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Piracy News & Commentary

Fear of Consequences

Although the US Navy inspected the boats of departing pirates after a ransom was recently paid to free the arms vessel MV Faina, it took no action against the pirates. (The boats were inspected in order to ensure that no arms from the vessel's cargo were being transported ashore.) The Associated Press quotes a spokesperson for the  Read More 
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Tactical Adaptation

It is a fact of war--and of life in general--that tactics inspire countermeasures, which in turn inspire the improvement of tactics, and even new tactics. The principal military response to the Somali pirates has been an increase in naval patrols, and which has initially been successful in reducing the number  Read More 
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Anti-Pirate Sonic Lasers

Lloyd's List, a publication of the venerable insurance firm Lloyd's of London, not to mention the world's leading maritime newspaper, reported today that Somali pirates have released the US-owned chemical tanker Biscaglia and its crew of twenty-eight, almost certainly after payment of an undisclosed ransom. The capture of the tanker last  Read More 
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Brief Update on Somali Piracy

Briefly updating yesterday's post on the perils of piracy, the Russian frigate Admiral Vinogradov foiled an attack today on the containership Nedlloyd Barentsz, wounding and capturing three pirates in the process. The captured pirates were turned over to Yemeni authorities. In spite of recent releases, Somali pirates are still holding eleven merchant vessels and two hundred  Read More 
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The Perils of Piracy

In the late 17th century, buccaneer surgeon and author Alexander Esquemelin noted that pieces-of-eight were not “gathered as easily as pears from a tree,” contrary to the expectations of those new to piracy. The Somali pirates are quickly discovering just how right he was. After a year noted for attacks on more than one  Read More 
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Where Some Reporters and Commentators on Somali Piracy Have Got It Wrong...

It is not uncommon lately to find reporters and other commentators, in print and on television, proclaiming with obvious admiration about how “heavily armed” and “bold” are the Somali pirates. Often these well-intentioned media members refer to Somali pirates in very romantic terms, “modern buccaneers” for example, even claiming occasionally that they have taken  Read More 
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Countering the Gulf Pirates

A Bravo Zulu* to the French, in particular to the French Navy and its special operations force for the rescue of two French citizens held by Somali pirates, and to President Sarkozy for authorizing the raid. On the night of September 15, a force of French naval commandos composed of the commando Hubert--a French  Read More 
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Somali Piracy

This year alone, Somali pirates have attacked more than fifty vessels, captured more than thirty, and have been paid more than $30 million in ransoms. Somali pirates are currently holding ten or more vessels and nearly two hundred sixty hostages. Six separate gangs are involved in the trade, and some estimates place annual income from  Read More 
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