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Piracy News & Commentary

Hostage Rescue

A BZ to Puntland forces who rescued 22 hostages aboard the MV Iceberg 1. The ship was captured by Somali pirates almost three years ago.
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Somali Piracy Diminished, At Least Temporarily

Good article on the present state of Somali piracy: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/party-somali-pirates-attacks-17320672. It's still too soon to tell if the scourge of Somali piracy is nearly over--it may have a brief respite, and there's always the unlikely chance of a significant increase in tactical ability--but at least time has proved  Read More 
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Piracy Convictions

Mohamud Hirs Issa Ali, a former Somali police officer who became the commander of a band of nineteen pirates, was convicted in Virginia of piracy and for his role in the murder of four U.S. citizens aboard the yacht Quest. He was sentenced to life in prison. A former electrician, Jilian  Read More 
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Footnote on Armed Guards

As I noted more than a year ago in Pirate Hunting and years ago in notes and blogs, armed guards remain the most viable interim solution to Somali piracy. Both governments and shipping companies to a large degree have accepted this as inevitable.
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Heavy Machine Guns

This week the Spanish government approved the use of heavy machineguns by private security forces against Somali pirates. Some analysts have been quick to condemn this act as leading to a possible arms race at sea. The machineguns--often described in commentary as "heavy weapons," leaving an impression of more powerful arms--fire a 12.7x99mm NATO, that is, the .50 BMG round. In other words,  Read More 
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Piracy Suppression Act of 2011

This week the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved House Bill H. R. 2839, the Piracy Suppression Act of 2011. The bill, introduced by Representatives Lobiondo and Mica, provides that the U.S. may seek reimbursement from foreign-flagged vessels aided by the U.S. Navy or other U.S. military forces against pirate attack, except in defined  Read More 
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Recent Pirate Attacks

Recent concerns have been brought forward regarding the possibility of a change in Somali pirate attacks, particularly in the Red Sea. Swarm attacks are not recent, having been noted with concern in the past. However, some analysts are concerned that the increase in armed protection aboard commercial shipping may be forcing pirates to change  Read More 
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Arrest of Non-Somalis

Somali authorities have arrested, convicted, and imprisoned three Britons, two Kenyans, and one American for their involvement in delivering ransom funds to Somali pirates. Strictly speaking, the payment of pirate ransoms is unlawful in Somalia, and this is the first time Somali authorities have convicted Westerners with piracy-related crimes. The British government is reviewing  Read More 
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State Department on Piracy

Testimony by Andrew J. Shapiro,Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade of the House Foreign affairs Committee, Washington, DC, June 15, 2011 can be found here.
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How Not to Behave, Intentions Notwithstanding

Eritrea has detained four British private security contractors after they came ashore, ostensibly to obtain fuel. The contractors, part of an antipiracy force belonging to Protection Vessels International, are accused of espionage, sabotage, terrorism, and invasion. Eritrea has an isolationist government that could well be described as paranoid, and the appearance of armed men  Read More 
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