Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blackwater Fails to Gain a Letter of Marque

About a year and a half ago, when Rep. Ron Paul was suggesting that Congress resume issuing letters of marque and reprisal, I speculated that Blackwater might go into the privateering business.  It turns out that they had already made moves in that direction.
In late 2008, Blackwater Worldwide, already under fire because of accusations of abuses by its security guards in Iraq and Afghanistan, reconfigured a 183-foot oceanographic research vessel into a pirate-hunting ship for hire and then began looking for business from shipping companies seeking protection from Somali pirates. The company’s chief executive officer, Erik Prince, was planning a trip to Djibouti for a promotional event in March 2009, and Blackwater was hoping that the American Embassy there would help out, according to a secret State Department cable. 

However, the would-be privateers were unable to attract any clients.  I guess we won't be drinking Blackwater spiced rum anytime soon.


Dan said...

Actually, I am kind of surprised they didn't get any business. Maybe they charged too much or maybe the shipping companies think they won't bothered or the ransom would be cheaper than the protection.
I think it was a good idea and they can always convert the ship to a casino boat.

Ordinary Jill said...

I think it's more likely that they couldn't compete with other private security companies that had been providing that service for years and had more expertise. Piracy is not a new problem. It has been an issue in the Indian Ocean for decades, and commercial shipping interests have been dealing with it. The article gave me the impression that Erik Prince thought he could use his political connections to get a competitive advantage, but it didn't pan out for him.