When the Royal Navy fails send for the Privateers
A multi-national naval force, including an EU fleet currently commanded by a British officer, has dramatically reduced the number of assaults in the Gulf of Aden in recent months. But seizures continue with 16 ships and 354 sailors currently being held hostage. The Independent has seen Nato documents which show both ransom payments and the period that pirates are holding vessels have doubled in the last 12 months to an average $4m and 117 days respectively.
The maritime insurance industry, much of it based in London, has borne the brunt of the financial cost of the piracy problem, paying out $300m (£191m) in ransoms and associated costs in the last two years alone.
Sean Woollerson, a senior partner with JLT, told The Independent: “We are looking at setting up a private navy to escort vessels through the danger zones. We would have armed personnel with fast boats escorting ships and make it very clear to any Somali vessels in the vicinity that they are entering a protected area.
“At the moment there is a disconnect between the private security sector and the international naval force. We think we can help remedy that and place this force under the control of the multi-national force. We look after about 5,000 ships and have had 10 vessels taken in total, including a seizure where one crew member was shot and killed. Piracy is a serious problem, these are criminals basically extorting funds, so why not do something more proactive?”
A FCO spokesman said it had not yet received a “formal” proposal but added: “We believe that such a concept could be considered. It would need to be endorsed and supported by the UK in close discussion with coalition partners in current counter piracy operations.”
Why consult with the tossers at the FCO? If the British Navy isn't doing its job, and why not? then what right have the useless bastards got in telling private operators in international waters how to protect ships? Just issue them with Marque of Letters and let them get on with it.