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Piracy News & Commentary

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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Wikileaks and Blackwater

Documents released recently by Wikileaks include the "revelation" that Blackwater was trying to enter anti-piracy operations in the form of an escort vessel for commercial shipping. In fact, this is old news. There was nothing hidden about Blackwater's attempted entry into this field. Only a few minor details--alleged abuse of one or more members  Read More 
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Anti-Piracy Petition

On September 23, the head of the International Transport Workers Union presented the head of the International Maritime Organization with 930,000 signatures on the End Piracy Now petition. Details are available at MarineLog.
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Pirate Hunting Cruise Hoax

The Internet continues to abound with articles on Russian pirate hunting cruises, in which passengers purportedly pay for the chance at shooting pirates at sea. On its face any clear-headed reader should have assumed any such article to be merely repeating a hoax--which indeed the pirate hunting cruises are. Nonetheless, the articles continue to circulate and, given  Read More 
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Marines Recapture Ship from Pirates

A Bravo Zulu to US Marines of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Maritime Raid Force who recaptured the German-owned Magellan Star. The Marines captured nine suspected pirates. Not a shot was fired, and the ship's crew was unharmed. The Marines are deployed aboard the amphibious ship USS Dubuque (LPD 8). The  Read More 
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Piracy Charges Dropped

Piracy charges have been dropped against six Somalis who attacked the USS Ashland in April 2010. Under US law, a pirate is a sea thief. If he "merely" attempts piracy, he is not a pirate. However, in the popular mind and historical tradition, not to mention to my own mind, a pirate is  Read More 
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No Kidding

Several recent articles in various newspapers and industry journals have pointed out that Somali pirates are adapting their tactics. No kidding. Tactics invariably evolve, and both shipowners and navies need to be prepared for this.
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The Definition of Piracy

Good Wall Street Journal article on the problems arising from the definitions of piracy. (Article forwarded by Shaun Chittick.)
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Unions Support Arming Ships Against Pirates

According to Lloyd's List, seafarer unions now support the arming of merchant vessels with armed military personnel when transiting piracy-prone areas. The unions still oppose arming seafarers themselves.
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Pirates Sentenced

Lloyd's List has reported that twenty pirates were recently tried in Kenya and sentenced to twenty years apiece. An estimated four hundred suspected pirates are being held worldwide for trial.
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