Shadowy Arab billionaire behind armed US ship

A tale of the multi-billion dollar anti-pirate industry in the Indian Ocean emerges as Indian investigators try to unravel the mystery behind the arms and ammunition found aboard MV Seaman Guard Ohio and the necessary clearances it obtained from India.

Published: 20th October 2013 06:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th October 2013 06:56 AM   |  A+A-


An American ship flying a Sierra Leone flag, carrying sophisticated arms and ammunition off the western Indian sea board. A mercenary shipping company and its Arab billionaire owner who lives in the vicinity of White House. A multi-billion dollar anti-piracy industry in the Indian Ocean that has become the new Iraq after the Americans pulled out of Baghdad, shutting off the massive greenback pipeline to private security agencies like Halliburton whose mercenaries helped US troops fight insurgents in the treacherous alleys of Falluja and Kandahar. The story of MV Seaman Guard Ohio, currently docked at Tuticorin under the watch of the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard is one that Wilbur Smith could easily have penned.

THE WEAPONS MYSTERY: The ship is owned by AdvanFort, the private maritime security company that remains tightlipped about the lack of proper documentation for the 35 sophisticated assault rifles and over 5,000 rounds of ammunition found aboard the vessel. Contrary to evidence, it claimed that the Indian Coast Guard had given the ship a clean chit when it berthed in Tuticorin on September 9. It docked first in Kochi on August 23  for refuelling. Two weeks later, it met with an accident off Tuticorin port. According to AdvanFort’s official press release, a clearance certificate was issued by the coast guard to the ship on September 9 while it was in Tuticorin. In a press statement on October 17, the company even released coast guard clearance certificate to the press. Sources said at the time of its arrival in September, the ship was clean and had no weapons on board. Therein lies the mystery. What was the ship doing in Indian waters? “What was the objective and purpose of the ship in Indian waters? There is not much piracy near our maritime borders. I think some of the biggest scandals are happening out there, and we have to find out what,” said former Vice Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral (retd) K K Nayyar.

THE SHADOWY BILLIONAIRE: The incident raises questions over the unregulated business practices and methods adopted by shady operators involved in private maritime security. The owner of Seaman Guard Ohio, Samir Farajallah, an UAE businessman operates in the shadow of war. He is so reclusive that his name cannot be found even on the AdvanFort website. According to Public Education Center, a non-profit organisation based in Washington,  Farajallah, through New-Field Exhibitions, a post-war profiteering conglomerate, controls the private mercenary and Intelligence operation business from New-Field headquarters on Seventeenth Street in Washington DC, a pricey locality close to the White House. Sources said Farajallah has open access to Pentagon. They say he is acting as facilitator for US companies in war-torn countries of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan through enterprise conferences. These are meetings with officials in war-torn countries, who are tasked with big budgets—mostly grants from the US—and powers to reconstruct infrastructure in their countries.

Continue reading: Not first brush with law for ship owner



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