UPDATE on The $50m contract to fight piracy... the unknown paying the lesser known

Top Cat Marine Security is registered under Laura Casini, Esq. at what seems like a residential location.I mention the location because there are some interesting circumstances surrounding this company. It had moved its operations to St Stephen, South Carolina, to the great expectations of the locals. But, then in Oct 2004, things changed according to the local news: "the door to Top Cat is padlocked, the company is facing eviction, one of its top officials has been arrested on a charge of issuing a fraudulent check and a default judgment was issued against the company Monday." Interesting bit is the title of Peter Casini: Chief Operating Officer. He seems to have gotten a promotion in the last year, but in a Reuters article he's head of research and development.

Removed from the site TopCat Marine Security site recently is their address after some have questioned their shared location with other sites Here's the cached version. It seems they share an answering service with other firms (after doing some WhoIs searching and google address search). The office of record is just a phone bank. Not particularly normal for a firm awarded with a $50m international contract.

The webmaster, as of this writing, broke all the links on TopCat Marine Security, all links now begin with: file:///macintosh%20hd/users/brian/desktop/. A little fidgeting, and the press release for the Somalia contract is available here:

Somalia, which hasn't had an effective government since 1991, can't deal with the pirates — and the U.S. government this week advised ships to travel in convoys or simply stay away. Top Cat's strategy is to go after the "mother ship" that launches small, high-speed boats some 100 miles off the coast to carry out the attacks.

"Our goal is to take the mother ship," Casini said from Nairobi, Kenya. "To disable, to disarm, whatever it takes."

Under their contract the company will set up five bases where former Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces members will train the anti-pirate teams. The firm will also provide state-of-the-art patrol boats, backed by helicopters, to go after the mother ship.

The final comments:

  • Where's the money coming from? CNN/Reuters would like asks...
  • From the PMC commentators... "how long until a pirate attack w/ a Cobra boat?"
  • The State Department had to approve this contract. Some reports list the contract at $55 million, but that exceeds the min for notifying Congress. Likely it is just below ($49.9m), but it still required State approval.

:: SEE UPDATE 2 ::
This updates a previous article