S4S: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
D.M.: In 2009, I was working in Cambodia and an old colleague sent me an email about Somali based piracy. He mentioned Private Maritime Security and that the pay is great, the adventure amazing and the industry blooming. I was looking for a new career then so I researched, did the training and eventually joined the ranks of the armed security teams. Sailing in the Indian Ocean made me fall in love with the sea and the maritime world.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
D.M.: The fact that we protect human life at sea, that we safeguard our mariners who are the most important element of the maritime industry is what excites me the most. We receive words of thanks from seafarers we kept safe during their HRA voyages, they reach home and rejoin with their families, that's when they send us an email or a message saying thank you, this fills me with pride.
S4S: When you think of the word successful who's the first person who comes to mind and why?
D.M.: It's not a person that first comes to mind, its an idea and this idea is simple. Success is to be able to do what you love, to live a long meaningful life and to enjoy the love of your family and friends. I look up to people that one can say are successful, one of these people is Capt. Giannis Angelicoussis.
S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why ?
D.M.: I have met many people who have contributed one way or another, positively and negatively, that have influenced me. From ships Masters, to military commanders, from spiritual elders to forward thinking youngsters. I always search for influence and I'm happy to say that my “filters” have worked well.
S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you've ever been given and why?
D.M.: The best advice I have been given is to chase my dreams and not fear rejection, that a person is never too old to do something new. The worst advice I have ever received is to lay low, not to stir up the waters and not make a fuss.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
D.M.: Education and personal development as well as, getting to know people of the wider industry. There is so much experience and expertise within this industry and so many wonderful people willing to share this. Investing in yourself also requires patience so time is a valuable commodity.
S4S: If you could give a piece of advice to your 18-year-old-self one thing, what would it be and why? What piece of advice should you ignore?
D.M.: I would tell my 18 year old self that life is a long journey and that there is no need to run. It's not a sprint, it’s a marathon, so pace yourself and take one target at a time. Never look at the end goal, keep it in sight but focus on the next milestone. Ignore anyone or anything promising easy gains.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
D.M.: Honesty is the best policy, I am lucky enough to be associated with people that believe this as much as I do, so the habit I have is to be brutally honest about the business. A recently adopted habit, that has helped me, is to take breaks, I never used to do so in the past but now I do and see a positive difference. Take a break, look out the window, dream big and then go back to work fresh.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
D.M.: In my industry I would like to see a regulatory body with the right principles as well as the power to enforce those principles. I would like to see more quality and transparency as a whole and not just by a handful of operators. In the maritime landscape I am excited to see eco friendly initiatives becoming the norm.
S4S: What is your personal motto?
D.M.: Be the change you want to see in the world. I can’t take credit for it though as it was first said by Mahatma Gandhi!
Dimitris Maniatis has a comprehensive background on security in hostile regions which started right after his days with the Hellenic Navy. Starting in 2000 and under contract with the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he spent 7 years in Afghanistan and Pakistan, fulfilling various roles in support of European Intelligence Agencies, ISAF, UN Organizations and more. After completing specialized training, he joined the ranks of the Armed Security Teams safe guarding vessels in the Indian Ocean HRA and became Team Leader shortly after. An MBA on shipping in 2013 allowed him to immerse in the business side of the maritime security industry. In his role as Chief Commercial Officer of Diaplous Maritime Services his focus is mainly on the design, development and implementation of the company’s commercial strategy, meeting the goals and growth set.