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Piracy News & Commentary

Bravo Zulu

A BZ to European Union navies, in particular to the French frigate Nivose and her crew, who, along with the Italian support ship Etna, two naval helicopters, and Spanish maritime patrol aircraft, captured thirty-five suspected Somali pirates, four mother ships, and six skiffs in two days this weekend. Warning shots were sufficient to force the pirates to surrender. However, there were four incidents in which pirates engaged military or private security forces. In all instances the pirates were unable to capture their target vessels. March and April are the heaviest months for Somalia pirate activity.

Some observers fear the increasing use of force by Somali pirates in response to a more aggressive naval presence and commercial shipping countermeasures will lead to an "arms race." However, unless shipping companies are willing to continue paying ransoms and put their mariners at risk in the meantime, and unless governments are willing to implement an even more aggressive anti-pirate strategy, commercial vessels have little choice but to use force against Somali pirates. To date, the Somali pirates have not captured an armed ship.
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