Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Somali Piracy: 2011 Annual Update

Stratfor Global Intelligence  January 13, 2012

Somali pirates continued their activities in 2011 but hijacked fewer ships than in 2010 or 2009.

The pirates’ area of operations contracted during the past year while the use of some countermeasures expanded.

Although these countermeasures might have helped curtail Somali piracy in 2011, significant improvements will not be likely until serious efforts are taken on land to eliminate havens for pirates.

Furthermore, piracy comes with a large economic incentive.

Even if the Somali pirates are displaced from their current havens, they likely will find ways to operate if there are no alternatives for making money — alternatives that are scarce in Somalia, which has no significant economic resources.

Please read the report at Stratfor

January 13, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Pirates, Private Security Contractor, Somalia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Somali Pirate Ransoms top 3 Million Pounds as Report Demands Action

Channel 4 News  January 5, 2012

As British private security companies queue up to offer armed guards to counter pirate attacks off Somalia, a government report calls for tighter regulation of a flourishing industry

The report by the foreign affairs committee acknowledged that the government was right to allow the use of armed guards on boats subject to certain conditions but it expressed concerns about what the accompanying guidelines omitted, saying the rules need to be tightened.

It pointed out that there are more than sixty firms offering armed maritime protection for the region and said the government “should not offload responsibility onto ship owners to deal with the most difficult aspects of handling private armed guards”.

There is a danger that unless unequivocal guidance is produced, then we may once again give pirates the upper hand. Peter Cook

It said “the guidance on the use of force, particularly lethal force, is very limited” and that the government must not leave guidance on the use of potentially lethal force “to private companies to agree upon”.

Please read the entire article here

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Pirates, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Piracy proves profitable: Korea’s IntelEdge takes on Somalia

Yonhap  Seoul, Korea  January 2, 2012

The famous Korean Admiral Yi Sun-shin never battled Blackbeard, Calico Jack or Captain Kidd, but his distant descendants are now joining the struggle against 21st century sea wolves — on a freelance basis.

With Korea’s economy hinging on global trade, mostly seaborne, there is a clear requirement for maritime security. And with Korea’s military generating a pool of trained professionals, private military contractors (PMCs) are supplying the security demands of Korean merchant shipping.

These “sea marshals” are not easy to find. They are virtually invisible on the Internet (a considerable feat in itself). A meeting with an executive required an introduction from a private investigator. The executive asked to meet in a coffee shop rather than his office and declined to be photographed.

Lim Yong-beom was casually dressed and in his early 40s. Of average height, he has a gentle handshake, but when he removed his jacket, a Homeric physique was apparent beneath his shirt. Lim, a special forces veteran, is the chief intelligence officer of IntelEdge, a PMC founded in 2010 that provides maritime security, consulting, intelligence and specialized hardware.

“We have around 20 regular contractors, all ex-Special Forces, and another 20 temporary, mostly British,” said Lim, whose post-military service experience with PMCs includes work in West Africa and the Middle East.

Korean sea marshals are recruited from veterans of the most elite units, Lim explained. These comprise the army special forces of the 707 Battalion (similar to the US Delta Force or British SAS); the naval commandos of SEAL-UDT, or Sea-Air-Land/Underwater Demolition teams (who won fame for the storming of the captured “Samho Dream” last January); and the operators of HID, or Headquarters Intelligence Detachment (a black operations unit so secret that the Ministry of National Defense denies its existence).

Please read the entire story here

January 3, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Pirates, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Department of Labor helps Employer/Carrier deny Injured Contractors Defense Base Act benefits

December 16, 2011 Posted by | AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Follow the Money, Lawsuits, Pirates, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Ronco Consulting Corporation, Wackenhut | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-Marine believed to have fallen to his death on paradise island ‘may have been murdered

Initial tests suggested he died falling into a ravine

    • Credit card, cash and mobile were all found with him
    • Authorities now believe he was stabbed repeatedly

Mail Online Leon Watson November 18, 2011

An ex-Royal Marine found dead on a paradise island where he was working with private security teams fighting pirates – may have been stabbed and beaten to death, it emerged today.

Initial post-mortem results suggested Carl Davies, 33, died after he accidentally tripped and fell 30ft down a ravine on Reunion Island, in the Indian Ocean.

But a second investigation revealed the former teacher, from Kent, was stabbed ‘numerous’ times and beaten about the head with a bat.

Carl’s credit card, money and mobile phone were found on his body when he was discovered.

He had served in Iraq and Northern Ireland but was working as a private contractor in the Indian Ocean protecting merchant ships from Somali pirates when he died.

Police have confirmed Carl was unarmed when he was found, and they believe he did not carry weapons on the island.

The ship Carl was protecting, the Atlantic Trader, which had been docked in the port close to the island’s capital Saint Denis, left before his body was discovered.

A relative, who asked not to be named, said: ‘A new post mortem was held on Thursday and he died from multiple stab wounds and head injuries as a result of a bat.

Please read the entire story here

November 18, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Pirates, Private Security Contractor | , , , , | Leave a comment

Private Navy to Protect Convoys

defenceWeb Thursday November 10, 2011

A private navy equipped with a fleet of patrol boats is scheduled to begin escorting ships through the Gulf of Aden early next year as private security forces take a growing role in the fight against piracy.

The venture has been organised by Convoy Escort Programme Ltd, and is backed by UK insurance and reinsurance broker Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group, Bloomberg reports. It is due to commence escorts in five months time.

“The bullet-proof boats will charge about US$30,000 per ship travelling in a convoy of around four vessels over three to four days,” Convoy Escort CEO Angus Campbell told Bloomberg.

“We are going to be a deterrent. We are not in the business of looking for trouble, but if anybody tries to attack a vessel we are escorting, our security teams will deploy force if they have to act in self defence.”

Convoy Escort will use seven ex-navy patrol boats, each with eight armed guards, costing US$30 million. The venture may expand to 11 boats, which will cost US$50 million. Campbell said venture funds, oil companies and marine insurers may invest in the business.

A private naval force was proposed over a year ago but encountered opposition over getting a state to register its ships. “Cyprus agreed to add the ships last month, following a US State Department’s veto for registration in the Marshall Islands,” Mr Campbell said.

In September the shipping industry called on the United Nations to create an armed military force to be deployed on vessels to counter the escalating menace from armed seaborne gangs

Please read the entire article here

November 10, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Pirates, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Somalian pirates demand 50m kroner for demining workers

The Copenhagen Post   Friday November 4, 2011

Final ransom for the pair’s release likely to be reduced by 90 percent, piracy specialist says

Two workers from the Danish Demining Group taken hostage in Somalia last week will only be released for a 50 million kroner ransom, Ekstra Bladet newspaper reports.

The two workers, 60-year-old Dane Poul Hagen and 32-year-old American Jessica Buchanan were abducted a week last Tuesday in the Somalian town of Galkayo and have since been moved to the al-Shabaab controlled region of Galmudug.

The region’s deputy police chief, Abdi Hasan Gorey, visited the pirates to begin negotiations on Sunday.

“They are demanding between $9 million and $12 million,” Gorey told Ekstra Bladet.

Gorey added that the hostages were being treated well and were being fed camel meat and milk, the same food as the pirates were eating

Please read more here

November 4, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractors Kidnapped, Demining, Explosive Remnants of War, NGO's, Pirates, Somalia | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Other Side of Piracy – a Somalia Report Analysis

Should Shipping Companies Lower Surcharges to Reflect Lower Threat?

By Robert Young Pelton, Publisher, SomaliaReport.com at gCaptain.com

This week’s hijacking of the chemical tanker MV Liquid Velvet by Somali pirates should have brought something to the maritime industry’s attention that they have wanted to ignore: large ships just aren’t being hijacked in the frequency they once were.

We can give full credit to the maritime industry and security firms since the navy now estimates that 90% of pirate attacks are deterred by private security on board ships. Many other attacks never occurred because of the speed of the ship, weather, the implementation of best management practices, or unknown factors that encouraged pirates to look elsewhere for victims. The effect of international naval patrols, identifying pirate activity before they leave land, general attrition by more aggressive navies, legal acts, and protests by local communities have all led to the erosion of piracy off Somalia.

Erik Rabjerg Nielsen, director and head of operations and deployment for Maersk Line, announced in May 2011 that increased surcharges to cover increased security costs. Maersk Line expects its piracy-related costs to double in 2011 to $200 million to cover insurance premiums, hardship allowances and the rerouting of vessels away from high-risk zones in the region, according to Morten Engelstoft, its chief operating officer. “In 2010, one hijacking attempt was registered every six days, and in 2011 there’s been a large increase in the activity,” Nieslon said. “The problem has never been larger than right now.”

According to estimates by the London-based International Chamber of Shipping, piracy cost shipping companies as much as $12 billion in 2010.

Please read the entire post at gCaptain here

November 2, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Pirates, Private Security Contractor, Somalia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

British marines free hijacked Italian ship off coast of Somalia

The Telegraph October 11, 2011

British commandos have stormed an Italian cargo ship which was hijacked by Somalia pirates in the Indian Ocean, rescuing the crew and capturing nearly a dozen pirates.

The Marines, armed with pistols and SA-80 automatic rifles and operating from a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, the RFA Fort Victoria, sped towards the hijacked ship in inflatable boats as a British helicopter buzzed overhead.

They boarded the 56,000-ton bulk carrier Montecristo and disarmed the pirates without encountering any opposition.

“It was a compliant boarding — the 11 pirates surrendered without firing a shot,” said a Ministry of Defence spokesman. “They were arrested and detained on board the ship.” The ship’s 23 crew – seven Italians, six Ukrainians and 10 Indians — were released unharmed.

Four of the Italians were privately-contracted security guards, but in line with international practise they were unarmed and had been powerless to fend off the pirates.

The crew had taken refugee inside a secure, armoured area of the bridge when the ship was hijacked, from where they were able to send out distress signals

October 11, 2011 Posted by | Pirates, Private Security Contractor, Somalia | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Italian offical targets piracy in Somalia

ROME, Sept. 26 (UPI)

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini says officials are working with the Somali government to free Italian sailors held by pirates.

Frattani, speaking on Italian TV, said new measures against the Somali pirates were agreed upon at the United Nations summit in New York last week, ANSA reported. Frattani told the father of one of the captives the government and intelligence groups are taking action along the Somali coast where 11 crew members from two Italian ships are being held.

Frattini said he and Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali have had long discussions and agreed to a joint action. An international agreement reached earlier this year forbids governments from paying ransom to the pirates.

“In the past we have succeeded in freeing other ships with patience and undercover work. Intelligence services have been mobilized,” Frattini said.

Please see the original here


September 26, 2011 Posted by | Pirates, Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mozambique holds ‘pirate hunters’

BBC News Africa September 16, 2011

Four Americans and one Briton, who say they were trying to free a boat seized by pirates, have been arrested in Mozambique and accused of possessing illegal weapons.

They were detained at the airport in the country’s third city, Nampula, police say.

The men reportedly say they work for the US security firm GreySide. The US embassy says the group has no connection to the US government.

GreySide has not commented.

Nampula provincial police spokesperson Inacio Dina told the BBC that the weapons include an FN 5.5mm rifle, as well as ammunition and communications equipment.

The police have named the leader of the group as 42-year-old US citizen Michael Ferguson. He has not commented to the press.

The group had reportedly flown from the United States via Ethiopia and Kenya, where they picked up the weapons.

Mr Ferguson reportedly said their plan was to catch small boats in the northern Mozambican coastal city of Pemba before joining a larger vessel and trying to free the boat from pirates – it is not clear which ship they were allegedly trying to rescue.

They expected further weapons to reach them in Pemba, which they had not been able to load on the plane, police say.

Somalia-based pirates have attacked ships across the Indian Ocean, earning millions of dollars from ransom payments.

Four Britons, who say they were trying to provide protection from pirates, were released by Eritrea in June after six months in captivity.

Please read the original article at BBC News Africa here

September 17, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Legal Jurisdictions, Pirates, Politics, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kenya diplomat: Briton killed, wife kidnapped

AP at Yahoo News  September 11, 2011

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Armed men killed a British man and kidnapped his wife from a beach resort in northern Kenya near the East African nation’s border with lawless Somalia, a Nairobi-based diplomat said Sunday.

Britain’s Foreign Office confirmed that two British citizens were attacked near Kenya’s border with Somalia and that one was killed, but declined to comment further.

The diplomat said attackers broke into their accommodation overnight on Saturday at the Kiwayu Safari Village resort about 30 miles (about 50 kilometers) north of the island resort of Lamu. He declined to give further details.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.

Kenyan police spokesman Eric Kiraithe declined to give details but said Kenyan police have launched a search and rescue operation. There was no answer from the resort, which consists of 18 luxury cottages spread along a private beach.

It was unclear if the attackers came from neighboring Somalia, where pirates often prey on foreigners and an al-Qaida-linked insurgent group called al-Shabab holds much of the south, or if they were Kenyans.

A statement posted on the Foreign Office travel advice website said: “We continue to advise against all but essential travel to within 30 kilometers of Kenya’s border with Somalia. There have been previous attacks by Somali militia into Kenya. Three aid workers were kidnapped in July 2009, and two western nuns in November 2008.”

Attacks on tourists are unusual in Kenya, which is popular for its safari vacations and pristine beaches

Please see the original here

September 11, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Pirates, Somalia | , , , | Leave a comment

2 Israeli pilots released by Eritrea worked for Ofers

Globes  August 24, 2011

Eritrea has released two Israeli pilots, Vered Aharonson and Yehuda Maoz, whom it held for ten days. Hebrew daily “Yediot Ahronot” reports that they had transported weapons and munitions to Eritrea for a German ship owned by Ofer Holdings Group’sOfer Shipping Group to defend it against Somali pirates.

The pilots flew to Eritrea on July 29, after notifying Israeli air traffic control at Ben Gurion Airport that they were going to pick up an injured person in Eritrea. In fact, the plane’s cargo bay carried arms, including Kalashnikov rifles.

The manifest did not list the arms, but other items. The pilots were arrested after an unannounced inspection by Eritrean security forces. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was worried that the pilots had no authorization, and could have been jailed for years. Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman ordered a strong diplomatic effort to obtain their release. Following the pilots release, they returned to Israel yesterday.

The Israeli authorities are investigating whether the pilots acted legally and if legal action should be taken against them.

An Ofer Shipping Group spokesman told “Yediot Ahronot” in response, “We do not comment on the security of our ships against pirates

Please read the entire story here

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractors Kidnapped, Eritrea, Legal Jurisdictions, Pirates, Somalia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Germany wants armed guards on Europe ships: official

LONDON (Reuters) Germany plans to lobby other European Union countries to allow the deployment of private armed guards on their merchant ships in high-risk areas as a piracy crisis escalates, ministry officials said.

But analysts said the initiative was likely to face legal and practical difficulties.

Somali piracy is costing the world economy billions of dollars a year, and international navies are stretched to combat the menace in the Indian Ocean due to the vast distances involved. In desperation, more shipping companies are considering deploying private armed guards on their vessels.

The German government is looking into changing the country’s weapons laws to allow security personnel to bear firearms on ships in high-risk areas. It could also certify those private security companies that could be used on merchant vessels, a government official said.

“Our goal is to develop a coordinated approach to be presented at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meeting in September, and EU governments are the main partners to bring on board,” said Jan Gerd Becker-Schwering with the German economy ministry. “To go this alone would not be beneficial.”

Please read more at Reuters

August 23, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Pirates, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment

Diplomatic tit for tat over held WA skipper in Eritrea

Head shot of Adrian Troy, skipper with WA Broome based Arrow Pearls, arrested in Eritrea

ABC Australia  July 21, 2011

The Federal Government has imposed travel restrictions on the Consul General of Eritrea after being refused access to a Broome skipper detained in the African nation.

Five months after Western Australian pearling skipper Adrian Troy and three British men were detained in Eritrea, the British and Australian Governments have made their first move, imposing limited sanctions.

The United Kingdom has barred Eritrean diplomats from travelling outside London and the Australian Government has responded with similar restrictions.

The Eritrean Consul General now cannot travel outside a 100 km radius of Melbourne, without permission from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The four men were arrested in December over what is believed to have been a dispute with the Eritrean Navy.

The Federal Government says it will continue to push for consular access until it is granted.

July 20, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Eritrea, Pirates, Propaganda | , , , , , , | Leave a comment