Mr. Larsen describes how he joined his field of expertise and notes that he really enjoys that his work has a positive effect on seafarers. As a maritime security expert he wishes for an end to the very serious piracy problem originating in Nigeria. As he notes, Nigerian piracy is happening within a relatively small area and is perpetrated by relatively few pirates, so in practical terms it is definitely possible to solve the problem.
SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Jakob P. Larsen: I joined the shipping industry (BIMCO) in 2010 after a 20-year long career in the Navy. I felt a need to try something different before finally making my mind up whether the Navy job was the choice of a lifetime for me, so for a start I took a one-year furlough from the Navy. 2010 was at the height of Somali-based piracy, and the industry needed someone who could provide advise on all aspects of maritime security, and especially the cooperation with navies and the emerging use of armed guards. In many ways, the job was perfect for me. It gave me the chance to use part of my past knowledge, and at the same time opened the door to a new and exciting chapter in my career.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
J.L.: I really like that while the fruits of my work often benefit the shipowners, the effects of what I say and do also has a positive effect on the seafarers.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
J.L.: It was probably the decision attend the Command & Staff Education at the Danish Defence College. It was a full-time, one year education focused on general management in areas such as technology, operational planning and grand strategy. I use the knowledge and skills I acquired then all the time when I manage staff but also when dealing with complex topics and decisions.
S4S: If you could give a piece of advice to your 18-year-old-self one thing, what would it be and why?
J.L.: Choose the career path you feel is right for you, and be guided by your interests rather than what other people think would be good for you. I just learned over time that it is hugely important with job satisfaction. It helps you to be the best version of you at work, and makes it easier to maintain focus on the loved-ones back home.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
J.L.: I would like to help bring an end to the very serious piracy problem originating in Nigeria. This problem has existed for many years and is considered by some to be deeply rooted in Nigerian politics. However, Nigerian piracy is happening within a relatively small area and is perpetrated by relatively few pirates, so in practical terms it is definitely possible to solve the problem. While destroying seafarers’ lives, the pirates are also making a fool of the Nigerian government and the Nigerian people. Solving the piracy problem could set all this straight, which would obviously be a fantastic thing.
S4S: What is your personal motto?
J.L.: ‘Actions speak louder than words’.
About Jakob P. Larsen, Head of Maritime Security, BIMCO
In 2010, holding the rank of Commander, Jakob left the Danish Navy to become Maritime Security Officer in BIMCO. In 2013, after three successful years in BIMCO, Jakob changed over to Nordic Tankers where he expanded his responsibilities over time to become Head of HSSEQ. In 2015 Jakob went to Maersk Line to become Global Security & Marine QA Manager. During his time in Nordic Tankers and Maersk Line, he managed a number of security challenge all over the World, including operating small tankers and container ships in and out of the Niger Delta, pirate attacks, kidnaps, assassinations, evacuations, drug smuggling and stowaways.