In London, the business capital of the world's maritime industry, firms shape decisions on arming ships and negotiating with pirates.
Graeme Gibbon-Brooks knows a thing or two about boarding ships.
These days, he offers his knowledge of piracy and terrorism as part of a thriving industry that is deeply rooted in Britain's heritage of merchant trading and naval dominance. In London, the business capital of the world's maritime industry, dozens of maritime law firms and insurers have a tradition that stretches back hundreds of years.
Such firms provide services from security and legal advice to negotiations and handling of ransom situations – and demand has been steadily growing.
"More often now, we are being asked by shipping companies to provide analysis of private security companies," says Mr. Gibbon-Brooks, whose firm, Dryad Maritime Intelligence, consults on security arrangements for shippers.
Two high-profile rescues in the past week – one by US forces of the captain of the US-flagged Maersk Alabama, and one of hostages held on a French yacht – have underscored the increasing threat from pirates. Already this year, pirates have attacked at least 80 vessels. On Wednesday, the French Navy captured 11 pirates who had failed in an attack on the Liberian-flagged Safmarine Asia. The French frigate is part of "Operation Atalanta," a European Union's antipiracy effort.
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