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  1. #1
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Pirates Arrghh Still Around

    18 Nov. Washington Times Op-Ed by Austin Bay - Pirates Arrghh Still Around.

    In June 2005, I received two briefings from CENTCOM naval officers on coalition naval operations off Africa's Somali coast and in the Red Sea. Chasing pirates is a key mission. Stopping piracy protects African and Arab fishermen and shippers, so it's good politics. There's also little doubt al Qaeda has paid local pirates to smuggle personnel and weapons.

    Naval patrols off Somalia, however, didn't deter last week's audacious -- and unsuccessful -- pirate assault on the cruise liner Seabourn Spirit. Somali pirates in small boats attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons. The liner's captain and crew maneuvered their ship, using it as a weapon -- it's big, and it generates a massive wake. The liner also employed a directional "parabolic audio boom-box." The nonlethal "sonic weapon" emitted an eardrum-shattering sound. The frustrated pirates retreated...

    The spike in media interest may give Jack Gottschalk and Brian Flanagan a belated best-seller. Their Jolly Roger With an Uzi: The Rise and Threat of Modern Piracy," published by Naval Institute Press in 2000, documented the rise of "new piracy," to include smuggling and maritime scams, and terrorists at sea.

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    An alarming rise in the number of piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia is reported by the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB). After a quiet spell of nearly two years, says the bureau, serious attacks by heavily-armed pirates have resumed: 25 in the past six months. In one incident a ship was lured into danger by pirates firing bogus distress flares.
    The International Chamber of Commerce Commercial Crime Services website actually publishes a weekly Piracy Report. ARRRR!

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    Default Thanks...

    H/T for the research link!

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Default Small Wars at Sea: 21st century piracy

    Keeping the Barbary Coast War in the back of your mind, think of the threats to international trade that uncheck piracy could create - particularly if it was given clandestine direction, intelligence and material assistance from a group or government.

    Right now, the hot spots are the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. Check out ONI's open source updates here: http://pollux.nss.nima.mil/onit/onit_j_main.html
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 06-06-2008 at 02:42 AM.

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    Council Member Robal2pl's Avatar
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    Piracy is one problem, second will be hostage situations. ferry or criuse ship loaded 2000-3000 people is easier to seize, and to defend for terrorists than airplane. Imagine 2002 Nord-Ost Crisis (in Moscow) on ship. I think that only few countries have forces sufficent to conduct such hostage-rescue operation.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Piracy has been on the scope for some time, but sadly it gets ignored in most news outlets.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Funny You Mention That

    Steve,

    Good point. I gave COIN classes last July here and I began with a short bit on history. Most students were surprised when I brought up the Barbary pirates as an example of small, joint (land and sea), unconventional warfare.

    The same thing happens when one talks about naval warfare and Africa; the immediate focus is on ports, sea lanes, and chokepoints like the Cape, the Horn, and the Suez canal. Most do not think of "sea control" as it applies to lakes (Victoria, Tanganyika, Kivu, Edwards, etc), rivers (Congo, Nile, Blue Nile, and White Nile), and certain swamps (like the Sudd in southern Sudan).

    Best

    Tom

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    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
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    About a year or so ago there was a show on History or Discovery channel about ships owned by Al Qaeda. I didn’t see it all and was never too clear about the sources of their information but what I did see was interesting. If you are interested in the subject you might want to look for it.

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    Default The Pirate Hunters

    Smithsonian Magazine - The Pirate Hunters by Paul Raffaele.

    ... Pirates have been causing trouble ever since men first went down to the sea in ships, or at least since the 14th century B.C., when Egyptian records mention Lukkan pirates raiding Cyprus. A millennium later, Alexander the Great tried to sweep the Mediterranean clear of marauding bandits, to no avail. In 75 B.C., ship-based cutthroats took Julius Caesar hostage and ransomed him for 50 talents. The historian Plutarch wrote that Caesar then returned with several ships, captured the pirates and crucified the lot of them.

    That hardly spelled the end of pirating. At the beginning of the 13th century A.D., Eustace the Monk terrorized the English Channel, and the European colonization of the Americas, with all its seaborne wealth, led to the so-called golden age of piracy, from 1660 to 1730—the era of Blackbeard, Black Bart, Captain Kidd and other celebrated pirates of the Caribbean. The era ended only after seafaring nations expanded their navies and prosecuted more aggressively to deal with the threat.

    Now the seedy romance of the golden-age legends may be supplanted by a new reality: as governments cut their navies after the cold war, as thieves have gotten hold of more powerful weapons and as more and more cargo has moved by sea, piracy has once again become a lucrative form of waterborne mugging. Attacks at sea had become rare enough to be a curiosity in the mid-20th century, but began to reappear in the 1970s. By the 1990s, maritime experts noted a sharp increase in attacks, which led the IMB to establish the Piracy Reporting Centre in 1992—and still the buccaneering continued, with a high of 469 attacks registered in 2000. Since then, improvements in reporting, ship-tracking technology and government reaction have calmed the seas somewhat—the center counted 329 attacks in 2004, down to 276 in 2005 and 239 last year—but pirates remain very much in business, making the waters off Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Somalia especially perilous. "We report hundreds of acts of piracy each year, many hundreds more go undetected," says Capt. Noel Choong, head of the Piracy Reporting Centre, in Kuala Lumpur. "Ships and their crews disappear on the high seas and coastal waters every year, never to be seen again." Even stationary targets, such as oil platforms, are at risk...

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Fascinating story and I think an often overlook part of GWOT. Col. Warden talked about this being a key part of any world wide counter-terror effort years ago. I thought that was pretty interesting that an Air Force Col. would recognize how critical the Navy is in GWOT. Any comments from the council?

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    RAND, 4 Jun 08: The Maritime Dimension of International Security:
    Terrorism, Piracy, and Challenges for the United States

    In today’s global environment, transnational security challenges—so-called grey-area phenomena—pose serious and dynamic challenges to national and international stability. These dangers, which cannot be readily defeated by the traditional defenses that states have erected to protect both their territories and populaces, reflect the remarkable fluidity that currently characterizes world politics—a setting in which it is no longer apparent exactly who can do what to whom with what means. The maritime realm is especially conducive to these types of threat contingencies given its vast, largely unregulated, and opaque nature. Two specific issues that have elicited particular attention are piracy and seaborne terrorism. This monograph assesses the nature, scope, and dimensions of these two manifestations of nonstate violence at sea, the extent to which they are or are not interrelated, and their overall relevance to U.S. national and international security interests.....

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    I was thinking about piracy today (i got my monthly copy of the piracy report). With fuel prices increasing the volume of intracostal shipping will be increasing, and I expect that the canal (panamanian) with their opening another lane will also result in more coast-to-coast shipping. Shipping is the cheapest forms of transport and one of the least legislated.

    As an aside I realized that I've never even heard of a Merchant Marine officer (the forgotten service) ever attending a DHS conference.
    Sam Liles
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    Default U.S. Navy Boards Suspected Pirate Ship

    8 Feb Washington Times - U.S. Navy Boards Suspected Pirate Ship.

    The United States was striking a pre-emptive blow when it ordered a U.S. Navy destroyer to detain and board a suspected pirate ship in the Indian Ocean last month, aiming to see that terrorists do not lash up with pirates in the Asia-Pacific region.

    The destroyer, the USS Winston S. Churchill, was ordered to intercept the suspected pirate ship on Jan. 21 after the U.S. Central Command, from its forward headquarters in Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, was contacted by the International Maritime Bureau, based in Malaysia. The maritime bureau monitors piracy all over the world, but especially in Asia.

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    Default Global Piracy Trends

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/crime-...3BtaA--;_ylv=3

    I found it interesting that the most active area for piracy now is off the Indonesian coast again. Navy seems to be doing a good job off the Horn of Africa.

    Indonesia’s 17,500 islands and their surrounding waters now take the title as the world’s most heavily pirated.
    Pirates arm themselves no matter where on the globe they operate, but perhaps no pirates on earth arm themselves with such high-caliber weapons as the pirates in Nigeria have over the last year.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    The figures collected by the IMB (international Maritime Bureau), are a vital barometer of pirate activity and there is a good graphic:
    Worldwide Incidents 2013: 100 reported incidents including four hijackings.

    Somali related incidents 2013: Six reported incidents including one hijacking.

    Current crew / vessels held by Somali pirates: hostages - 71 / vessels - 5

    Nigeria related incidents 2013: 19 reported incidents including one hijacking.
    Link:http://www.icc-ccs.org.uk/piracy-rep...cynewsafigures
    davidbfpo

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    Default West African piracy: an old problem escalates

    Piracy off West Africa's has been a problem for many years, for sometime now reporting has shown a growth in attacks and some comparisons have been drawn with Somali piracy - which now appears to have abated.

    There are a number of posts on the West African piracy (WAP) theme on another thread, which will be copied over here soon.

    Reuters has a short report today that starts with:
    Pirate attacks off Nigeria's coast have jumped by a third this year with ships passing through West Africa's Gulf of Guinea, a major commodities hub, increasingly under threat from gangs wanting to snatch cargoes and crews.

    Unlike the dangerous waters off Somalia and the Horn of Africa on the east coast of Africa, through which ships now speed with armed guards on board, many vessels have to anchor to do business off West African countries, with little protection.
    Link:http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...99G16320131017

    There is a significant difference IMHO. The West African nation-states may not be very effective at governance, but they know how to make money and how involved are those who are in governance - illustrated by the amount of Nigerian oil that goes AWOL and the drug trade in Guinea-Bissau.
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    Hat tip to Red Rat for the pointer to this USNI article on the Nigerian Navy:http://blog.usni.org/2013/10/15/nige...in-stormy-seas

    One hopes this navy has no "Nelson's" aboard who look the other way.
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    To the extent that piracy in West Africa is driven by Nigeria - it is a very different beast than Somalia.

    This is a large scale criminal enterprise, with collusion from senior members of the Military & government. It is more sophisticated than Somalia and the politics behind it is not "open and shut".

    These people aren't just taking sailors for ransom - they are also stealing oil.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Beneath the waves another (smaller) problem

    Instead of traditional piracy this BBC report is about illegal fishing off West Africa; which is not a new problem and came to my notice when I heard a Russian trawler had been detained by Senegal's navy.

    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-afri...itter_bbcworld
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    Default The Gulf of Guinea: a new focal point?

    Moderator Adds

    I created this new thread, but having copied over eight posts from the thread 'The Gulf of Guinea and West Africa: a new focal point?' so the starting post now appears as Post No.9

    My explanation: Piracy off West Africa's has been a problem for many years, for sometime now reporting has shown a growth in attacks and some comparisons have been drawn with Somali piracy - which now appears to have abated (ends).

    SWC have touched upon the potential for trouble in West Africa, Guinea and the waters offshore - the Gulf Of Guinea, where there is more piracy than off Somalia and oil shipments go AWOL.

    Taken from a commercial offering:
    Summary

    The Gulf of Guinea is staring at a precipice of regional maritime insecurity. The continuing economic, social and political impact is pronounced and will continue unless there is focused investment in both manpower and resources by more capable outside nations or organisations. The loss of $2 billion US to the local annual economy - from offshore oil, fishing, and commercial shipping - is too large a price to pay for a region which is spasmodically emerging from decades of civil war and anarchy.

    The region produces 5.4 million barrels of oil per day, and it contains 50.4 billion barrels of proven reserves. Nigeria now supplies 10% of US imported oil and is the world’s eighth largest oil exporter. Events in Afghanistan and Somalia illustrate the dangers that come from the nexus between organised crime, terrorism and failed/failing states. While many look to Africa for an African solution to retake control of their seas, they can’t achieve this without timely Western assistance.

    Our collective inactivity is the product of a paucity of constabulary platforms and hamstrung political will which fractures any hope of a comprehensive approach to the problem. So perhaps if we were to learn a lesson or two from Somalia and Afghanistan rather than just identify them, shouldn’t our militaries provide a gentle hand on the tiller and guide the people of the Gulf of Guinea towards a more secure and stable future?
    Link:http://www.defenceiq.com/article.cfm?externalID=2985&mac=DFIQ_OI_Featured_2 010&utm_source=defenceiq.com&utm_medium=email&utm_ campaign=DefOptIn&utm_content=8/19/10"]http://www.defenceiq.com/article.cfm...ontent=8/19/10[/URL]

    From my armchair this is an issue far beyond the waters and yet again an implied Western naval deployment. Nor setting up local coastguard etc.

    Not to overlook the impact of cocaine trafficking.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-21-2013 at 09:20 AM. Reason: Add Mod's note
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