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Piracy News & Commentary

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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Private Security

As expected--in spite of the weak arguments thrown up by some analysts--many seafaring nations, shipping companies, and maritime governing bodies are approving the use of armed security--private or military--aboard merchant shipping. This was, as I have repeatedly pointed out here and in print, the only viable interim solution to the problem of Somali piracy.  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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The Arctic Sea

Six "pirates" who captured the freighter Arctic Sea--a Russian, a Latvian, an Estonian, plus three "stateless" men--were sentenced to prison for terms ranging from seven to twelve years by a Russian court. However, many observers do not believe that piracy--theft at sea for material gain--was the motive, but that the ship  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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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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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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Somali Piracy 2010

The worst year so far for mariners, and the best for pirates: 53 ships captured worldwide, including 49 by Somali pirates; 445 pirate attacks worldwide; and 1,181 hostages seized, 1,016 by Somali pirates, according to the International Maritime Bureau. Pirate attacks rose by 10 percent in 2010. At present, Somali pirates hold 31 ships and more than 700 mariners.
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