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Battling Somali pirates: Maritime businesses weigh in

In London, the business capital of the world's maritime industry, firms shape decisions on arming ships and negotiating with pirates.

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Graeme Gibbon-Brooks knows a thing or two about boarding ships.

During 16 years with Britain's Royal Navy, he served in the Middle East and East Africa as a deep-sea diver, gunnery officer, underwater saboteur, and countersabotage specialist.

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.

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