mercenary vapourware

It looks like the “private navy to protect trade off Somalia” idea has been disinterred and taken for a walk again. As Galrahn points out, this is a little surprising as the pirates haven’t had a score since the 2nd March, 10 months ago. A combination of more use of armed security guards aboard ships, much better ocean surveillance, and a policy of targeting the pirate motherships that they use to extend their range onto the deep ocean seems to be working. Good points are made here and here.

Our intrepid privateers apparently have one ship, which doesn’t sound like a solution, but they’re proposing to escort convoys of ships. This is the same pattern that Blackwater proposed back in 2006 and indeed that the marvellous and evanescent Top Cat Maritime Security came up with.

Interestingly, the new outfit, “Typhon”, has been spruiking itself for a whole year without actually launching anything. The linked Torygraph piece suggests that they managed to raise $15m of venture capital at the beginning of January 2012, on the back of some sort of model in which they would share the saving on insurance costs.

Well, here we are in January 2013 and they’ve yet to sail. Why are we discussing this? Probably because they managed to place a story with unimpressive Sunday Times hack Nicholas Hellen, better known for making a minor appearance in Leveson and behaving ungallantly towards Zoe Margolis.

Interestingly, this Russian company seems to call its intelligence group “Typhon”.

Some of the people involved seem relatively serious – I don’t mean the various old generals on the advisory board, but rather some of the executives – but I suspect there’s going to be more fundraising than there is action.

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