Plant Security

Ritter ... ‘security is an investment, not expense’

Ritter ... ‘security is an investment, not expense’

HALO Maritime Defense Systems expands footprint

Having been working in the region for over five years, HALO offers waterfront security technology for a variety of oil and gas industry assets, onshore and offshore, naval ships and bases, ports, airports, power plants, and other critical infrastructure


HALO Maritime Defense Systems, a world-leader in the manufacture of marine protection barriers, which currently has offices in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, plans to open an office in Saudi Arabia this quarter.

Having been working in the region for over five years, HALO offers waterfront security technology for a variety of oil and gas industry assets, onshore and offshore, naval ships and bases, ports, airports, power plants, and other critical infrastructure located on the water, says Luke Ritter, Vice President of Business Development, HALO Maritime Defense Systems, which is currently working in both Western and Eastern Saudi Arabia, Red Sea and the Gulf sides.

'We have a permanent commitment to security in this region. As long as there is maritime critical infrastructure to be protected, HALO will be here in the region to help our customers accomplish that mission,' Ritter says.

Global maritime security risks are persistent and pervasive – and this is particularly evident in the GCC region lately. Waterside security barrier technology has never been more important for defence, security and law enforcement applications in the maritime domain, Ritter says in an interview with OGN.

'Just in the last several months within the GCC, we have seen incidents of drone boat attacks on warships in port, and bombs placed on oil tankers at anchor,' he points out.

One of the most important functions that HALO’s security barriers provide is protection against drone boat attacks. Threats from drone boats are currently increasing, at an increasing rate. All critical infrastructure facilities, on the water, are potentially open to this type of attack, he maintains.

Manned patrolling to protect against drone boats has not proven to be effective. Barriers in the water are the only suitable deterrent/counter-measure that offers a high-degree of protection. One other point here: security is an investment, not an expense.

A more secure and resilient enterprise is a more valuable one – without question. In addition to providing protection against a wide variety of threats, HALO barriers can provide a real Return on Investment.

'When you do a true accounting of the cost associated with patrol boats, including staff, fuel, boat maintenance, etc…it gets very expensive. By displacing the requirement for manned patrolling on the water, our barriers represent a one-time expenditure that eliminates or reduces the annual recurring expense of patrol in boats,' he explains.


Excerpts from the interview:

What are the different threat perceptions prevalent in the region, which has big oil and gas assets all over?

The HALO Guardian ... failsafe

Global maritime security risks are persistent and pervasive – and this is particularly evident in the GCC region lately. Waterside security barrier technology has never been more important for defense, security, and law enforcement applications in the maritime domain. Specific maritime threats include: sabotage, theft and of course terrorism. Just in the last several months within the GCC, we have seen incidents of drone boat attacks on warships in port, and bombs placed on oil tankers at anchor. A local news outlet ran this headline in October: 'Drone boats that are filled with explosives are the new weapons in global terror'. Vital assets deserve the same level of protection on the water that they receive on land. It truly makes no sense to put a wall around a facility’s landside perimeter, but leave the waterside perimeter unprotected.


What products are you offering to counter those threats?

HALO Maritime Defense is an American company that was founded, over ten years ago, with a vision to protect critical infrastructure by extending physical security to the waterside. HALO designs and installs protective solutions comprising floating walls, fences, gates and lines of demarcation. Our maritime barriers can be fixed or mobile, offering maximum operational flexibility. And the gates we design and implement can be automatically or manually operated. The barrier portfolio at HALO offers waterfront security technology for a variety of oil and gas Industry assets, onshore and offshore, naval ships and bases, ports, airports, power plants, and other critical infrastructure located on the water.


Besides providing waterside barrier systems, do you also provide deterrence to drone attacks, which are on the increase in the region?

One of the most important functions that our security barriers provide is protection against drone boat attacks. Threats from drone boats are currently increasing, at an increasing rate. All critical infrastructure facilities, on the water, are potentially open to this type of attack. Manned patrolling to protect against drone boats has not proven to be effective. Barriers in the water are the only suitable deterrent/counter-measure that offers a high-degree of protection. One other point here: security is an investment, not an expense. A more secure and resilient enterprise is a more valuable one – without question. In addition to providing protection against a wide variety of threats, HALO barriers can provide a real Return on Investment. When you do a true accounting of the cost associated with patrol boats, including staff, fuel, boat maintenance, etc…it gets very expensive. By displacing the requirement for manned patrolling on the water, our barriers represent a one-time expenditure that eliminates or reduces the annual recurring expense of patrol in boats.


Who are your major clients in the region? Please name a few?

We are currently working with the following in the region: Power Plants, Bulk Terminals, Refineries, Offshore Oil & Gas Operators, Naval Bases, Hotels, and Royal Palaces.


Regarding projects, could you give us details of work carried out recently? Have you completed your contract? If so, when did you start work on the project and when did you complete your order?

HALO takes pride in a long track record of delivering on-time and on-budget. In addition to world-class security experts and engineers, our staff includes professional project managers and seasoned executives who understand the requirements and challenges that exist in the GCC states. We have been working in this region for over five years, and currently have offices in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, with plans to open an office in Saudi Arabia this quarter.


What was the scope of works involved? What were the challenges in implementing it?

Our three most recent projects offer a good example of how diverse our solutions can be. We installed almost a kilometre of fixed barrier, with an 80-metre manual gate for a major Power Plant. HALO implemented a 220 metre automated gate solution, which is operated from 2 km away, for a Naval Base which is the homeport for several highly sensitive maritime assets. And we are currently installing a fixed, floating fence to protect a Bulk Plant that is located in a high-risk of terrorism area.


How many projects are you currently executing in Saudi Arabia and the region? Which are they?

We are currently working in both Western and Eastern Saudi Arabia, Red Sea and the Gulf sides. The conflict with Yemen, as well as the recent escalation of violence by Iran in the Arabian Gulf, have significantly increased the threat profile on both sides of the nation. What’s interesting to note is the variety of critical infrastructure assets that need to be protected – it actually isn’t limited to the oil and gas industry. The GCC states have an amazing variety of assets that are located on the water that need protection. Put it this way, water is not a barrier. On the contrary, waterways can be a conduit for illicit and illegal activity, and can facilitate an attack. Many people have forgotten that the Taj Palace Hotel attack in Mumbai was waterborne. That hotel had a well-protected landside perimeter, so the terrorists came by boat across the recreation beach.


How has business been over the past year, how does this compare to the previous year?

In some ways, global conflicts drive our business cycles. Critical infrastructure needs to be protected all of the time, but terrorist incidents do focus attention on our products. As threats from maritime terrorism increase, our potential customers tend to become more acutely aware of the value proposition associated with installing maritime barriers. More specifically, in the GCC, we have all recently witnessed explosive attacks, and other belligerent rhetoric that tend to generate interest in our protective solutions.


How do you see prospects for your company over the coming year? What is your target growth rate this year?

We have recently invested in opening an office in Bahrain, and have another planned for Saudi Arabia. Clearly, we would not be doing this unless we were projecting growth in this market. As the lead for Business Development at HALO, I split my time between Washington and Bahrain. Many of HALO’s executives are former military officers – we understand the threat at a very fundamental level. In fact, I made my first trip to the region in early 1991…aboard a US Navy ship deployed to the First Gulf War. We have a permanent commitment to security in this region. As long as there is maritime critical infrastructure to be protected, HALO will be here in the region to help our customers accomplish that mission.




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