Super Yacht Security: The Latest Wave of Protection

In the history of ships at sea, Super Yachts are a very recent phenomenon. In 1954 there was only one Super Yacht in the world: the “Christina” named after the daughter of her owner the Greek billionaire shipping magnet Aristotle Onassis. The “Christina” was 325 ft in length and was hailed as the absolute pinnacle of yacht design, high technology and luxury. By today’s standards she would be considered State-of-the-Ark. There are now thousands of Super Yachts on the world’s oceans and hundreds more being launched every year.

These floating palaces are a highly visible celebration of the owners success, wealth and taste. They are also an increasingly tempting target for pirates, terrorists and organised crime units. Piracy and armed robbery is still a persistent threat on the high seas, as owners take their yachts further afield exploring new regions, and protection on board and ashore is paramount. Many of today’s mega yachts are delivered with a full arsenal of defensive measures, from laser guns and sonic cannon, to fully provisioned panic rooms and even more extreme precautions; the “Octopus” is a 414 ft Super Yacht owned by the Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. She carries her own submarine..

However, when it comes to the total protection of these vessels a complete reliance on technology can be catastrophic and Cyber threats to Super Yachts is becoming increasingly worrisome. In June of 2013 the £50 million yacht “The White Rose of Drachs” was hijacked in the Mediterranean on course from Monaco to Rhodes. The hijackers were two American engineering students. They were guests on the ship and using only a laptop and a mobile phone, took over control of the vessel. They hacked into the yacht’s GPS navigational system and fed in false coordinates which steered the yacht 30 miles off course. On the bridge no alarms went off and the captain and crew had no idea they were no longer in control of the ship. This “experiment” was conducted with the permission of the yacht’s owner, the English property developer Michael Evans, in the name of science and improved security.

At Priavo we understand the myriad of threats facing owners and operators today and deploy specialist teams in our new wave of Super Yacht Security. Our operatives are all former members of the British Special Boat Service or ex-Royal Marine Commandos. They are highly trained, armed professionals in Marine Security and provide both physical and electronic deterrence whilst on board. With experience of over 4,000 successful armed transits, our teams perform extensive passage and port risk assessments and liaise with the local authorities at every port of call. This would include the coast guard, local police force, security services and the port officials. Our Cyber Security analysts are leaders in their field. Certified by the UK Government cyber security department, our cyber protection for Yachts, owners and crew will thoroughly prepare you for cyber risk and align you with Cyber Security Standards. We can monitor threats and respond immediately in the event of an attack.

On shore, our Close Protection Operatives provide a bespoke security service to fit any clients needs. This includes concierge services taking care of all required bookings, handling the cash, guest management, venue and event security, arranging and vetting all on-ground transportation. The presence of our teams can be low key and discreet or as highly visible as the client desires, we have an intimate understanding of the levels of protection and absolute discretion required to operate on board. Well profiled operatives are chosen for their maritime knowledge and etiquette.

 For more information drop us a line.