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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Private Ship Escorts for Malacca

In what may be most dramatically written article I have read on the pirates of Malacca Strait, the news is old: Companies turn to private navies to combat pirates of the Malacca Strait - [Sunday Herald]
Running the gauntlet of the pirate-infested Malacca Strait between Malaysia and Indonesia has long been among the riskiest voyages in the world for a ship’s master.
Gangs in fast launches armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, some backed by sophisticated criminal syndicates, have murdered mariners, kidnapped crew, and even hijacked ships and steered them to ports run by corrupt officials where they have their cargoes unloaded. Afterwards, the vessels are repainted, ready for sale on a shady international market.

But now the level of violence has escalated to the point where Lloyd’s Market Association has designated the Malacca Strait a warzone, classifying the waters as a high-risk area for war and terrorism on a par with Iraq for insurance purposes.

In an attempt to control the alarming rise of piracy, shipping companies are being forced to turn to a radical new solution – private navies.

As many as five companies have set up in the last year, including three British firms and an American security company. Other security firms are now trying to get into the lucrative new market, where the price of missions to protect cargo ships starts at US$50,000.
By the way, private navies aren't really a new idea, either, but harken back to the really olden days.

Update: A variation on the theme.
Note that the goal is not to "eradicate" the pirates (probably bad for business to eliminate the problem for which you exist...)

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