Dienstag, 28. September 2010

Der SPIEGEL on Piracy

Der SPIEGEL, Germany's most important weekly, reports today that British shipowners and insurers are drafting plans to send Private Military Companies to the Horn of Africa to protect commercial convoys. Der SPIEGEL openly tries to create a sensation here, though it reports hardly anything new. British PMCs have offered services off the coast of Somalia for a couple of years. Regular readers of this blog might remember that I attended a conference on security in the Perisan Gulf in Shrivenham earlier this year. In the holy halls of Her Majesty's British Armed Forces Staff College I met one CEO of a British PMC that has run convoy-protection for more than two years now. The only news about the proposition reported is to put eventually newly hired PMCs under EU command. But I am guessing that won't happen. 

What is more is that this report is marked by a lack of serious background checking. Just to give you an example of the sort of thing I mean: The report says that Germany currently contributes two frigates to the mission: the Köln and the Rhön. There are two mistakes in one sentence here: only the Köln is acutally part of the mission, the Rhön isn't even a frigate, but might very well be in the same waters (its actually a tanker and might resupply the Köln but that doesn't make it part of the mission unless otherwise indicated by the German ministry of defence). I am writing this at the risk of sounding petty but this sort of thing has become pretty common for reporting on security policy in Germany.

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