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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mozambique: "Pirate Hunters" Arrested

Reported here:
Mozambique authorities arrested four U.S. citizens and a Briton for possession of illegal weapons this week.

According to a BBC News report, the five say they were in the region to help rescue a boat from pirates. They told authorities that they worked for GreySide, a U.S. security firm, however the company has not commented on the incident and the U.S. embassy disavowed any connection to the group.

Mozambican officials told BBC that the men were in possession of weapons, ammunition and communication equipment. The leader of the group, identified as U.S. citizen 42-year-old Michael Ferguson, said the group flew from the U.S. through Ethiopia and Kenya in order to enter a large vessel off the coastal city of Pemba to subsequently assist another boat being held by pirates.
Reportedly the men were arrested in Nampula.

Info on "Greyside Group- Maritime Security Services" here. (Update) As noted on its website,
  • GreySide Group is licensed and certified to transport arms globally (US ITAR).
    • All of GreySide's weapons are legally obtained, legally shipped, and legally employed.

It's generally a really bad idea to carry weapons into foreign countries unless the proper permits or other forms of authorization have been obtained. "Baksheesh" might work, but, then again, it might not.

Maybe a permit expired or was renewed and someone didn't get the memo.

UPDATE here. Apparently it was a matter of team members being "questioned" and then released.


  1. Anonymous11:45 PM

    Pretty bold to herald a guy as an anti-piracy expert and 5 days later he gets jacked up for weapons issues.

    I'm sure State Department will look long and hard at this under ITAR devotion 129 "brokering"... If they had the permits they so exceedingly note on the website and press release, why ever would they need to buy them in Kenya and Mozambique? The BBC article notes that they were going to get more guns in N Moz...

    Anyone know if this was a sanctioned operation or just them being cowboys? Did a shipping firm hire them to recover the vessel? Who would even underwrite such an operation??

    I'd love to know more but GreySide isn't answering phones...

  2. Anonymous1:33 PM

    Use your common sense, it's called an Africain shakedown, nothing more. No weapons were ever intended to be purchase, they were already on their way.