Found this, via here and here, which details alleged plans afoot by insurers Lloyds of London and some big players in the shipping industry to set up what amounts to, but… er… obviously isn’t, a private navy.
Under the plan, which has been developed over two years, a non-profit association involving private and public sector members would be set up. It would control a fleet of 18 vessels, each with a fixed gun position and an armed crew authorised to engage the pirates in battle.
Each vessel would carry eight armed security personnel and four additional crew as well as inflatable speedboats, known as “Ribs”, which could be dispatched into combat if the tankers they were protecting came under attack.
Although it would be managed separately, the fleet would be under the operational control of the relevant national navy and the crew would have to conform to international rules on combat and engagement.
This is a tad more hardcore than the recent plan to dazzle pirates with a laser, which we blogged on 6000 miles… earlier this year and indicates the seriousness with which the insurance business views the continuing problems off Somalia.
Success for the venture, which has tried to shun the “private navy” tag, would mark a gear change in international efforts to clamp down on piracy. Despite a successful recent intervention by the Royal Navy, the pirates have escalated their activities sharply in the past fortnight, seizing an oil tanker and its 125 million-pound cargo and killing two of its Filipino crew.
All of which makes me wonder whether we’re not in for something similar in South Africa. True, we don’t have pirates in our waters costing the local insurers billions each year, but we do have minibus taxis on our roads and they really do the same job: crashing into the side of other vessels, terrorising the occupants and… costing the local insurers billions each year.
So do we need our own private-navy-that’s-not-really-a-private-navy on the roads? Some would say that we already have one in the Police service, but – in the same way as the traditional navies off the coast of Somalia – they’re pretty ineffectual at stopping the
pirates… er… taxis. And I don’t think that there would be any shortage of volunteers ready, willing and able to sign up for the SA Private Road Navy.
My best suggestion is that you cut out the middleman and contact Outsurance, since they seem to like off the wall, road-based thinking. Tell them I sent you and you want to join their navy.
Let me know how you get on.