Millionaire’s Private Navy Ready to Take on Somali Pirates

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 194
January 7, 2013

Comin’ to Getcha. Suspected pirates in Gulf of Aden surrender to the USS Vella Gulf in 2009. US Navy photo

A new British private navy will soon begin plying the Indian Ocean to help support the fight against Somali pirates.

The UK’s Sunday Times reported yesterday that the new navy, founded by companies led by the commodity giant Glencore International Plc (GLEN), will protect its first convoy of oil tankers and bulk carriers from Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean in late March or April, according to their interview with Glencore Chairman, Simon Murray.

The Sunday Times: Private navy goes to war on Somali pirates

Typhon, as the venture is called, was formed by a group of U.K. businessmen led by Murray and will recruit 240 ex-Royal Marines and sailors for its navy, the London-based newspaper reported. The company will use a mother ship and high-speed patrol boats to escort convoys of merchant ships – and sometimes yachts – through the pirate infested waters of the Indian Ocean.

The force was reportedly set up because the U.K.’s Royal Navy, NATO and the European Union Naval Force don’t have enough vessels to patrol the area, the Sunday Times said. “They can’t do the job because they haven’t got the budget,” Anthony Sharp, chief executive of Typhon, told the newspaper. “Deploying a billion-pound warship against six guys [pirates] with $500 of kit is not a very good use of the asset.”

In early 2012, the Telegraph spoke to Sharp about the new venture and how it came about:

“I had the idea for Typhon while playing polo one afternoon, thinking about what my next business might be,” says Sharp. “I picked maritime security. Two years later we’re completing our funding round, acquiring our first vessel in weeks, and hope to be in theatre shortly after.”

In that interview Sharp added that they hope to eventually get 10 vessels on the water, but he will likely move on to his next venture sometime after that. “We’ll build this business over three years and sell it to someone like G4S or a US equivalent,” he said.


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