Somali Pirate Attacks Up 75% In 2008, Blackwater Going In

We told you this was a growth business!

And, apparently not just for the pirates. It looks Blackwater has found a new moneymaking opportunity.

AP: Pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia this year have surged 75 per cent, an international maritime agency said Thursday as it called for serious international action against the brigands who “operate with impunity.”

The International Maritime Bureau said the waters off Somalia, including the Gulf of Aden, are the world’s most dangerous, accounting for 63¬†— or nearly a third¬†— of the 199 reported pirate attacks worldwide between January and September 2008.

The types of attacks, the violence associated with them, the number of hostages taken and the amounts paid in ransom have all also increased, according to a report released by the agency’s piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur.

And when there’s sketchy activities you know who is sure to be on the scene…Blackwater!

Forbes: Last week, the company dispatched the MV MacArthur, a 183-foot vessel with a crew of 14 and a helicopter pad, to the Gulf of Aden to provide escort services for ships in need of security.

“Billions of dollars of goods move through the Gulf of Aden each year,” said Bill Matthews, executive vice president of Blackwater Worldwide, in a press release. “We have been contacted by ship owners who say they need our help in making sure those goods get to their destination safely. The McArthur can help us accomplish that.”

The mercenary outfit–founded by former Navy SEALs in 1997 and heavily involved in U.S. military efforts in Iraq–has tentative plans to build a small fleet of two or three anti-piracy vessels, each able to carry several dozen armed security personnel, according to reports in Lloyds List Maritime. Although the Blackwater vessels will not be armed, the crew will be. Unlike official military personnel, they may have fewer qualms about using those arms against pirates.

This is gonna be awesome. Go pirates!

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