Posts Tagged Sterling Corporate Services

Film: The Project, By Shawn Efran And Adam Ciralsky

Now this looks like a cool documentary and it will be interesting to see the reaction to this film? It definitely has an interesting cast of characters that were interviewed for the film or were actual participants. Specifically, the folks from SCS and the good work they did to train and stand up the PMPF. Here is a quote from below.

Cast: Roger Carstens, Erik Prince, Lafras Luitingh, Rudolph van Heerden, Michael Shanklin, Matthew Bryden

What will really be cool is if they were actually able to capture some of the hostage rescue missions that the PMPF performed, with the help of Roelf van Heerden and his men. -Matt

 

The Project

The scourge of Somali piracy has been devastating the Middle East and North African shipping industries for nearly a decade. As a country with no functioning central government for over twenty years and no military training permitted under UN sanctions, Somalia has been largely powerless to curb the increasingly bold and violent actions of the pirates. Enter the Puntland Maritime Police Force, a secret paramilitary group of mercenary pirate hunters. Initially so undertrained and malnourished that members broke their own legs during marching exercises, the PMPF grows its numbers and hones its tactics under the watchful eye of former U.S. Army Special Forces operative Roger Carstens. It ultimately faces mutiny, death and political infighting in a dangerous quest to pull off the impossible: waging an epic battle on the high seas to rescue dozens of innocent hostages.

Featuring interviews with controversial Blackwater founder Erik Prince and the UN’s arms embargo monitor Matt Bryden, along with shocking firsthand footage from filmmakers embedded within the PMPF, The Project is a gripping, real-life war thriller exposing an unknown, anything-goes battle for control of the seas in one of the most dangerous places on earth.
—Cara Cusumano
Film Information Collapse
2013 | 90 minutes | Documentary Feature
Directed by: Shawn Efran and Adam Ciralsky
Language: English

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Industry Talk: Roelf Van Heerden And Men Lead PMPF Operation To Free MV Iceberg 1 Hostages

This is all types of cool. Basically the PMPF and their South African mentors/trainers rescued the hostages of the MV Iceberg 1 after a two week siege. This is significant, because this rescue/siege was conducted by a private South African force who commanded an assault force they trained, with the blessing of the Puntland government. And they rescued 22 hostages who had been held for over 1000 days, after a 10 day siege. Ross Perot, eat your heart out.

What is interesting about the account below is the tactics involved and how they adapted to the changing situation. And how Rolf van Heerden’s crew was able to finally resolve the siege using some recoilless weapons, minus the weapon sights. lol

“I asked Mohamed Farole if we could get hold of larger weapons or even mortars. I also talked personally to President Farole about the situation and he raised a concern that we might kill or injure the hostages. We did manage to get hold of a Soviet 82 mm B-10 recoilless rifle and a number of rounds and it wasn’t long before we had deployed it on the beach. With no sights available the crew took aim by aligning the weapon and the ship through the open breach and we fired a number of rounds, striking the vessel around the bridge area.
“The pirates on board obviously took fright and contacted the Puntland ambassador in Dubai to inform him that they wished to surrender but that we should stop shooting at them first. We held our fire on two occasions in an effort to give them the opportunity to surrender but, after a number of breakdowns in communication, I had had enough and we resumed the bombardment of the vessel with all available weapons.
“An old United States 106 mm recoilless rifle, unearthed from the rear of a private home, was the next heavy weapon to arrive, together with six rounds provided by the Puntland government. The aiming process was repeated and after two misses the crew found the correct range and four rounds smashed into the ship with resounding explosions, setting the vessel on fire. This effectively changed the pirates’ minds and they indicated that they really wished to surrender and talk.”

If you want a good primer on Roelf, check out his book called Four Ball One Tracer. He was a commanding officer for Executive Outcomes back in the day, and currently he works under the employ of the PMPF.

Now I am not sure if he is still with Sterling Corporate Services, Bancroft Global Development, or hired directly as a member of the PMPF? There was a lot of back and forth about money and the survival of the PMPF, and it is hard to say what the arrangement is now. All though it is obvious that the men of Sterling Corporate Services are still with the force, and they are still operating.

If you remember, SCS lost one of their men in a PMPF operation last year, and that put them on the map. The UN has been trying to shut them down because they are viewed as the competition that is making the UN look bad. lol Funny how the UN could support and oppose such a force, all at the same time?

With that said, there have been several sources that have identified the effectiveness of the SCS trained and mentored PMPF force, and a reduction in piracy could be attributed to their actions.

Building up indigenous ground forces has also helped. What has really thwarted pirate networks is a ground force known as the Puntland Maritime Police Force, according to an expert who has worked on the ground in Somalia. The PMPF is about 400 men, recruited locally and trained to be a professional anti-piracy police force. And it’s worked, says former Green Beret Roger Carstens, who is working on a project about Somalia and the maritime force and has spent much time on the ground there in recent months. “They basically went in and chased the pirates to keep them out,” Carstens told Situation Report. “That kept the pirates out of the pirate towns, where they staged their attacks, and it screwed [their] investors,” he said. But he warns that if support and resources ebb for the ground force, it could falter. That would be a good thing for the pirates.

“If they fail, you could easily see a resurgence of piracy writ large,” Carstens said, emphasizing that the concentration of pirate activity emanates from Puntland, an area of northeastern Somalia that was declared an autonomous state in 1998.

The other thing that I was curious about is who is paying for the PMPF now? I imagine that the UAE is still funding it. or maybe the owners of the Iceberg paid Puntland to conduct this rescue? Who knows and if anyone is familiar with the funding and survival of the PMPF, I am all ears. Either way, good on Roelf and company and good on the PMPF for rescuing these guys. -Matt

 

PMPF forces conducting operations to free crew of MV Iceberg 1.

 

Exclusive: South African-led operation frees hostages from Somali pirates
Written by Andrew Hudson
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 This is
In December 2012 the Puntland Maritime Police Force rescued 22 sailors who had been held hostage on board the Panama-registered ship Iceberg 1 for nearly three years – the longest period for any hostages held by Somali pirates. Roelf van Heerden, the South African commander of the ground force, gives an exclusive first-hand account of the operation.
The Iceberg 1, a 4 500 tonne roll on/roll off cargo vessel owned by Dubai-based Azal Shipping, was hijacked just ten nautical miles off Aden, Yemen, on March 29, 2010. She was carrying generators, transformers and fuel tanks and had a crew of 24 from Yemen, India, Ghana, Sudan, Pakistan and the Philippines.
The Iceberg 1 eventually ran aground in September 2011 off Garacad, a small coastal village in the Galmudug region on Somalia’s eastern seaboard. With two hostages dead, a continuing standoff between the owners and the pirates, and an exhausted, sickly crew of hostages, the last months of 2012 held little prospect of an end to the ordeal. That was until the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF), under the command of a team of South Africans, took action.
Roelf van Heerden, who commanded the ground forces, is permanently employed by the PMPF and his main role, together with other South Africans, is to train the PMPF and deploy the police force. Van Heerden now takes up the story:
“On 28 October 2012 Mohamed Farole, son of Puntland’s President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole, called me at the headquarters of the PMPF in Bossaso and briefed me about the Iceberg. Mohamed, who is the director of the PMPF, also asked me to carefully assess whether the PMPF could undertake an operation aimed at freeing the hostages.
“All previous attempts to resolve the hijacking, including offers of a ransom, had failed due to disagreements between the parties on the ransom amount, the means and the location of the ransom transfer. The ship’s crew were also reportedly in a sorry physical and mental state. The first fatality, a Yemeni, was said to have committed suicide in October 2010 after continuous harassment by the pirates. The other fatality amongst the hostages was the first officer, Dhiraj Kumar Tiwari, who had been severely tortured by the pirates and had not been seen since September 2011.
“The vessel had also run out of fuel and the seasonal high winds had caused both the ship’s anchors to break loose allowing the vessel to drift helplessly onto the rocks. The Iceberg’s hull had ruptured and the lower hold containing eighteen very large generators in 12-metre containers had flooded.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Industry Talk: PMSC’s Singled Out In The UN’s SEMG Report, Head Of SEMG Is Biased Towards Somaliland

“In 2011, Saracen’s training camp near Bosaaso became the best-equipped military facility in Somalia after AMISOM’s bases in Mogadishu. The SCS base today includes a modern operational command centre, control tower, airstrip, helicopter deck and about 70 tents, which can host up to 1,500 trainees.”
“Thanks to this massive initiative, the Puntland Maritime Police Force is now a well-equipped elite force, over 1,000 strong, with air assets used to carry out ground attacks, that operates beyond the rule of law and reports directly to the President of Puntland. This private army disingenuously labeled a ‘counter-piracy’ force, has been financed by zakat [Muslim charity] contributions mainly from high-ranking officials from the United Arab Emirates, including Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The UAE government, however, has officially denied any involvement in the project,” the UN reports.

And the UN has a problem with the PMPF actually being a ‘well-equipped elite force’? I guess Puntland only deserves poorly equipped and less than adequate forces…pffft. Bravo to SCS and these other companies for actually doing a good job. Hell, if anything this report has only helped to elevate the status of SCS, and show that they are able to deliver the goods.

I also thought it was interesting that the head of the SEMG, Matthew Bryden, is married to a woman from Somaliland. Isn’t this a conflict of interest?

Either way, the report talks about the three companies I have talked about in the past. Pathfinder, Sterling Corporate Services, and Bancroft Global. To me, all of them are vital to the goal of protecting resource extraction activities, eradicating piracy on land, and training forces tasked with removing Al Shabab. If anything we should be cheering on these companies, because they are actually contributing to the stability Somalia.

Perhaps that is the real problem the UN has with private industry? That they are actually effective, and the UN has not been able to do anything to make things better there. (not to mention that the UN uses PMSC’s…lol) Maybe the UN should check out Oliver North’s report on the PMPF below or check out the reporting on their efforts over at SomaliaReport? -Matt

 

 

Private Security Companies in Somalia are in violation of the arms embargo – UN
Wednesday, 08 August 2012
The United Nations is concerned that member states are failing to uphold the arms embargo on Somalia by allowing private security companies (PSCs) to operate in the country. South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates were singled out in a UN report.
In its Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, the United Nations said that the provision of security assistance, in the absence of UN authorisation, “constitutes a violation of the general and complete arms embargo on Somalia.” It added that the Monitoring Group was concerned that member states “routinely fail to fulfil their obligations” which require them to prevent “the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of weapons and military equipment and the direct or indirect supply of technical assistance or training, financial or other assistance” to Somalia.
The report highlights several of the numerous security companies operating in Somalia, notably Sterling Corporate Services/Saracen International Lebanon. In late 2011, the assets, personnel and operations of Saracen International Lebanon were transferred to Sterling Corporate Services (SCS), reportedly a Dubai registered company, which resumed large-scale military training, technical assistance and support to the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF).

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Somalia: MPRI In The News–US Trains African Soldiers For Somalia Mission

This is a cool little article that mentioned the work that MPRI is doing currently in Africa as part of the ACOTA program. It just shows how important companies like this, or Bancroft Global, Dyncorp, Halliday Finch or Sterling Corporate Services are to the task of trying to stabilize Somalia. -Matt

 

U.S. trains African soldiers for Somalia mission
By Craig Whitlock
May 13, 2012
The heart of the Obama administration’s strategy for fighting al-Qaeda militants in Somalia can be found next to a cow pasture here, a thousand miles from the front lines.
Under the gaze of American instructors, gangly Ugandan recruits are taught to carry rifles, dodge roadside bombs and avoid shooting each other by accident. In one obstacle course dubbed “Little Mogadishu,” the Ugandans learn the basics of urban warfare as they patrol a mock city block of tumble-down buildings and rusty shipping containers designed to resemble the battered and dangerous Somali capital.
“Death is Here! No One Leaves,” warns the fake graffiti, which, a little oddly, is spray-painted in English instead of Somali. “GUNS $ BOOMS,” reads another menacing tag.
Despite the warnings, the number of recruits graduating from this boot camp — built with U.S. taxpayer money and staffed by State Department contractors — has increased in recent months. The current class of 3,500 Ugandan soldiers, the biggest since the camp opened five years ago, is preparing to deploy to Somalia to join a growing international force composed entirely of African troops but largely financed by Washington.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Somalia: Sterling Corporate Services Replaces Saracen International For Training Puntland’s PMPF

With the news of contractor Lodewyk Pietersen being killed by his PMPF force that he was mentoring, I wanted to bring some attention to the company he was working for. Apparently Sterling Corporate Services replaced Saracen International as the prime vendor for training and mentoring Puntland’s anti-piracy force.

Of course this came out last February and I missed this news somehow. Either way, better late than never as they say, and thanks to a reader for pointing out this information.

So who is Sterling Corporate Services?  From the sounds of it, it looks like most of the guys that were with Saracen Int. just changed t-shirts and jumped into a new company. The UAE is still paying for the whole thing as well.

Also, the PMPF has a website which has several links to what is going on with the contract and their anti-piracy efforts on land.They even have a wikipedia entry, just so you can see the overall history of this force and what they are up to.

But as far as a website for SCS, that is a no go. Which is too bad because I could have done more to promote what these guys are doing in Puntland as opposed to finding out what they are doing after one of their guys gets killed while on an operation. With that said, if anyone from the company would like to correct the record as to what happened to your contractor, the industry and public would like to know.

The other reason why SCS should come up and speak about what happened, is because their competitors are taking advantage of this vacuum or ‘lack’ of information and spreading all sorts of negative information to discredit them. Pretty soon, rumor becomes fact, and then you get the main stream media reporting off of these rumors. So keeping quiet can sometimes do more harm than good, and especially in today’s fast paced social networked environment. At the least you should be contacting new media folks like myself, just because my readership are industry folks and the public. -Matt

 

 

Puntland counter-piracy force poised for launch
23 February 2012
by Richard Meade
An armed counter-piracy police force, funded by the UAE government and trained by private security, is poised to begin operations inside the Somali state of Puntland after previous attempts to launch such a force floundered.
Speaking exclusively to Lloyd’s List ahead of the UK-sponsored Somalia conference being held in London today, Puntland’s interior minister Abdullahi Ahmed Jama confirmed that the Puntland Maritime Police Force would be resuming operations imminently and directly targeting pirate gangs on land.
The Puntland counter-piracy force was established back in 2010, before being suspended in February last year under pressure from several UN agencies who criticised the force’s lack of transparency, the issue of arms sanctions and the lack of a legal framework to support operations.
According to Mr Jama those issues have now been resolved and the police force is now expected to resume training and recruiting with the backing of international governments.
The Puntland police force will operate with the co-operation of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia which is understood to be pursuing similar plans involving private security trained forces.
According to Mr Jama, the Puntland force is a locally recruited, armed coastal police force established to fight piracy on land and protect Somali marine resources. It has been formed, he argued, in direct response to multiple UN Security Council Resolutions and demands from the international community for the Somali authorities to build security and law enforcement institutions to address piracy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

  
7ads6x98y