The U.S. government reimburses vessel owners and operators for the cost of carrying armed security personnel aboard vessels hauling government cargo in high-risk waters. One would assume that U.S. shipowners and operators get only the best people for the task. Unfortunately, quite the opposite is true, as evidenced by the recent drug overdose of two Trident Group operatives aboard the Maersk Alabama. In fact, there are really no standards in the U.S. when it comes to armed maritime security so long as someone shows up with a gun and tells the ship’s captain they were a former Navy SEAL.
This is not the first incident for Trident Group. A mistake with an at-sea weapons transfer last year caused another U.S.-flag ship operated by a company other than Maersk to be detained in Qatar for five days. The captain and chief mate came close to losing their jobs, and the shipping company incurred great expense while the ship sat idle for almost a week. That company found a different security firm almost immediately.