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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Private US firm to patrol Somali waters?

Must be an interesting contract to read, in which a US marine security firm has agreed with the transitional Somali government to patrol Somali waters and help stop the wave of piracy and other activities taking place there, as reported here:
The two-year agreement signed by Somali Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Hassan Abshir Farah and Peter Casini, President of Topcat Marine Security, will help fight terrorism, curb illegal fishing and combat pirates, who have used speed boats, automatic weapons and satellite phones to target UN-chartered ships and other vessels.

"The comprehensive agreement will create a maritime security program to protect and control all Somali waters within its exclusive economic zone," said Farah after signing the deal in Nairobi.

"This agreement includes the creation of five coastal security bases including advanced communications equipment, high speed patrol boats, ground vehicles, and several helicopters to patrol the entire Somalia coastline and its territorial waters," he said.

"Also included in this program will be a comprehensive trainingpackage for coast guard, special forces, and all other necessary personnel to continue the safe enforcement of Somali sovereignty for decades to come," Farah added.
Topcat home page is here. BBC quotes:
The firm is also expected to help the Somali government set up five naval bases.

"We will end the piracy very quickly, there is no question about that," said Mr Casini.

"There is a ship that is launching small ships 75 to 100 miles from the shore, our goal is to take the mother ship."
Good place to start.

UPDATE: Strategy Page take:
While no one is saying it, the United States is basically taking over coastal security duties for Somalia. The Transitional Government there has no money for this sort of thing, so it appears that the U.S. is picking up the tab. This could get interesting, for the Somali warlords who operate along the coast are not going to take kindly to some foreigners trying to interfere. The first priority of the new coast guard is to put the pirate gangs, and especially the two larger "mother ships", that are supporting attacks far out at sea, out of action.
By the way, the use of privateers to do such work is an old tradition, normally involving letters of "marque and reprisal":
A letter of marque and reprisal was an official warrant or commission from a national government authorizing the designated agent to search, seize, or destroy specified assets or personnel belonging to a party which had committed some offense under the laws of nations against the assets or citizens of the issuing nation, and was usually used to authorize private parties to raid and capture merchant shipping of an enemy nation.
Everything old is new again...

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