Several automatic rifles raised up on the background of the Somali flag

Can Your Property Deter a Hijacking Like This?

24/7 Software
Mar 16, 2017 7:30:00 AM

“An oil tanker with eight Sri Lankan crew members aboard appears to have been hijacked off the coast of Somalia, which would be the first time a large commercial ship has been taken by Somali pirates since 2012,” writes Colin Dwyer in his latest NPR article entitled “Somali Pirates Reportedly Seize Tanker In First Commercial Hijacking Since 2012.”

Dwyer’s article continues that “The Aris 13 sent a distress call Monday saying it was being tailed by two unfamiliar ships, ‘then it disappeared,’ John Steed of Oceans Beyond Piracy, an anti-piracy group, tells Reuters. The news service reports that the tanker, which had been transporting fuel from Djibouti to Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, turned off its tracking system and diverted toward the small town of Alula.”

Dwyer continues his article with multiple theories on what might’ve happened to this ship.

No one knows for sure whether the ship was hijacked by pirates or boarded by locals fed up with illegal fishing.

But, it wasn’t the results of this situation that caught our attention.

As always, we research to identify problems that could correlate with Proactive Operations.

So, in this case, the hijacking – and its location – were the lessons that surfaced and what we’d like to discuss in today’s article.

We plan to address the following and offer suggestions on how to handle them:

  1. As a place where people congregate, is your property set up in anticipation of Murphy’s Law?
  2. Can your team deter a hijacking (or another attack) from overtaking your property? Are you overseeing a soft target or hard target?
  3. Have you acknowledged that attacks, terrorism, any major incidents have a direct effect on your property’s financial bottom line?

If in fact, this ship was making a routine run through Somali waters – the crew knew that the potential to face pirates exists. How did they prepare?

According to the NPR article, “The BBC says that in 2011, the annual cost of piracy was estimated at $8 billion.”

That’s a significant cost to pay. Agree?

You may not be operating a large fishing or transport vessel or fear being overtaken. But, the possibility of your property being hijacked or attacked by one criminal or many – exists.

Now, these questions remain for you to answer truthfully: Can your property deter an attack? If not, are you willing to do what’s necessary to increase your chances to ward off one?

Expect Threats to Your Property

Your first step is to expect the unexpected.

But, where do you start?

How do you know what to expect?

What processes and procedures do you implement to prevent, manage, and control threats?

Your strategy is where you start.

The ACDA Principle™ helps you define your strategy. Your strategy is where you determine how you prepare, prevent, and manage every aspect of your operation.

During this process, survey your existing operation.

  • Does it meet the needs of your current environment?
  • Can you protect your guests and staff from all threat levels?
  • Does everyone feel safe on your property?

Continue asking questions that produce answers that lead to skilled preparation. Focus on each aspect of the Principle. Be thorough.

  • Awareness: “Could we identify or even detect a potential threat to our property? Do we have the available resources to do so?”
  • Communication: “If an imminent threat exists, will all personnel get notified in time to respond?”
  • Documentation: “Can we adequately document casualties, whether there is one or many?”
  • Analytics: “What are we tracking to be better the next time a similar situation arises?”

Do you see how important defining your strategy is? Yes, you might’ve had a “strategy” in your mind, or your team “just knows what to do.”

But, when you put it down in black and white – your operation positively changes forever. It’s defined and real.

Proactive Operations Can Defend Against an Attack

Now, what happens when a threat is no longer a threat but becomes real? It’s a real-life takeover attempt.

You must defend your fortress, right?

You must protect the people you are charged with protecting. It’s your job as a proactive leader.

You can do this, regardless of the threat’s origin. (But, remember you must first have your strategy cemented.)

Here’s how:

  1. Design, confirm and develop a physical infrastructure that suits your operation.
  2. Exploit your access to modern technology by deploying a unified solution to manage your property’s operation.


Creating your infrastructure will set up your physical operation to handle the information flow during a minor issue all the way to a major crisis.

Keeping your front-of-house and back-of-house command centers organized allows your departments to communicate efficiently.

Consider how many different units your property consists of regularly.

  • Administration
  • Concessions
  • Fire Rescue
  • Housekeeping
  • Maintenance
  • Medical
  • Parking Operations
  • Police
  • Security

Now, think about the amount of critical information that travels between these departments.

We’re sure you can imagine the potential for confusion during a crisis. But, you’ve got to handle it.

Define your infrastructure to separate the back-of-house and the front-of-house. Identify a single dispatcher in each command center to streamline the communication.

You’ll have full control of your departments, people, and the communication that occurs on your watch.

Nothing slips through the cracks!


Here’s where you become a proactive operation.

Think of technology as that final performance supplement your property takes to excel past your opponents – the bad guys.

Tap into the capabilities of technology to remove inefficiencies in your operation that could cripple your operation in a time of need.

We recommend a unified solution to accomplish this.

A unified solution helps you manage your entire operation with maximum control of what occurs.

Your team gains the ability to deter (and even prevent) all threats engaging your property, by using text communication, to an incident management system, to mobile apps.

Whether it’s your guests reporting a serious threat through text communication or your staff notifying the command center via the incident management mobile apps, your team can perform effortlessly.

  • Use the incident management system to manage your need-to-know teams and resources.
  • Inform the boots on the ground of what’s occurring and where they need to be in real time.
  • Mitigate the impact of a serious threat before anyone or too many people get hurt through expert use of your protocols-to-handle.
  • Get real-time data that you can analyze because you captured accurate and complete documentation of everything that happened.

The list goes on and on, but we think you get the point.

Employ Proactive Operations to deter anything or anyone from hijacking your operation’s ability to keep guests out of harm’s way.

Protecting Guests Means Protecting Your Bottom Line

We’re not going to beat around the bush here.

Protect your guests and protect your organization’s money.

Employ every aspect of Proactive Operations to ensure you can protect everything important to you.

  1. Create your strategy
  2. Develop your infrastructure
  3. Implement a unified solution

Use your new capabilities to keep your guests (and dollars) safe.

Your guests don’t want to spend money at or even be on a dangerous property. Agree?

Put the right measures in place to deter and protect against threats. Then, find ways to improve and make business decisions that positively affect your organization.

Over to You

Current events continue to teach us lessons.

We get it; you’re not protecting a fishing ship from Somali pirates. Your property’s chances of getting ‘hijacked’ by terrorists are probably lower than most. But, the possibility exists.

Why not be ready for anything? Why not have the muscle memory to handle all issues, incidents, and threats coming your way?

So, our answer would be “Yes!” your property can deter a hijacking like this – you’ll just have to work for it.

Learn how to make the not-so-giant leap to Proactive Operations

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