Cruisin’ with guns

A brisk business in safeguarding guns.

Cruisin’ with guns

IN OCTOBER 2013 the Seaman Guard Ohio, a Sierra Leone-flagged ship, was intercepted just under 11 nautical miles off the coast of India by the local coastguard. The grey-hulled vessel looked like a naval ship—bristling with antennae and radar—but was chartered by AdvanFort, a private security firm based in Washington, DC. It had 35 crew and carried 35 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. On January 11th this year all those aboard—among them Britons, Estonians and Ukrainians—were convicted of entering Indian waters with illegal weapons. They were sentenced to five years in prison.

The case offers a glimpse into a world not often seen by landlubbers. The Seaman Guard Ohio was a “floating armoury”, a ship that loiters semi-permanently in international waters, acting as a hotel and base for private security guards hired to protect ships from Somali pirates. They are typically stationed in waters off Sudan, Sri Lanka or the United Arab Emirates, waiting for their customers—merchant ships in need of protection—to pass by.

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Source: economist.com

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