An initiative to forge an across-the-board alliance to combat piracy through the establishment of a private navy is still some way from coming to fruition though its instigator insists it will still go ahead with private rather than a combination of public and private equity.
The $15m initiative was mooted by Sean Woollerson, a partner at insurance giant Jardine Lloyd Thompson, who told SMI: “We hosted a round table for shipping in December with the likes of Bimco, the ICS, Intertanko, Intercargo in December. We spoke to the Navy and the insurance industry and while some legal such as rules of engagement issues needed to be addressed, we were fairly close to setting up tangible protection for vessels going though the Gulf on an industry scale.
“We wanted to harness the critical mass of the shipping industry. But the industry is very competitive and it was difficult to get people to play together. We wanted to save people money and properly protect crew, which we thought would have been a fantastic morale booster, but the view of shipping – I exclude Bimco from this – was that their position was to lobby government and provide more resource to maintain the right of free passage.
“There was an appetite from Bimco to explore this further. We were not looking to make a profit but to combat the problem onshore by making a contribution to the international trust fund for capacity building. We were going to set up a private navy.
“We are still going to do it but in a slightly different guise. Potentially it still has huge merits, Mr Woollerson said.