International security specialist Pilgrims Group has further increased its ability to provide safe passage for clients working in West African waters by upgrading a former US Coast Guard cutter with state-of-the-art anti piracy facilities.
The vessel, MV The Judge, was acquired by Pilgrims in the USA three years ago and has recently been refitted to install state-of-the-art navigation and anti-piracy equipment, expanding its personnel capacity to 12 crew members.
Corporate clients including oil companies, geological surveyors and cable laying experts have already enjoyed the protection of an armed escort provided by MV The Judge whose captain, Shane Slabbert, has military experience with the South African Navy.
The vessel, which has worked as far afield as Egypt, Somalia and Mombasa, is now based in Lagos, Nigeria working alongside the Nigerian Armed Forces. Its area of operations now extends along the West African coast.
“The potential for attack by pirates is a regrettable feature of modern maritime activity and poses a significant threat to our clients, many of whom are involved in projects of international economic significance,” stated Daniel Revmatas, general manager of Pilgrims Africa.
“The Judge gives Pilgrims the ability to provide organisations with a complete solution to security provision, both on land and at sea. Our sea-borne service, demonstrated by the upgraded abilities of The Judge, provides welcome reassurance in this uncertain environment.”
The highly mobile vessel is able to respond rapidly to potential threats long before a suspicious craft can approach a client’s operation. Pilgrims closely co-ordinates MV The Judge’s movements with the Nigerian authorities to safeguard a range of commercial operations around West African waters. These operations include oil exploration, seismic surveys, resupply missions, crew changes and emergency evacuation.
“The decision to bring MV The Judge to Lagos and realise a dedicated offshore maritime role for the vessel is a fantastic addition to the Pilgrims service in Nigeria,” enthused Tim Hepworth, regional director for Drum Cussac in Nigeria (a company that works alongside Pilgrims in supporting clients across the country).
“The vessel is ‘fit for task’ and ideally suited to protecting major operations as well as short to medium-term survey and drilling projects conducted in support of the oil and gas industries.”