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SUPERYACHT #8
Spring 2006

Article selected from our quarterly magazine dedicated to the largest and most luxurious boats with information, interviews, technical articles, images and yachting news


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Article by
Angelo Colombo


SUPERYACHT'S SECURITY

We have often found ourselves talking to owners, shipyard staff involved in the construction of superyacht and brokers who work closely with buyers and who also use these vessels for professional reasons. On several occasions it has emerged that owners need to be able to rely on an effective security service, work that must be done by professionals capable of foreseeing and coping with most of the risks linked to using a yacht, irrespective of what it is being used for. In order to better understand what the security market offers and above all to understand if a specific sector is ready to meet the needs of these large yachts exists, we contacted the Marco Valdettaro Investigation Offices in La Spezia. At this stage, something has to be said about the location of the office. The fact that the headquarters of this agency specialising in security services are in La Spezia, a city linked to the management and handling of boats and yachts in general, is of no surprise because our navy "marines" and so called "frogmen" are based right here in this Ligurian city. Neither is it by chance that part of the staff working in the office in La Spezia and involved in the work aimed at these large crafts, comes from these sectors. The Marco Valdettaro Office has been working in the investigation and security business since 1997 and has continually taken on highly specialised staff who are constantly being updated. They come from the Navy and Merchant Navy, the field of nautical sports, investigation, security, electronic sectors and elite corps from the military and police forces. The staff is all experts in martial arts and fighting techniques, they hold a sailing licence for every kind of sailing and motor boat, are qualified radiotelephone operators for ships, hold an advanced scuba diving licence and U.L.M. pilot licence and BSL first aid qualifications. All this allows the Ligurian investigation office to offer a vast range of intelligence and security services, activities increasingly requested by fleet owners or individual boats, both for their personal safety or that of their family and company, as well as for the craft itself even when it is not in use. Obviously, considering the size of the office, the work carried out for the yachting industry is only a part of what they do for organisations, companies, individuals and law firms on a daily basis, but the advantage of this is that it has access to a tight knit international network that it can make use of to produce the best results. The nautical and maritime experience of the team members means they can act efficiently to solve problems that may not even be strictly related to security, like for example, the substitution of a crew, if necessary. To guarantee an effective active and passive security service, the work done by the group in La Spezia ranges from the analysis of on board safety from a technical point of view, prevention of criminal activity that could harm the owner and crew, planning alternate routes to avoid unsafe waters, infiltrate the crew undercover to get an idea of their intentions and constantly monitor their work, ascertain the integrity and morality of a new member of staff and anti-sabotage controls. These kind of services are aimed mainly at owners with or without crew, who need to reassure themselves, their family or guests that they have acquired a certain level of safety needed for formal meetings or cruises. They are also aimed at those wishing to hire a super-yacht when they are unfamiliar with both the boat and crew being provided. As well as the services mentioned above, the Marco Valdettaro Investigation Office remove phone and room tapping, deal with industrial counter-espionage, provide anti-kidnapping consulting, methods for preventing and handling situations such as bribery and harassment, investigative services for the safety of company assets and personal safety, underwater research and safety inspections on hulls. They also supply temporary crews, carry out undercover investigation both to check on the services provided by the company itself and to ascertain the disloyalty of members and workers and numerous other activities that include the research and gathering of material evidence or insurance and accident investigations. The protocols adopted by the firm in La Spezia in offering its services are constantly updated, according to the kind of client and their specific needs as well as changes to the situation; in other words, security is identified as a dynamic aim that requires constant work in order to achieve it and especially in order to maintain it. The potential preventative risk analysis allows them to identify the weak links in the chain set up to guarantee security, intervening where necessary and including new standards, but we have to point out that all this can only effectively be put into practice by professionals in the business and not by amateurs. This kind of professional activity undoubtedly attracts the interest of the super-yacht industry, but we have discovered that all too often people turn to structures that do not specialise in the yachting business, an area that requires specialist skills that cannot be disregarded.

For further information, please contact Agenzia Investigativa Marco Valdettaro; viale Italia, 210; 19125 La Spezia; tel. +39 0187 564687; fax +39 0187 529846; e-mail agenzia@vgk.it