On the War Path
After the testing in Palau and FSM, TSC was hooked. They better understood the scope of illegal fishing and its devastating impact on the region, and the serious need for immediate solutions to combat this threat. This is why, in the words of Mike Lee, TSC went “on a war path” to get the Sea Dragon recognized as a critical contributor to increasing MDA as a part of the antidote to illegal fishing. The only problem, explained Lee, was that “we haven’t done something like this before, it’s really different understanding the real needs and requirements of the customer” on everything from budget lines to policy in these new environments.
TSC’s experience working with developing nations on security issues as integrated and nuanced as illegal fishing pales in comparison to their experience working with big defense in the US. However, their experience in Palau and FSM instilled in them a clear understanding that the future of maritime security will rely on creating lower cost, fast deployment solutions like Sea Dragon, and they are determined to deploy Sea Dragon to fight the threat of illegal fishing to its fullest extent.
A huge hurdle to expanding efforts in this new area for TSC has been to connect with customers, something that is more established in the traditional defense sector. “We need direct access to the costumer, to sit down and talk to them and understand what their problems and needs are,” said Rob Donnelly, VP of Finance at TSC. Without this access, TSC struggles to know exactly what upgrades or changes to invest in for Sea Dragon and overall what their customer’s priorities are. Similarly, the rapid proliferation of technology solutions to marine enforcement muddies the waters for those countries in need of making smart technology decisions for protecting their maritime domain. Part of the solution to this problem is www.secureoceans.org, which catalogs marine enforcement technologies available – like Sea Dragon – and presents them in a digestible manner.
TSC is currently developing more on the ground relationships with Sea Dragon and is looking for new partners for testing. They have launched a website
specifically for Sea Dragon as part of their outreach efforts, and continue to support upgrades and alterations to the platform with internal resources as they look for where they can most add value. In other words, stay tuned for more battles between criminals at sea and the Sea Dragon. The best is yet to come.