Hey Pirates, Beware of Anthony Sharp of Typhon!

I will read any article titled: This Tech Entrepreneur Is About to Launch the Blackwater of the High Seas. The techie is Anthony Sharp and his company is called Typhon:

Anthony Sharp of Typhon, a new private security firm
Anthony Sharp of Typhon, a new private security firm

Anthony Sharp, a 50-year-old veteran of tech startups, grew up with a love for ships. On February 7, he’ll turn that boyhood affection into what might be the first private navy since the 19th century. Sharp’s newest company, Typhon, will offer a fleet of armed ex-Royal Marines and sailors to escort commercial ships through pirate-infested waters. In essence, Typhon wants to be the Blackwater of the sea, minus the stuff about accidentally killing civilians.

Sharp thinks the market is ripe for Typhon, a company named for a monster out of Greek myth. Budget cuts are slicing into the wallets of the militaries that provide protection from pirates. The conflicts and weak governments that incubate piracy in places like Somalia persist. “Maritime crime is growing at the same time that navies are shrinking,” Sharp tells Danger Room by telephone from the U.K. “The policemen are going off the beat.” Sharp thinks that creates a potent opportunity for the fleet he’s buying.

The policemen are going off the beat? Hey, not so fast. We are still out here!

6 thoughts on “Hey Pirates, Beware of Anthony Sharp of Typhon!”

  1. My grandfather was in the North Carolina Navy when he was very young. Later he served in WWI in the Navy as a steward. Is that a fancy word for cook, because he was later a pastry chef at the Palmer House in Chicago. Anyway, I find it fascinating that some states had their own Navy

  2. If I may provide the following ‘comment copy’ from “prime1987” who responded to this article from a previous blog; “prime1987” may well have experience within the Royal Navy or possibly Army, as he uses a typical ‘Percy Pongo’ [army] term of *stagging on*, which they use as a reference of going ‘on watch’ or manning a sentry position for a long period.

    His reference to *booties* refers to Bootnecks, which again is a term used by the Royal Navy, (as well as some one from the Army who may well have been attached to 3. CDO BDE R.M.).

    I Quote.

    “Sharp doesn’t have any naval experience…. His crew of ex-Royal Marines and Sailors isn’t hired yet, only his 15-man management team.”

    This is actually quite funny. I suspect that when Sharp gets around to floating his concept with some real *booties*, he’s going to find them coughing politely. Not many will easily be convinced that zipping about in separate boats in the dead of night is tactically superior to simply putting the observation kit and firepower on the target ships themselves.

    The “protective fleet” idea is full of rather obvious flaws. It’s expensive. It introduces extra hulls, each requiring additional crew to run them quite apart from the security staff. That’s more people to pay and more to get shot at. It raises interesting questions about the likelihood of blue-on-blue clashes as armed and paranoid men tear about in dark and choppy waters. It announces to would-be pirates that the target ships themselves have no on-board defences, suggesting that decoying the Typhon units might be a workable concept. And I wouldn’t want to be the one trying to write the rules of engagement for these guys: it’ll be more than one little yellow card.

    Possibly Sharp has some notion of providing an in-depth defence with layers of protection – but this is a big commercial ship requiring defence against lightly armed pirates, it’s not an aircraft carrier facing the threat of dozens of sea-skimmer naval missiles above, and enemy submarines below. The layered defence idea simply isn’t appropriate to the nature of the threat. This isn’t a battle group.

    So it’s very hard to see why it isn’t better to continue simply to place the defenders on the target ships. No extra crew needed. Just the cost of a few extra billets. Less chance of blue-on-blue shooting, since there won’t be any of the “good guys” racing about in little boats (like pirates).

    With good observation equipment (night vision, radar, well-trained blokes *stagging on* using the Mark I Eyeball) and the height conferred by bigger, taller ships, you have a decent chance of spotting enemy well before contact. Then you have many nice, graduated bloodless responses before having to kill anybody: speed up; change course; illuminating the pirates with laser is pretty effective (they know they’ve been spotted and don’t like the idea that behind the laser might be ‘Mr 50 Cal’); flares; send a few rounds downrange to make a splash if you have to. And the final resort, automatic weapons fire and an RPG or two.

    Soon, presumably, Typhon will start interviewing the experienced ex-military it wants to employ … and I’d like to be a fly on that wall, for sure.

    My experience in such matters allows me to say that this ‘project’ into the fray has not yet been thrashed out sufficiently to allow any leak to the press or the MSM. By doing so it shows a lack of experience & understanding by Anthony Sharp. There is a large umbrella being provided by ‘A-N-Other’ company that does have the expertise, which presumably will have been looking at this ‘business proposition’ for some time. Lloyds of London have yet to step on board!

    In reality the cover for the book has been inked and gone to press, but the story line and characters required are still in the mind of the author.

    Yours Aye.

  3. Lou: Neat piece of history. Those individual navies were like the National Guard.
    EB: Hmm, I thought you would jump at the chance to get all haze gray and underway. Apparently not. Mr. Sharp better make sure he knows what he is doing with his little group here.
    Rooster: A 2014 Corvette Stingray!

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