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Insurers stand to lose out as £2.4m rice cargo is delivered to wrong destination; Clydes had 'few alternative options'
A last-ditch attempt to use special forces to prevent the loss of a £2.4m cargo for an insurance client ended in failure for Clyde & Co. Clydes took this extraordinary step in an attempt to stop a cargo of rice worth some £2.4m from being sold in Somalia. The ship's captain was originally instructed to deliver the rice to Madagascar, but without entering the port travelled to Mauritius, then Kenya, and finally to Somalia, where the rice was sold. The special forces devised a plan of action, but were not in time to stop the illegal sale and the departure of the vessel. Clydes is acting for the cargo's insurers. Maritime investigators say that employing former members of the special forces would usually happen only after a complete breakdown in negotiations and in situations where law enforcement agencies were unwilling or unable to get involved. Ex-special forces personnel, such as the SAS or SBS, are also known to be extremely expensive to employ. "They effectively use the skills they learnt while they were employed in the special forces. There are occasions when, given the jurisdiction involved, there are few if any alternative options to using them," a Clydes source said. "We have to be aware that if our clients engage an entity like that, which ends up harming people, then there could be repercussions for them." One shipping partner at another firm said he had considered employing former SAS personnel to identify the owners of a Liberian company, but decided against it. "They didn't say how they do it, and I didn't ask," he said. Captain Jayanb Abh-yankar, deputy director of the London-based International Maritime Bureau, said he had never heard of a law firm instructing special forces, although his organisation and others like it had used them on very rare occasions. He added that special forces are used primarily in East and West Africa, particularly Nigeria and Somalia, and in the Singapore Straits in waters over which no states have jurisdiction.