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Piracy News & Commentary

Appropriate Use of Force

Some criticism has blown up recently over video (that should never have been posted) of a security team apparently defending its ship from attack by Somali pirates. The article posted here provides a general summary of the issues. I disagree with the title  Read More 
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Danger to Yachts

Blog post of the new Warning Notice issued by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) on the dangers to yachts transitting through waters prone to attacks by Somali pirates. Yacht owners and crews must understand that sailing vessels lack the speed, maneuverability, and physical protection to defend against pirate attack. Even with a well-armed professional defense force, yachts remain  Read More 
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Bravo Zulus

On March 14, Indian naval forces captured sixty-one suspected pirates aboard a Mozambican ship being used as a pirate mother ship. On April 1, United Arab Emirates special forces freed the MV Arrilah-I which had been captured by pirates. On April 4, Dutch naval commandos from the Dutch frigate HNLMS Tromp freed a captured Iranian fishing boat being used by Somali pirates as a mother ship. The commandos killed two suspected pirates and captured sixteen. NPR recently reported on a "neighborhood  Read More 
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Mother Ships

Lloyd's List today noted the growing Somali mother ship fleet: 20 vessels. These vessels, which range from small open vessels filled with drums of fuel and supplies to fairly large captured fishing boats, significantly extend the range of the Somali pirates. As I've noted in at least one earlier post, a key anti-Somali  Read More 
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Botched Rescue Attempt

Earlier this week a Seychelles warship opened fire on the engine room of the Beluga Nomination, hoping to disable the ship and prevent it from being sailed to the Somali coast. Apparently in retaliation, pirates killed a hostage seafarer, although most had apparently been safely locked within a "citadel" for two and a  Read More 
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Anti-Pirate Laser

BAE Systems, the second largest defense contractor in the world, is attempting to market an anti-pirate laser. Aimed at approaching pirates, the laser will cause temporary blindness.

I have reservations about non-lethal anti-pirate measures, for, to be entirely effective, they must be backed up by lethal measures--firearms, that is, in case their perimeter is breached, so to speak. Although sonic lasers had an early success or  Read More 
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Bravo Zulu to the Malaysian Navy and PASKAL

A BZ to the Royal Malaysian Navy and its PASKAL, or naval commandos, who stormed the Malaysia-flagged chemical tanker MT Bunga Laurel today, foiling a pirate attack. The PASKAL rescued the 23 crew members and captured 7 pirates, 3 of whom were injured in the assault.
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Bravo Zulu to the ROK Navy and ROK UDT/SEALs

A Bravo Zulu to the Republic of Korea naval commandos who boarded the Korean cargo ship Samho Jewelry in a pre-dawn raid this morning, rescuing all 21 hostages, killing 8 pirates, and capturing 5 more. The captain of the ship was wounded in the belly by a pirate bullet, but is in good condition. The  Read More 
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Notes and Observations on Recent Somali Piracy

Predictions and Outcomes. Many analysts had predicted that the US would not use force to resolve the Maersk Alabama hostage situation, arguing that hostage rescues are risky, both for hostages and for rescuers. And they are. However, many analysts forget about two critical elements of tactics: the seizing of opportunity,  Read More 
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Private Security for Commercial Shipping

The issue of responsibility for the protection of commercial shipping in pirate waters has been much debated recently, particularly with the rise of Somali piracy. Until the mid-nineteenth century, responsibility was divided between navies and merchant vessels. Navies did what they could, patrolling pirate waters and occasionally raiding pirate strongholds, but the sea is  Read More 
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