Safe in the knowledge, Superyacht News Interview


Protection Vessels International (PVI), a subsidiary of Protection Group International (PGI), has launched Halcyon Security Concierge, a full-service security and concierge division catered to the superyacht market. Halcyon covers physical security, cyber security, information support and concierge services. SuperyachtNews speaks to James Hilton, managing director of Halcyon Superyacht Security, about the realities of the superyacht security market and Halcyon’s USP.

“I think that, especially on the cyber side, there are a lot of people and companies who are, quite rightly, seeing superyacht security as an opportunity,” starts Hilton. “However, these businesses don’t necessarily have the depth or breadth of knowledge to deliver the service they sell – that is not to say there aren’t a number of quality security service providers out there.”

Hilton explains that a number of physical security providers, wishing to profit from what he called the “cyber bubble”, are hiring third party cyber security providers to complement their offering. “It is hard to vouch for some of these companies backgrounds and experience; theoretical knowledge is not the same as being able to provide practical mitigation solutions.”

Equally, he says, the security markets lack the parity of other industries. “If you bought a second-hand car 20 years ago, the salesmen held all the cards, he had privileged information that the buyer had no means of corroborating. Whereas today you can go online and know as much about the car you are interested in as the seller. It is very difficult to achieve this level of information parity within the security and risk management world because there is a lot of dramatisation, people have a tendency to exaggerate threat levels and talk up their own experience and technical knowledge; this can put superyacht Captains in a difficult position with them carrying the burden for security risk management for that vessel.”

Determining whether or not certain security measures are necessary can become rather subjective according to Hilton and this subjectivity allows a number of companies to capitalise on minimal risk scenarios. With so many variables to take into consideration, one of which is the size of the captain’s risk appetite, it is very easy for companies to suggest additional security when it is unnecessary.

“While of course we can corroborate information, the solution is often subjective and it is, therefore, often difficult to find trustworthy objective advice on what’s required,” continues Hilton. “I don’t think its necessarily the case of companies being disingenuous or greedy, it may sometimes be the case that they are concerned about giving incorrect advice and getting in trouble. The reality is that physical security threats against yachts are pretty low, but trying to get that into context can be difficult. In some areas, it remains crucial to have a security detail and there is always the risk of violent or non-violent robbery, but the statistics around those types of occurrences suggest that the risk remains very low.”

Hilton explains that Halcyon differs from its competition in that it isn’t just a full-service security company. “Because of our reach back with PGI, we have the infrastructure, a team of analysts behind the intelligence products, a state of the art training facility, former GCHQ personnel providing training and operational services on the cyber side. We’ve got the depth and breadth of knowledge to offer the full spectrum of security services and make the lives of captains easier.”

To read the original interview click here