The first of Typhon's three planned escort ships. Once converted, she will have a flush deck to carry fast patrol boats, and be painted gray. Courtesy Typhon
The first of Typhon's three planned escort ships. Once converted, she will have a flush deck to carry fast patrol boats, and be painted gray. Courtesy Typhon

Private navy set to tackle piracy threat with convoys



The founders of a private navy being launched to escort merchant ships through the pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden hope to base the operation in the UAE.

Called Typhon, the company already has an office in Dubai and a UAE registered website - www.typhon.ae - and it says it plans for its force of escort ships to become operational by July. Typhon's tactics will be broadly based on Britain's Royal Navy's basic convoy plan, which proved so effective during the Second World War.

The company, which is based in London, has Simon Murray, the non-executive chairman of the mining giant Glencore, as its chairman, and has on its board, the former chief of the United Kingdom defence staff, Lord Dannatt, and Admiral Harry Ulrich, the former commander of United States naval forces in Europe.

"Typhon was created in order to address the specific threat from pirates in a number of key geographies. The areas we will protect are too vast for current naval resources to monitor effectively," said Typhon's chief executive, Anthony Sharp. "Our mission is to combat the problem of maritime crime and piracy using methods that are both effective and proportionate to the threat.

"With millions paid out in ransoms to pirates and much more money lost by businesses in fuel costs avoiding pirates, it is important that businesses are granted a safer passage with their cargo through dangerous waters. The benefits to business will be substantial."

Typhon is one of two private naval ventures aimed at protecting against the pirate threat. The other, another London-based enterprise, founded by Lloyd's insurance brokers, is the Convoy Escort Programme (CEP). It, however, has still to complete its launch financing. Currently the incidence of pirate attacks in waters around the Gulf is falling, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) - a specialised division of the International Chamber Of Commerce.

"IMB's piracy figures show a welcome reduction in hijackings and attacks to ships. But crews must remain vigilant, particularly in the highly dangerous waters off East and West Africa," said Captain Pottengal Mukundan, the director of the IMB, which has monitored piracy worldwide since 1991.

In Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, just 75 ships reported attacks last year compared with 237 in 2011. This is due to navies deterring piracy off Africa's east coast, with pre-emptive strikes and robust action against mother ships, said the IMB. But the threat and capability of heavily armed Somali pirates remain strong, say both Typhon's Mr Sharp and CEP's spokesman Angus Campbell.

Their services are urgently needed by the shipping industry because Operation Atalanta, the European Union's anti-piracy naval patrol in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden, comes to an end next year, and also current US defence cuts will likely see US naval operations in the area curtailed, they say.

There are also complex legal issues surrounding current anti-pirate protection for merchant ships, specifically the carrying of guns by on-board security teams. Both Typhon and CEP say their defensive models will get around such issues.

The company intends to deploy an initial three converted container feeder ships, each of about 10,000 tonnes, to carry between four and six small fast patrol boats (FPBs) capable of speeds over 40 knots. Typhon has already bought the first container ship and has put out to tender the contract to convert her to yards in the UAE, China and Singapore.

Each ship will carry a crew of 20, and have 40 "security personnel" on board to man the FPBs, recruited from ex-Royal Marines. The ships will also carry a drone, for long range surveillance to detect any suspicious vessels approaching the convoy, which can then be intercepted by an FPB. Although the FPBs will be heavily armed, said Mr Sharp, "this will not be about lethal force matching lethal force. We are there to deter. Once any approaching pirate sees he is facing a credible force, experience tells us he will not risk an attack."

INDIA SQUAD

Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat

Milestones on the road to union

1970

October 26: Bahrain withdraws from a proposal to create a federation of nine with the seven Trucial States and Qatar. 

December: Ahmed Al Suwaidi visits New York to discuss potential UN membership.

1971

March 1:  Alex Douglas Hume, Conservative foreign secretary confirms that Britain will leave the Gulf and “strongly supports” the creation of a Union of Arab Emirates.

July 12: Historic meeting at which Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid make a binding agreement to create what will become the UAE.

July 18: It is announced that the UAE will be formed from six emirates, with a proposed constitution signed. RAK is not yet part of the agreement.

August 6:  The fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed becoming Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with official celebrations deferred until later in the year.

August 15: Bahrain becomes independent.

September 3: Qatar becomes independent.

November 23-25: Meeting with Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid and senior British officials to fix December 2 as date of creation of the UAE.

November 29:  At 5.30pm Iranian forces seize the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by force.

November 30: Despite  a power sharing agreement, Tehran takes full control of Abu Musa. 

November 31: UK officials visit all six participating Emirates to formally end the Trucial States treaties

December 2: 11am, Dubai. New Supreme Council formally elects Sheikh Zayed as President. Treaty of Friendship signed with the UK. 11.30am. Flag raising ceremony at Union House and Al Manhal Palace in Abu Dhabi witnessed by Sheikh Khalifa, then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

December 6: Arab League formally admits the UAE. The first British Ambassador presents his credentials to Sheikh Zayed.

December 9: UAE joins the United Nations.

Dubai World Cup factbox

Most wins by a trainer: Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor(9)

Most wins by a jockey: Jerry Bailey(4)

Most wins by an owner: Godolphin(9)

Most wins by a horse: Godolphin’s Thunder Snow(2)

ABU DHABI TRIATHLON

For more information, and to enter the race, please visit www.abudhabi.triathlon.org.

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Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis 

Rating: 3/5

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Director: Peyton Reed

Stars: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors

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The Iron Claw

Director: Sean Durkin 

Starring: Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, Holt McCallany, Lily James

Rating: 4/5

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Gold
Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Silver
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Bronze
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg

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