People, some displaying a Tunisian flag, stand in silence next to flowers during a gathering at the scene of the attack in Sousse, Tunisia
Following Friday s terror attack on the breach at Sousse in Tunisia, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently has mixed advice for travellers, ranging from advising against all travel in the south and some areas of the west of the country, to advising against all but essential travel in much of the interior and the advice to check daily updates for travel to the coast and the capital Tunis. The British and Tunisian governments are warning of possible further terror threats in this part of the world, and security has been dramatically increased. When the FCO issues advice it must be acted upon .
If you travel against FCO advice your travel insurance may not provide cover . Several major tour operators including Thomson and First Choice are evacuating tourists from the Tunisian coast as a precaution, although flights in and out of the country are still running. Tunisia has joined a growing list of popular tourist destinations that carry travel warnings .
From drug cartels in Mexico to kidnappings in Kenya, civil unrest in Thailand and economic uncertainty in Greece, and the ongoing threat from terror organisations such as Islamic State and Boko Haram, the world is no longer as safe as it has been.
The safety of travellers in hotspots around the world is an ongoing cause for concern . Many people may have already booked holidays in such places unaware of impending problems or in the hope that the worst of any civil unrest would be over by the time they travel. However, as exotic places have opened themselves up for us to enjoy, at the same time some countries have become more dangerous or unpredictable for the foreign tourist.
If the worst happens, are you covered by your travel insurance? The FCO provides travel advice for all countries in the world . Its website is fco.gov.uk and the travel advice section is very easy to work around .
Advice for each country is revised monthly but updated immediately if necessary. For each country the FCO offers a wealth of advice about security and safety warnings, which is based on information received from British embassies, UK security services and local information . It also sets out details about entry requirements, health concerns and natural disasters.
The office sets out one of five levels of warning for each country . One is that there are no travel problems . The others are combination of two factors: whether the advice covers an entire country or a specific area, and whether the FCO advises against all or all but essential travel .
The situation in Tunisia merits the top three levels of warning. There is no absolute definition as to what is essential travel . This is left to the individual although the FCO gives examples of urgent family or business commitments.
So will your travel insurance cover you ? The advice from the FCO can affect insurance in specific ways . In many cases a travel insurance policy, which you take out before you visit the country, and which is covered by a warning against all travel would not pay out if you decided to go ahead and visit that country .
Warnings against non-essential travel may mean that the situation is different and it is always best to check with your insurer. Sometimes problems can happen when you are already abroad . If advice is issued at that time, then normally your insurance will cover you for a trip that you began when the travel advice was not in place .
However, you will be expected to follow any official advice as soon as a security threat begins and not doing this could well invalidate any claim. What if you have booked your trip, taken out your insurance and then there is a problem in the country to which you were intending travelling ? You decide to cancel your trip will your insurance policy pay out?
You must read your insurance policy carefully . If you have booked with a tour operator or airline and they cancelled the trip then they will generally be responsible for refunding to you your money . If your flight is cancelled because of travel advice from the FCO then your insurance policy may pay out for accommodation that you have already paid for .
If however you choose to cancel a trip because you are worried about the state of a country, but there is no FCO advice against travelling, your policy will not pay out. If you choose to cancel a trip which is covered by travel advice from the FCO, your insurer will not necessarily pay for all of your cancellation related costs . What matters is the specific reason for the advice and whether this is covered under the cancellation cover section, for example wars .
The guidance published in this article is for information only and does not constitute legal advice .
If you are in any doubt, consult your insurers.
Bronwen Courtenay-Stamp is partner and head of travel, tourism and insurance at Stones Solicitors LLP (stones-solicitors.co.uk) which has offices in Exeter and Okehampton
PLYMOUTH The OP4 (opposition force) seemed to have come to a complete stop a few hundred yards away from the HVA (high value asset), its bow pointing slightly away, its passengers striking casual poses.Was it a threat?As soon as the police boat pulled alongside and slowed, the OP4 suddenly sprang back to life . Going from a dead stop to full throttle in seconds, it quickly crossed the bow of the police boat and raced menacingly toward the HVA.Over the radio an urgent voice called out, I m beat, I m beat, and the police boat seemed to give up, pulling away, dropping out of the pursuit.The OP4 was on a direct line now, speeding toward the HVA.Then, out of nowhere the radio crackling with urgency a second police boat appeared with sirens blaring, and it was clear someone would have to give way.This was just a test, a simulation of what marine law enforcement vessels might encounter and instruction as to how they should respond.That last encounter was repeated a dozen or more times in the next few hours, with the OP4 taking on three different craft helmed by members of the Environmental Police, State Police and marine and police officers from several local communities.For two hours five vessels tangled and, with the threat boat (the OP4) operated by the head-training officer, every one was given an equal chance to fail, to be beat . This was just one element of the Tactical Operators Course (TOC) training, which itself is part of a larger series, the Federal Exclusionary Zone Enforcement Training Curriculum, which is designed to enhance capabilities of students with the knowledge and skills necessary to appropriately react to threats in the maritime community .
It s a program put on by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, which represents the boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S . territories.Recognized by the Coast Guard, participants in the program are expected to become familiar with inter-agency security coordination and the response required of agencies operating cooperatively within the maritime domain.”During the five-day TOC course, participants are expected to master waterborne response team responsibilities, boat tactics, use of force and vessel pursuit, and to demonstrate their ability on the water.These are important skills to master and can be expensive to acquire.The five-day TOC course is priced at more than $28,000 and the modules that must be taken to earn full certification can cost much more.Page 2 of 3 – We were fortunate, Plymouth Harbormaster Chad Hunter said over the noise of the engines of the large, sophisticated Environmental Police boat that was serving as the bait, or HVA, during the on-water portion of the TOC training . The Plymouth harbormaster and the Department of Marine and Environmental Affairs received a 2014 Port Security Grant Award for a security zone training package to provide training to Plymouth and our surrounding port partners for the Entergy security zone .
For local marine enforcement officers, the focus is on protecting the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant, but the training is applicable to almost any scenario they might encounter in New England waters . It s important that, whatever we encounter, everyone is on the same page, Hunter said.The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NABLA), which runs training, puts it s a different way . The training offered will use the same tactics, techniques and procedures that the U.S .
Coast Guard uses to train its boat operators and will ensure seamless integration into security operations among federal, state, county, local and tribal maritime law enforcement officers and agencies . In Boston, for example, marine enforcement officers are often used to escort LNG tankers into the harbor.When the fireworks barge arrives next week, harbormasters will have to make sure it is escorted safely in and a security zone is established and maintained while it is moored.And no matter what the scenario, those who take the NABLA training should be able to effectively assist other marine forces achieve their objectives.The NABLA training package for which Plymouth contracted includes four courses: two tactical operators courses; one enhanced vessel operators course; and one pursuit and stop course.The Plymouth harbormaster’s office hosted this first offering and, along with the Plymouth Police Department, other participating agencies include the Marshfield and Hingham harbormasters, the Massachusetts Environmental Police and the State Police . The idea was to train our regional assets so that if there is ever an event or we are called by the Coast Guard to provide a security zone protection around the plant, everybody is on the same page, Hunter said .
These guys, once they are done, will be able to function and be on the same page with Coast Guard assets . This really provides a force multiplier for the Coast Guard . Once again the radio came alive: Non-compliant, non-compliant .
And racing along Saquish a State Police boat sped toward the OP4 at full speed, as two other screen vessels positioned themselves in the background, just in case.Follow Frank Mand on Twitter @frankmandOCM.Page 3 of 3 –
FONTANA (CBSLA.com) Police Tuesday announced the arrest of a 39-year-old man who allegedly molested a female student while employed as a middle school security guard.
According to the Fontana Police Department, Bryan Heredia is accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with the victim who was under the age of 14-years-old at the time at Motel 6 in Fontana on Feb.
Officers explained the student attended Kucera Middle School in Rialto, where Heredia worked as a security guard.
The victim recently reported the incident to police, which subsequently prompted an investigation.
On Monday, officers arrested Heredia in connection to the alleged sexual molestation.
The District Attorney s office has since filed lewd acts with a child under 14 charges against him.
At this time, it remains unknown if there are any other victims.
Authorities have not clarified if Heredia has worked at any additional schools since the incident occurred.
Anyone with additional information regarding this case is urged to call the anonymous tip line at (909) 356-TIPS.