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British Pioneers Launch Private Navy to Combat Piracy in Indian Ocean

By The Maritime Executive 01-07-2013 02:53:00

A private navy founded by businessmen, former marines, retired captains and soldiers will protect its first group of oil tankers and bulk carriers from pirates in the Indian Ocean in late March or April, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Typhon, a venture formed by a group of U.K. businessmen led by Glencore International’s Chairman Simon Murray, will recruit 240 former marines and sailors for its navy. This is the first undertaking of its kind in nearly 200 years in the United Kingdom.

These pioneers are frustrated at the inability of various governmental agencies and navies to effectively secure the shipping lanes in a substantially small area of ocean, mainly because they lack the budget to do so.

This private navy will include a mother ship, high-speed armored patrol boats, and armed soldiers.  Their aim is to deter pirates rather than engage in gunfights.

RT reports that the vessel will be UK-flagged, which would give them the legal right to carry their weapons into harbor rather than keep them on platforms in international waters. The navy’s funding will come from shipping firms - in much the same way as the cargo ships sailing under Russian, Chinese and Indian flags hire private convoys.

Although there is a large international presence in the pirate-infested areas, piracy still remains a major issue for mariners and shipping firms.