The germ of an idea started when the news media was full of stories of hijacked ships with crews and valuable cargoes held for heavy ransoms. The hijackings were done by impoverished Somali fishermen, but it was the remote fat-cats who walked away with the spoils. Why can’t more be done I thought, but of course international military forces are constrained by laws which, outside the rules of wartime engagement, restrict the actions of warships attempting to police the pirates, to an extent that there is often little that a patrolling warship can do other than watch the hijackers progress after the event.
What if you could throw away the constricting rules, or at least place them in abeyance? If a small force could be put together, remain undetectable, and then deal with the pirates before they were able to identify and attack their victims? You would need to find a couple of ships that were cheap, outwardly forgotten, capable of movement at a reasonable speed while operated with a skeleton crew, and armed to the teeth with small arms. They would need to reach the area undetected, which would mean that they would either have to start from within the area of operations or be disguised. They would need to strike first and then disappear, but making allowance for the skeleton crew to be recovered and swiftly and covertly returned from where they came. They would be a permanently deniable force.
Here you have the essence of the story of ‘PRIVATEER’.