In two years of operations, a Virginia-based maritime security company has escorted commercial vessels through pirate-infested East African waters 300 times without incident. Nexus Consulting Group of Alexandria’s impressive record is the latest evidence of a surprising turn in the five-year-old international war on Somali pirates. More and more, for-profit security guards are taking over from the world’s navies on the maritime front lines.
But as it grows its protection business, Nexus — “the world’s leading provider of private maritime security solutions,” according to a company press release — might want to heed the hard lessons learned by one of its rivals. As it turns out, the ship-protection biz is rife with risk, of the diplomatic and AK-47-wielding variety. Carrying guns aboard commercial ships has the potential to cause all kinds of legal problems.