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General: How To Survive In World's Terrorist Hotspots

Posted on 25.09.2004 - 02:25 EDT in GENERAL NEWS by ginamc

The haunting images of hostage Kenneth Bigley, blindfolded and pleading with his Iraqi captors for his life, are a stark reminder of the dangers faced by British workers in an increasingly volatile world.

For oil and gas companies, which operate in some of the most hostile regions of the planet, the threat must suddenly feel all too close to home.

Energy firms which have grown up around the North Sea are now looking further afield for business, in places like Angola, Nigeria, the Middle East and the southern Russian republics, where oil is still relatively plentiful and kidnapping and terrorism are rife.

Now a training company, which made its name from teaching oil workers how to stay alive in the icy waters of the North Sea, has teamed up with experts from the SAS to show them how to survive in the world's terrorist hotspots.

Training specialists RGIT Montrose have joined forces with security firm AKE Ltd, to launch two courses on personal security aimed specifically at employees of energy companies whose jobs might lead them into danger zones.

Andrew Kain, managing director of AKE, was in the SAS for 11 years and all of his company's instructors are ex-Special Forces. The counter-terrorist techniques they learned as soldiers are still in use today and are now being passed on to workers.

"There are a great many things people can do to safeguard their wellbeing in difficult or challenging environments," said Mr Kain.

"The key essentially lies in being aware of the risks in advance, anticipating them before they arise and thus avoiding them."

Based in Aberdeen, the one-day and three-day courses cover a range of scenarios.

Trainees are taught how to plan ahead to stay out of danger, learning the importance of simple measures like varying their route to and from work and avoiding a precise routine.

They receive lectures and practical lessons in explosive devices, hostage taking and hotel and travel security.

The longer course also shows participants how to manage confrontation and be aware of cultural differences in the countries they are working in. Emergency medical treatment is another important topic.

The courses were launched yesterday after a breakfast seminar, organised by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry and attended by over 100 energy professionals.

After breakfast, course leaders gave a demonstration of some of their techniques at a simulated "roadside robbery".

A gang of armed men staged a mock hold-up, robbing and shooting at the occupants of a vehicle. The lesson showed some of the simple steps which workers can take to protect themselves when travelling through remote areas.

Murray Strachan, chief executive of RGIT Montrose, said he expected the training to be well-received.

He sees the courses as a natural extension of his company's more traditional training programme.

"In the past we've tried to prepare people for going offshore in the UK," he said. "Our infamous survival courses show people how to deal with the risk of a helicopter ditching in the North Sea. That's a hostile environment from a climactic perspective.

"People are now going into environments which are hostile in other ways and what we have done here is develop a different kind of training for those kind of risks."


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Source: The Press & Journal
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