These days, it is impossible to watch or read any news publication, maritime or not, and not know about pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden. The hijacking of the M/V Faina last month carrying 33 Ukranian tanks and other military equipment, has sparked worldwide interest in the staggering growth of incidents. Just today Bloomberg reported a pirate attacks have climbed five-fold in the Gulf of Aden for first nine months of this year with 51 boardings or attempts to board. Yesterday, it was announced that NATO is sending 7 warships to the area to assist with escorts and patrols.
The problem has lead to increased insurance premiums, a sense of unease when navigating the area and cries for help from ship owners. Well to answer those cries, one US company is taking matters into its own hands and has deployed a ship to the area to help with efforts.
Blackwater USA, the private military organization known as either a private security firm or a mercenary organization (depending on your political beliefs) plans to send its 183-ft. M/V McArthur to the Gulf of Aden. As we reported in a previous gCaptian post, the vessel boasts “state of the art navigation systems, full GMDDSS communications, SEATEL Broadband, dedicated command and control bas, helicopter decks, hospital and multiple support vessel capabilities.”
Additionally, Blackwater is even talking of an anti-piracy fleet. Forbes.com tells us:
The mercenary outfit–founded by former Navy SEALs in 1997 and heavily involved in U.S. military efforts in Iraq–has tentative plans to build a small fleet of two or three anti-piracy vessels, each able to carry several dozen armed security personnel, according to reports in Lloyds List Maritime. Although the Blackwater vessels will not be armed, the crew will be. Unlike official military personnel, they may have fewer qualms about using those arms against pirates.
Interesting stuff. Tell us what you think of private contractors providing military like services in the comments.
You can read more on the McArthur in gCaptain.com’s previous post Blackwater Maritime Teams With Kings Point