2014, the Coast Guard published the Proposed Rules on Requirements for MODUs and Other Vessels Conducting Outer Continental Shelf Activities with Dynamic Positioning Systems, which requires all MODUs be under the command of an individual holding an appropriate certificate of competency as a master issued by the Flag State authority.

For assistance with regulatory compliance, please contact Meridian Global Consulting at (251) 345-6776 or

  1. International Maritime Organization, Review the MODU CODE, LSA CODE and MSC.1/CIRC.1206/ REV.1, SSE 2/12 19 December 2014

  2. Federal Register, Requirements for MODUs and Other Vessels Conducting Outer Continental Shelf Activities with Dynamic Positioning Systems; Proposed Rule, Vol. 79, No. 229, November 28, 2014

For more information please contact at (251) 345-6776 or

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.


Oil Spills and Emergency Preparedness on the 28th Anniversary of the Exxon Valdez

On March 24, 1989 at approximately 12:04 AM, the single-hull tanker EXXON VALDEZ with a full load of crude oil grounded on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Approximately 11 million gallons of oil were spilled into the pristine waters of Prince William Sound.

In terms of volume released, the spill is the second largest in U.S. waters, after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident. Prince William Sound’s remote location, accessible only by helicopter, plane, or boat, made response efforts difficult and severely taxed existing plans for response.

The EXXON VALDEZ spill led to enactment of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90), which improved oil spill prevention, response, and restoration by providing greater environmental safeguards by mandating contingency planning.

Meridian has many technical experts and experienced responders who successfully implement OPA 90. Depending on the needs of your organization, our regulatory planning staff can assist with development of all or partial plans, including:

  • Facility and Vessel Response Plans
  • Integrated Contingency Plans
  • Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plans
  • Emergency Response Plans
  • Tactical Response Plans

We provide training in the following areas:

  • NIMS ICS 100b/200b, ICS 300, 320, 400, 410, 420, 440, Executive Level and Section Specific
  • HAZWOPER (8HR Refreshers)
  • USCG, EPA, BSEE, and DOT Qualified Individual

We offer a wide range of drill and exercise programs to meet your organization’s preparation and training needs.  These include:

  • Tabletops
  • Worst Case Scenario Equipment Deployment
  • National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program
  • Qualified Individual Notification

Our team can also provide response expertise to oil spills across the U.S. and Canada with:

  • Spill Management Team Partial Team Augmentation or Full Team Deployment
  • Qualified Individuals
  • Operations/Planning/Finance/Auditing/Documentation
  • Government Liaison/Public Information/Safety
  • GIS Services and Trajectories

For additional information on our response services, please contact at (251) 345-6776 or info@meridian.usMeridian will make sure you are ready.

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, 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 at (251) 345-6776 or

Somali Pirates Hijack Commercial Ship for First Time Since 2012

Somali pirates have hijacked an oil tanker off the coast of Somalia for the first time since 2012, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The Aris 13, which was manned by eight Sri Lankan sailors, was overtaken on Monday by the band of more than two dozen Somalis in two skiffs.

The company connected to the ship is being close-lipped about how they are dealing with the situation.

From the AP:

An address listed for Flair Shipping in Dubai’s high-rise neighborhood of Jumeirah Lake Towers was for a company called Flair Oil Trading DMCC. A woman who answered the door Tuesday told an AP reporter the firm wasn’t connected to the ship and directed him to another office.

When no one answered the door at that office, the AP reporter returned to find Karagiannis entering the office of Flair Oil Trading DMCC.

“We will not be releasing any information,” Karagiannis said before shutting the door.

Since being hijacked, the ship has been anchored off the coast of Alula, Somalia, where the contents and crew of the tanker will likely be ransomed.

Because of the five year hiatus in piracy off the Somali coast one of the issues law enforcement may run into is how well the response infrastructure has held up.

Negotiators, shoreside security, and money drops have been on a half-decade long vacation and we will see which tactics, techniques, and procedures are used to mitigate the crisis.

Through our nearly 8-year history, has successfully guarded hundreds of voyages, using our risk mitigation and deescalation techniques to prevent 100% of our serviced ships from being boarded.

Through our vessel security service, will provides an armed security team aboard your vessel while transiting High Risk Waters (HRW). In full compliance with ITAR, equipment will be loaded onto your vessel in a port that is outside of HRW. The Meridian personnel will meet the vessel at a time and place of the vessel’s choosing in order to transit HRW.

While onboard the Meridian Personnel will ensure that the ship is secure and in compliance with Best Management Practices 4 (BMP4). Our personnel have been trained in implementing BMP4 and will work towards ensuring that BMP4 is properly implemented, allowing the crew to continue with their jobs. Meridian personnel advise the master of areas of High Risk and recent pirate activity. In addition, our personnel are available for anti-piracy crew training and will conduct crew drills prior to transiting HRW. Once onboard, our team provides 24-hour security, keeping crew costs low and unburdened with additional watch.

To learn more about our Vessel Security program, click here.

With the reemergence of piracy off the coast of Somalia and the continued threat in several other High Risk Waters, it is more important than ever to make sure your crew and cargo are kept secure.

Contact today to discuss how we can help you navigate through a variety of risks.