Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

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

British men detained in Eritrea are released

“We are pleased that the four British nationals have now been able to leave Eritrea and can be reunited with family and friends. We are very grateful to the Government of the State of Qatar for helping facilitate their return.”

The Independent   June 12, 2011

Four British men that were detained in Eritrea and held without consular access for more than six months, have been released and are on their way back to London, The Independent can exclusively reveal.

Sources close to the situation say that the men were released this morning, and families have been notified.

The men, two of whom are former Royal Marines, disappeared on Christmas Eve hours after their ship was intercepted by the Eritrean navy, following an unscheduled stop at a port in Massawa. They were sent back to the mainland and put in jail.

Please read the entire article here

June 12, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractors Kidnapped, Legal Jurisdictions, Pirates | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plea to free captured Britons dismissed by Eritrea’s President

Fears are growing for the safety of four British private contractors captured during a gun battle in the Horn of Africa.

And well they should be. 

In 2001 Afewerki had a group of “dissident” college students locked up in ConEx boxes and left in the hottest desert on earth where many of them died.

Soon after he shut down all newspapers that were not state run and kidnapped 12 journalists the whereabouts of are still in question today.

Afewerki is power drunk little murderer.  The blood of a few Brits on his hands would mean little to him.

The Independent Africa  Monday May 2, 2011

Isaias Afewerki, the President of Eritrea, made a belligerent address on Saturday in which he condemned the group’s possession of “countless numbers of arms” and refused to be drawn on their release.

The comments escalated a diplomatic rift that has been widening since Christmas Eve, when the four men were stopped near Eritrea as they travelled across the Indian Ocean. The confrontation resulted in a round of gunfire and saw the men arrested before being taken back to the mainland for incarceration.

British diplomatic sources say that numerous requests for access to the group have been turned down by authorities in Asmara, the capital. And this weekend, Mr Afewerki compounded fears after an address on state television in which he refused to say whether the group would be granted consular access. “They should ask what they were doing in our territory,” he said. “They are citing the [Vienna] Convention when our laws were being violated.”

He added: “They possessed countless amounts of arms, including sniper rifles. If you come into my house with a gun, don’t I have the right to defend myself?”

The men, one of whom is Adrian Troy, 47, a British-born Western Australian, are contractors working for a Hertfordshire-based security company, Protection Vessels International (PVI).

Founded in 2008, PVI accounts for more than 40 per cent of all armed escort vessels operating in the Gulf of Aden, East Africa, and the Indian Ocean. Two of the men detained are former British military personnel.

Relatives of Mr Troy’s are frustrated with the lack of progress from their British counterparts, and have lobbied the Australian government to accelerate discussions. Last week Mr Troy’s regular employer, Steven Arrow of Arrow Pearls, said that his family and friends were “consumed with concern and worry”.

Yesterday, a spokesman for PVI said: “In response to the recent comments by the Eritrean President, Protection Vessels International remains acutely concerned for the state of the four detained personnel … still being held in Eritrea. It is working closely with the FCO to secure their release through diplomatic channels. Negotiations are ongoing and the issue continues to be sensitive for all concerned; however, we fully support the Eritrean government’s ongoing investigation into this matter.”

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, has instructed the British embassy to raise the urgency of the issue “as a matter of priority”, while diplomatic negotiations are being sought in New York, Brussels, Khartoum, Tripoli, Nairobi and Beijing.

Last month, the Conservative foreign minister Henry Bellingham warned Britain was ready to take “robust action” if Eritrea remained silent on the issue. Bellingham said consular access to check on the men’s welfare should have been granted within 48 hours under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, signed by both Britain and Eritrea.

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “We have been urgently seeking consular access since we became aware of their detention. We are deeply concerned at the failure of the Eritrean authorities to allow us to speak to or visit the men. The minister for Africa, our ambassador and other officials continue to demand access.”

Please read the original story here

May 1, 2011 Posted by | Africa | , , , , , , | 2 Comments