Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

SHIVER ME TIMBERS

Somali pirates less a scourge of the seas as private security firms proliferate

The Daily Exclusive Benjamin Carlson July 30, 2012

Somali pirate attacks are plunging — thanks, in part, to a group of heavily armed ex-Navy SEALs putting their skills to use in the private sector.

In the first six months of 2012, pirate attacks plummeted 33 percent, according to the International Maritime Bureau. Through June, Somali pirates made 69 attacks, resulting in 212 captured hostages. That was down from 163 attacks in the same six-month period in 2011.

Piracy hit its highest point last year, with attacks on 544 ships from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean.

One of the biggest factors spurring the drop is the use of maritime security companies that specialize in anti-piracy.

“The fact of the matter is, if you didn’t have private armed guards, it would definitely be much more dangerous — the drop would not have been so significant,” said Michael Frodl, chairman of C-Level Maritime Risks, a consulting company.

For $50,000 per voyage, shipping companies can hire a team of four ex-Navy SEALs to accompany their vessel on a 10-day voyage through the most dangerous waters in the world — the Gulf of Aden, Straits of Malacca and northern Indian Ocean — to thwart hijackings and hostage-taking.

How good are they? Thus far, not a single ship that has had armed guards aboard has been taken, said Doug Brooks, president of the International Stability Operations Association. “It’s a 100 percent solution.”

August 2, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Maritime Security, Pirates, Private Security Contractor, Somalia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Private patrol boats to tackle Somali pirates

BBC Africa  May 29, 2012

The private company Typhon is preparing to operate alongside the world’s navies, offering protection to cargo vessels sailing around the Horn of Africa.

But unlike other private security firms which put guards on board other people’s ships, it will offer vessels of its own.

The chief executive of Typhon, Anthony Sharpe, says the plan is to rendezvous with cargo ships which sign up for their protection and form them into a convoy.

The company says it will establish what it is describing as an exclusion zone of one kilometre around the ships.

The company is buying three boats, which are currently being fitted out in Singapore.

Each of its craft will have up to 40 security officers, drawn from former British Royal Marines, as well as a crew of 20.

The ships will be fitted with machine guns and the staff will have rifles.

But Mr Sharpe told the BBC it is not a question of out-gunning the pirates.

“It’s not about lethal force matching lethal force,” he said.

“It’s more like applying a burglar alarm to the problem and the thief will be deterred – so will be looking elsewhere.”

Please read the entire article here

May 30, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Maritime Security, Pirates, Somalia | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shooting to Kill Pirates Risks Blackwater Moment of High Seas

Bloomberg May 9, 2012


Mohamed Dahir/AFP/Getty Images
Since 2008, gangs of Somali pirates linked to clans in the failed state on the eastern coast of Africa, have carried out more than 800 attacks on ships, from private yachts to oil supertankers.

At first the video depicts a seemingly calm, sun-drenched sea from aboard the Avocet, until a pale blue skiff appears in the distance, cutting rapidly across the Indian Ocean toward the bulk ship’s starboard side.

After a tense radio exchange between the ship’s armed guards, who believe they’re under attack by pirates, their team leader steps through the bridge door and orders warning shots. Immediately, he and another guard fire dozens of rounds at the oncoming boat. The blaze of gunfire continues after the skiff crashes into the ship, with guards shooting down into the vessel, and as it then trails behind the Avocet.

“Second skiff coming in,” he shouts, then they turn and begin firing on the new boat, and the video ends.

At least some of the boats’ occupants were probably killed or injured, said Thomas Rothrauff, president of Virginia Beach, Virginia-based Trident Group Inc., which provided the ship’s security crew. He said the incident on March 25 last year was the second attempt to hijack the Avocet in three days. After spotting rocket-propelled grenades on the first skiff, the guards feared for their lives. The shootings were justified and the guards acted responsibly, Rothrauff said, firing warnings before aiming at the boat.

The gunfire exchange highlights a lack of rules governing the use of weapons on the high seas amid questions over how much force is legal and necessary to fight Somali piracy attacks, which targeted a record 237 ships last year. The video, presented at a shipping conference in December and leaked on the internet last month, has fueled debate over when is it acceptable to open fire — and to keep shooting

Please see the original with more photos and videos here

May 9, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Maritime Security, Pirates, Private Security Contractor, Somalia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

South African security trainer killed in Somalia

AP at Fox News  April 28, 2012

A South African security trainer was killed by his bodyguard in Somalia’s semiautonomous region of Puntland, officials said Saturday.

Puntland’s government said in a statement Saturday that it had launched an investigation into Friday’s killing. The statement identified the man as Lodewyk Pietersen, and said he worked for Saracen International, a security firm that trains anti-piracy forces in Puntland. The statement said the South African was 55 and married with children.

South African foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said Saturday no official word has been received from consular staff handling South African interests in Somalia.

“We have not yet been alerted to such an incident,” he said.

The statement said the trainer was killed while accompanying Puntland’s maritime forces on a government-approved mission targeting pirates near Hul-Anod, a coastal area favored by pirates who use it as a base to hijack ships for ransom.

Pietersen was shot dead by his Somali bodyguard after an argument, according to a Puntland official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the matter. The official said Puntland’s security forces were hunting for the killer

Please see the original and read more here

April 28, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Contractor Casualties, Private Security Contractor, Somalia | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

African piracy a threat to U.S. security?

UPI SecurityIndustry  March 19, 2012

WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) — Pirate attacks on merchant vessels in Africa pose a threat with ripple effects for U.S. homeland security and must be tackled as such, security industry experts say.

The industry’s experts want specialist teams from commercial security firms deployed on every ship that sails in the danger zone in east Africa, where most recent piracy incidents have taken place.

“Success at sea by the early Somali pirates has attracted major organized-crime syndicates, Muslim extremists and a more robust and sophisticated confederacy of operatives,” Jim Jorrie, chief executive officer of ESPADA marine services argued in the March 2012 issue of Homeland Security Today magazine.

“While this is all happening half a world away, it has put more operating cash in the hands of extremists, including al-Qaida — and that should be of no small concern for us in the United States,” Jorrie said

Please see the original and read more here

 

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Maritime Security, Pirates, Private Security Contractor, Somalia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Shipboard Security Teams and the Rules of Engagement

Captain Rich Madden at G Captain

February 15, 2012 will be a date many in the maritime security industry will remember for a long time. It was the day that the first innocent deaths were laid at the feet of an armed security team in the Indian Ocean.

During a routine transit 22 nautical miles off the West coast of India, the embarked security team onboard the Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie opened fire on a fishing boat that was apparently approaching their vessel. In the aftermath, 2 unarmed Indian fishermen were killed.

Armed security teams have become more prevalent in the Indian Ocean Basin and the Gulf of Aden/Horn of Africa (GOA/HOA) region due to the explosive rise of Somali piracy since 2007. With increased piracy in the Gulf of Guinea off and in Southeast Asia, it seems you might find them onboard a vessel almost anywhere. One of the greatest concerns with putting armed security onboard a vessel is responsibility; Responsibility for weapons laws – responsibility for taking lethal action and ultimately, responsibility for deaths or injuries.

Please read the entire post at G Captain

February 17, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Maritime Security, Pirates, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pirate Surge That Never Was

MarineLink
David Rider, Neptune Maritime
Thursday, February 16, 2012, 1:45 PM

In September 2011, as the monsoon began to blow itself out, there were grave warnings from a number of sources and analysts that the shipping industry could expect to see a significant surge in pirate activity as conditions in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean became more favorable. Captain Keith Blount, chief of staff with EU NAVFOR, told the press1, “I think we are going to see a surge in piracy because we always have done at this time when the southwest monsoon abates and the seas become flatter.”

But as conditions cleared, the anticipated increase in pirate activity failed to materialize, to the surprise of many in the industry. This was all the more remarkable given the business model of Somali pirates, which demands that they hijack high value targets which can be ransomed for huge sums which are then used to pay off the investors who supply the equipment used by the pirates, their food and that of their hostages and so on. Without a reasonable turnover of hijacked vessels, pirates begin to run up big bills in their home ports and those cut into their profit margins. Pirates towards the end of 2011 were very much on the back foot, and successful hijackings were suddenly few and far between.

Please read the entire article here

February 16, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Pirates, Somalia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facing piracy, ship security firms set ethics code

By Jonathan Saul   Reuters LONDON | Mon May 9, 2011

(Reuters) – Maritime security firms have come together to create a code of conduct and ethics, prompted by alarm over the rising number of companies without seaborne experience aiming to cash in on the surge in Somali piracy.

Increasingly violent attacks on merchant ships and crews by Somali gangs have led more ship owners to consider deploying private security teams on board vessels, attracting companies previously operating in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“There are literally hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan ‘expatriates’ setting up shop, never having been aboard a ship before, much less knowing how to defend it,” said John Dalby of security company Marine Risk Management.

“We have fears that a glut of inexperienced and unqualified so-called maritime security operators are bringing the legit guys into disrepute.”

Dalby is one of the founders of the International Association of Maritime Security Professionals (IAMSP), a self-regulated, voluntary body seeking more transparency in the sector. Its code of conduct includes ensuring members are properly trained, abide by laws and regulations where they operate, act ethically and do not accept bribes.

“Private security in the marine sector is currently not regulated in the way that it is on land. There is a big worry this could be opening the doors to a lot of cowboys,” said Andrew Linington with seafarers’ union Nautilus International.

Please read the entire story here

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