"International plans for a legal crackdown on the funding of piracy could scupper a burgeoning City industry.
"The United Nations plans for sanctions on two suspected pirates would hit the often lucrative work of the law firms, insurers and private security companies in London that quietly arrange ransoms to free kidnapped ships and crews."
"The government has decided to block the UN plans amid worries they could force shipowners and their advisers to stop paying ransoms or else risk prosecution.
"London’s piracy negotiation business brings together an unusual cast of characters, from hard-bitten security operatives to dapper lawyers making telephone calls to hijacked ships from offices close to the banks of the Thames.
"NYA International, a kidnap response specialist based off Bishopsgate and now part of Aon, the US insurance broker, has advised on more than 20 piracy incidents during the past 18 months or so.
"The leading ship hijack case law firm in terms of numbers of clients is said to be Holman Fenwick Willan, which has offices north-west of the Tower of London.
"James Gosling, partner at HFW, said: “Nobody wants to pay ransoms. But when it’s the only option, what the hell else do you do?” "
"The concern about sanctions is that, while they do not explicitly outlaw the payment of ransoms, they make it impossible in practice because of the uncertainty about where money given to pirates will end up.