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

Eritrea accuses Britons of espionage, terrorism

Britain has in the past called for “punishment” of Asmara for its suspected support of Islamist insurgents in Somalia. The United Nations imposed sanctions on Eritrea in late 2009.

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Eritrea has accused four British nationals it detained late last year of espionage, terrorism and using one of its islands as a depot for arms.The four, who work for a British maritime security firm, were arrested by Eritrean authorities on December 24 over a payment dispute.

A Foreign Ministry report obtained by Reuters on Thursday said further investigation found them to be in possession of “countless amounts” of arms.

The accused work for the UK-based Protection Vessels International (PVI) which says they were en route to provide security for ships in a region where piracy is rife.

It said the four were forced to make an unscheduled stop in Eritrea due to “rough weather” and acknowledged its staff had “mishandled the situation.”

The incident has worsened already frosty relations between Eritrea and Britain, whom Asmara accuses of siding with arch-foe Ethiopia along with the United States. The Red Sea state is at loggerheads with its southern neighbour over a border dispute.  Please read the entire story here

June 9, 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

Eritrea silent on detained British nationals

UK says Eritrea denying access to detained nationals

Eritrea one of the world’s most secretive nations

By Aaron Maasho Rueters Africa

ADDIS ABABA, March 9 (Reuters) – Eritrea is refusing to give any information on the whereabouts of British nationals it is holding and has denied consular access to them, a British official said on Wednesday.

Asmara has neither confirmed nor denied their detention, but UK media reports have said four ex-Royal Marines were arrested in December by an Eritrean naval vessel after a gun battle as they guarded a merchant ship from pirates in the Indian Ocean.

The London-based newspaper The Sun reported last month that the four were seized by Eritrea’s navy after being approached for paperwork. Another two had escaped by boat, it said.

“We haven’t been able to confirm. We know that they are a small handful of British nationals, but that’s one of the things we need to confirm,” Tim Hitchens, the Foreign Office’s director for Africa, told Reuters in Addis Ababa.

“We need to go meet these people and find out who they are, what number they are, whether they are being treated properly and pass messages from their families to them but that hasn’t happened,” he said.

Eritrea is one of the world’s most secretive nations and has frosty relations with a number of western countries as well as most of its neighbours, having been involved in border disputes with Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Please read the entire article here

March 9, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Pirates, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | 1 Comment

Aaron Dehaven Held in Pakistan over visa

February 26, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Pakistan, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , | Leave a comment

American contractor, Aaron Mark Dehaven, appears in Pakistani court

By Riaz Khan Associated Press at Forbes  February 26, 2011
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — An American detained for visa violations in northwest Pakistan is a contractor who had worked on a U.S.-funded construction project in the region, a security official said Saturday.

DeHaven appeared in court Saturday in Peshawar, and a judge ordered him detained for 14 more days while police investigate him.

The security official said DeHaven was a contractor who had worked on at least one construction contract for the U.S. government in the region, declining to give more details.

He said DeHaven is a 34-year-old from Virginia who is married to a Pakistani woman. The official asked that his name not be published because of the sensitivity of the case. Please see the original here

February 26, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan | , , , | 1 Comment

U.S. ‘expects’ Richardson to seek release of contractor in Cuba

(Source: The Miami Herald)trackingMIAMI _ The U.S. State Department on Monday said it “expects” New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who is visiting Havana, to urge Cuba to free a U.S. government contractor jailed for the past nine months.

But a senior Obama administration official said that Richardson, who won the release of three Cuban political prisoners in 1996, “is not carrying a message from the administration.”

A statement by Richardson’s office said he would be in Havana from Sunday to Friday “as part of a mission to strengthen potential trade and cultural partnerships between New Mexico and Cuba.”

“During the visit, Gov. Richardson will help market New Mexico commodities and follow up on inroads made on potential trade partnerships during a visit to Cuba last year,” it added.

Richardson, who has met with Fidel Castro, has at times acted as an unofficial middleman between U.S. democratic administrations and hostile foreign governments. He also has won the release of U.S. citizens held in Iraq, Sudan and North Korea.

A State Department spokesman said department officials met with the governor last week and briefed him on the case of Alan P. Gross, a U.S. Agency for International Development subcontractor jailed in Cuba since Dec. 3.

“As we and others have done, we expect Gov. Richardson to urge the Cuban government to immediately release Mr. Gross,” said Charles Luoma-Overstreet, spokesman for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

The senior Obama administration official e-mailed El Nuevo Herald a statement that was similar, but denied that Richardson is acting as a messenger for the administration.

“As we and others have done, we expect Governor Richardson to urge the Cuban government to immediately release Mr. Gross. He is not carrying a message from the administration,” the official wrote.

Several Obama administration officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, have repeatedly requested that Cuba free Gross, 60, of Potomac, Md.

He was arrested after delivering satellite communications equipment to Cuba’s tiny Jewish community. He has not been officially charged, but Havana officials have alleged that he’s linked to U.S. intelligence activities.

Richardson, who was raised in Mexico and speaks fluent Spanish, has long advocated easing U.S. sanctions on Cuba and last visited Havana in August 2009 on another trade mission.

During that visit, he did not meet with Fidel Castro or his brother and successor, Raul Castro. He met instead with Ricardo Alarcon, the president of Cuba’s parliament and an expert on Cuba-U.S. relations, as well as officials of the foreign and tourism ministries.  Read the entire story here

August 24, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, USAID | , , , , , | Leave a comment