Maritime Security Operatives - How does one go about joining?

Hi. I am very new to this forum, and was hoping to gain some advice.

I have a long term career ambition to become a Maritime Security Operative to combat piracy and other dangerous issues that a vessel may come across where the safety of the crew is in danger through the actions of others.

I was wondering if anyone in this forum has any knowledge within this industry and could advise me on the best possible route(s) into this profession?

I am looking for information on experience required i.e will I need military experience (including reservists) or do some agencies train you from scratch? Are there any agencies based within the UK?

I am basically looking for any advice and information that would be useful to help me chart my route into this profession.

Thanks in advance.

~ ATB.

I've worked offshore a bit in High risk waters and have worked with a fair few MSO's. The one thing they have all had in common is lots of Military experience, usually ex special forces even worked with a guy from the legion. A lot of companies also expect you to have been on operational tours (Afghan and Iraq for example).

It's an area of work that a lot of guys are sitting at home at the moment as well mate.

Only an opinion but would be a tough gig to crack with no forces experience and even then it's a saturated market at present.
ATB you said long term ambition. Join the the marines, become good enough to join special forces, get many years behind you, hope you stay fit and healthy and there is work available at the end, not an easy career path you have chosen, good luck.
Perhaps he should contact me as I'm the membership secretary for my local Legion.

If he wants to meet face-to-face, he can meet me under the station clock, I'll have a rolled Wail under my left arm and a carnation in my jacket label, password for him is "special forces", response is "**** off, nugget".


Book Reviewer
Out of curiosity which pirates are you off to swashbuckle?

My last role had an unexpectedly high involvement in counter piracy, specifically off Somalia.

It's a complex issue, which affects industry so they lead the efforts to suppress piracy calling on U.N. and EU support.

Equally they dislike with a passion the armed private security. Seen as a necessary evil they use them as little as possible. If you do your research you'll find a lot of the companies in this field have dissolved as the threat has receeded.

Some of the floating armouries still exist but they are on borrowed time.

Companies Security Officers have adopted BMP4, they talk more with regional agencies and militaries to better understand the risk and route accordingly. This reduced the need for the costly and risky overhead that additional security is viewed as.

In other regions, thinking Sula Sea and Mallaca Straights, the navies, coastguards and police units are doing a great job of cooperating and tackling piracy.

Not sure there is huge demand tbh.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
However, @Alba the brave , if your interest is piqued and you wish to be involved in genuine assistance to world shipping rather than just being the richest man in the graveyard via entering the PMC circuit, why not join the Royal Naval Reserve. I'm guessing you are located in the blasted wilderness of Scotland. There are units at Edinburgh and Glasgow. Go to a Careers Officer and tell them your dearest wish is to join the Maritime Trade Operations (MTO) Branch...
I currently work in the commercial shipping industry (until the end of April) and have had to get involved in finding commercial solutions to counter piracy for a couple of years.

Most cargo owners simply choose to send stuff past the Gulf of Aden in Russian-flagged ships. The reason being that the Somali pirates actively avoid Russian vessels because they tend to shoot first and ask questions later.
Not yet but granted, possibly by the time OP leaves Raleigh. Assuming they make it there.

"Green" still takes priority in War Sea. "Blue" courses are mostly adquals. Who knows what the matrices will look like in two years though - for any branch...

So although OP's chances of fighting pirates in the RNR are slim, that's still an improvement on zero...
Cheers for the replies.

I plan to contact my nearest RNR unit. I did have a think about it, it's not something to run into if you're not committed/interested of course. Although I am all too happy to try my best with the RNR. The benefits will extend beyond my chances (if any) of becoming an MSO. Although, of course it can give me a better insight and chance to look into further careers within the Royal Navy itself. In other words I do not have tunnel vision, the MSO is an aspiration, but a successful and fulfilling career at sea is my ambition.

Thanks again folks.

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