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Posted: 11/21/2008 10:16:07 AM EDT
Blackwater mulls anti-piracy fleet: LLoyds List


Blackwater mulls anti-piracy fleet
David Osler - Wednesday 22 October 2008


Blackwater security personnel.
BLACKWATER - the US government’s prefered private military contractor in Iraq - is considering ambitious plans for a small fleet of two or three anti-piracy vessels, each able to carry several dozen armed security personnel ready to undertake any legal operation.

The idea is still in its early stages, and will only proceed if there is sufficient demand from shipowners and their insurers for such protection, executive vice-president Bill Matthews told Lloyd’s List.

As reported last week, Blackwater has already acquired and converted a former survey ship for such purposes. The vessel, McArthur, is likely to be deployed in the Gulf of Aden by the end of this year, once its current training contracts are completed.

A number of other vessels are said to have been inspected, but no purchases will be made until better estimates of the size of the potential market have been ascertained.

Word of the development will spark concern from some shipowners that the merchant navy’s traditional right to warship protection is being outsourced and switched to their direct expense.

But, referencing the US and UK situation, Mr Matthews advanced a justification for a greater private sector input: “While there are temporary needs that perhaps outpace the limited resources of the Department of Defence and the Ministry of Defence, the private sector is available to fill those gaps.”

He admitted that Blackwater — whose staff were involved in a shootout in Baghdad last September that left 17 people dead in contentious circumstances — is a relative newcomer to the field of maritime security.

However, he pointed out that its founder, many senior managers and many of its employees are former US Navy special forces personnel, known colloqiually as ‘navy seals’. As such, they should have little difficulty adapting to maritime work.

Blackwater has previously entered into a number of contracts with maritime concerns, but all have so far related to training, he stressed.

“We have not sought to enter the space until recently. It was just not part of our business plan. But as the world changes, so does our business plan.”

While the decision to extent Blackwater’s area of operation has been taken in the light of the current Somalia piracy crisis, there are other issues at stake, including illegal fishing and offshore oilfield security.

There are a number of specialists in the maritime security field, some respected and others generally considered cowboys. However, Blackwater is a giant in the sector, and the value of its brand name may offer it something of a competitive advantage.

In addition, Mr Matthews believes that the ability to offer helicopter-equipped ships able to provide escort services gives it the sort of reach that smaller and less well financed concerns will not have the capacity to provide.

While the company still speaks carefully of having “a number of prospective clients” rather than actual clients, there is also a clear confidence that there will be takers for what Blackwater has on offer.

“Over the last three weeks, our phone has rung off the hook,” he said. “It’s a mixed bag of shipping companies and also some very large admiralty insurance companies.”

Other players in the maritime security world appear to see Blackwater’s plan as having a fair chance of success. One British source said: “Until the international community has developed any sense of real commitment to sort things out, it could open up the opportunity for vessels providing that kind of security.

“Of course, they’ve got to find clients prepared to cover all the costs, and it becomes an economic challenge to do that.”

If the service proves viable, it could attract other entrants, the source added. “I’m not sure this is the solution, but certainly there is a problem that ships need protection. It depends on what they are trying to do.”
Link Posted: 11/21/2008 10:21:28 AM EDT
Don't forget to take the video camera.

Youtube + Pirate ownage = WIN.
Link Posted: 11/21/2008 10:23:04 AM EDT
in
Link Posted: 11/21/2008 10:23:12 AM EDT
FUCK THE RIAA

-JTP
Link Posted: 11/21/2008 10:24:51 AM EDT
WTF, am I living in an alternate reality? Mercenary companies are forming fleets to fight off pirates in wooden skiffs that governmental Navies can't or won't engage? I repeat, WTF?

Have the USN, RN or somebody follow them to their home port and burn it to the ground. Dear world, stop being pussies, signed MMB.
Link Posted: 11/21/2008 10:25:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/21/2008 10:25:55 AM EDT by Gamma762]
Link Posted: 11/21/2008 10:26:49 AM EDT
those Somali Pirates have finally met their match. Somebody who will take the fight to them.
Link Posted: 11/21/2008 10:31:10 AM EDT
Originally Posted By JakeThePimp:
FUCK THE RIAA

-JTP


Wrong kind of pirate...

We're talking 'Arr, Walk de Plank' pirates here...

Not napster pirates....
Link Posted: 11/21/2008 10:32:05 AM EDT
Originally Posted By PantherArms762:
Don't forget to take the video camera.

Youtube + Pirate ownage = WIN.


Sweet. Like a dashcam for your gunmount.

Link Posted: 11/21/2008 10:37:58 AM EDT
For fucks sake just pay them to invade, occupy, and set up a western style goverment in Africa. Somalia is actually well placed geographicly for such an action.
Link Posted: 11/21/2008 10:39:16 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Deadeye675:
those Somali Pirates have finally met their match. Somebody who will take the fight to them.


And that's what it will take to stop them.

Link Posted: 11/21/2008 10:52:05 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Dave_A:
Originally Posted By JakeThePimp:
FUCK THE RIAA

-JTP


Wrong kind of pirate...

We're talking 'Arr, Walk de Plank' pirates here...

Not napster pirates....




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