The Avant Garde Maritime Security Services today said Sri Lanka had lost credibility in the eyes of global shipping agents due to its handling of affairs related to the current controversy surrounding the maritime security firm.
Manager – Commercial Protection at Avant Garde Nilantha Jayaweera said over 150 foreign ships which earlier used the services of the company had informed that they will no longer seek such services from Sri Lanka.
According to Jayaweera, Avant Garde over the years had built a reputation among global shipping agents as an organization which specialized in delivering state-of-the-art physical security for shipping companies operating in high risk areas around the Indian Ocean.
He said that foreign shipping agents say that such reputation cannot be garnered by another party in a short span of time.
Commenting on the controversy Jayaweera said that already around 4000 people including himself had lost jobs due to the relevant services being handed back to the Navy.
In addition the Avant Garde has closed its offices in five foreign countries.
Contrary to claims by a number of individuals including government ministers Jayaweera stated that the firm had done nothing illegal and weapons contained in the floating armories were ones sanctioned by the government.
Jayaweera also said that the company will soon convene a media briefing to tell their side of the story.
Meanwhile the Navy is currently in the process of reclaiming weapons found in the floating armories belonging to Avant Garde.
On November 11, President Maithripala Sirisena ordered to hand over the operations of the controversial Avant Garde Maritime Security Services to the Sri Lanka Navy.
The private security firm’s operations came under scrutiny when the container-carrying vessel “Mahanuwara” docked at the Galle Harbor with a haul of arms on January 18. Avant-Garde Security services which, according to the firm, provides security to ships against the Somali pirates.
Following the docking of a second floating armory, Avant Garde carrying a haul of unauthorized weapons in Galle Harbor on October 5th, the investigations into the firm’s activities intensified.