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Old 09-26-2008   #41
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I'm guessing the Navy is still keeping busy supporting all the ongoing operations. I fully agree that sinking a couple of 40 foot skiffs would be not only a big morale boost, but a signal that piracy is not open for business in these waters. Piracy remains a major threat in the Straits of Malacca and around the thousands of islands of Indonesia (among other places). Obviously this problem has not gone away, and if anything, continues to grow with globalization, the increase of ship-bound good and the decrease of our blue-water navy coupled with continually high committments. Add to that the increased pace of the Chinese, Indian and Russian navy and you have another branch of the U.S. military working overtime.

Ideally the Littoral Combat Ships will provide anti-piracy support for regions such as this. Personally, I'd like to see an increase in Navy "COIN" operations and to some focused operations to destroy pirate boats and conduct limited strikes based on intelligence against the pirate bases of operations. It is not just the ground forces that must shift focus against an asymmetric threat. Piracy (and the great study on the Iranian speedboat warfare) clearly indicates the need for the U.S. Navy to giddy-up and increase their operations in these troubled seas.
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Old 09-26-2008   #42
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Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
In all seriousness, why isn't the US Navy out there cracking down on the Pirates? I've seen more action out of the Dutch/French than the USN, which strikes me as odd.

We're the largest, and the Royal Navy ended lots of piracy in the 1600's/1700's.

While the navy is contributing in Iraq, it's pretty hard to send a AGEIS crusier up the Tigris, so what are they doing to end this threat to one of their core tasks (freedom of the seas)?

Seems to me a couple of sunk pirates would make some good examples, even if the economic driver is strong.
Considering that Islamic extremists have taken de-facto control of Somalia,
Example I would be afraid of those pirated resources going to support terrorist organizations. This would make this a priority to me, not just a good moral booster.
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Old 09-26-2008   #43
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I'm SO looking on e-bay.
They probably aren't even worth it. Lets see thirty tanks against a buch of guys on smaller boats and the tanks lose
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Old 09-27-2008   #44
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Default More from today's news...

On a Vital Route, a Boom in Piracy - Ellen Knickmeyer, Washington Post

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Somali pirates plying the Gulf of Aden in speedboats equipped with grenade launchers and scaling ladders have launched what the maritime industry calls the biggest surge of piracy in modern times, sending shipping costs soaring and the world's navies scrambling to protect the main water route from Asia and the Middle East to Europe.

Pirates from the failed African state of Somalia have attacked at least 61 ships in and around the Gulf of Aden this year, 17 of them in the first two weeks of September alone, according to the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center in Malaysia. That compares with 13 attacks in the area for all of 2007.

"In my time here, I must say, this is the most concentrated period of destabilizing activity I have seen in the Gulf of Aden," said British Commodore Keith Winstanley, deputy commander of the Combined Maritime Forces, whose members have confronted the pirates repeatedly since mid-August. The coalition, headquartered in Bahrain, includes the militaries of the United States and 19 other nations...
Somalia Pirates Capture Tanks and Global Notice - Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times

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For a moment, the pirates must have thought that they had really struck gold - Somalia-style.

The gun-toting, seafaring thieves, who routinely pounce on cargo ships bobbing along on the Indian Ocean, suddenly found themselves in command of a vessel crammed with $30 million worth of grenade launchers, piles of ammunition, even battle tanks.

But this time, they might have gotten far more than they bargained for. Unlike so many other hijackings off the Somali coast that have gone virtually unnoticed - and unpunished - the attack Thursday evening on the Faina, a Ukrainian vessel bringing military equipment to Kenya, has provoked the wrath of two of the most powerful militaries on the planet.
The United States Navy was in hot pursuit of the ship on Friday. And the Russians were not far behind...
More at the Los Angeles Times, The Times and Agence France-Presse.
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Old 09-28-2008   #45
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Posted by Cavguy,
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In all seriousness, why isn't the US Navy out there cracking down on the Pirates? I've seen more action out of the Dutch/French than the USN, which strikes me as odd.

We're the largest, and the Royal Navy ended lots of piracy in the 1600's/1700's.

While the navy is contributing in Iraq, it's pretty hard to send a AGEIS crusier up the Tigris, so what are they doing to end this threat to one of their core tasks (freedom of the seas)?
This situation generates more and more questions, and hopefully a public demand for a firmer response. Whether particular pirates are tied into other criminal enterprises, terrorisim, or support for insurgencies, they still present a significant threat to our economy and the global economy, which is obviously a national interest. We should have a policy (one that follow up one), that if you attack our merchant ships, our people, or our allies, then we should send a very strong message.

In regards to the French being more active, the French have always been more active in Africa than the U.S.. Despite all our naysaying about France, they do make some contributions to global security (or more accurately their actions defending their self interests have the collateral benefit sometimes of better global security).

The pirates in Somalia have attacked ships from the around the world (Europe, the U.S., the Middle East, SE Asia, etc.), so there should be enough political capital to send some Marines over the beach to take these thugs out.
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Old 09-28-2008   #46
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Information Dissemination has some excellent discussion of Somalia and pirates.
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Old 09-28-2008   #47
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Default Good post,

Selil, that was an excellent post, but I think the economic impact is much larger than the blogger assumes. There are other issues associated with this problem also:

1. Nation States are allowing criminal and terrorist elements to deny access (or at least safe access and transition) to key economic zones.

2. If pirates have the freedom of movement to hijack oil tankers, etc., so do terrorists, and it could be a catastrophic scenario if they hijacked a LPG ship and used it for a suicide attack.

3. The costs associated with insurance, private security, ransoms, etc. probably have a much bigger impact on the bottom line costs of everything from gasoline to the clothes we wear.

While I don't see it has a grave threat to our security, I see it as one we can manage if we would develop the appropriate policies to do so. The Navy isn't big enough to safeguard the passage of every merchant vessel, so what I'm proposing for discussion it taking the fight to the terrorists, not responding to 911 calls regarding pirate attacks. The post below refer mostly to the Malacca Straits, but they are still relevant.

http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/...icleid=2373531

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"Significant impediments to the flow of oil would be a direct threat to the national security of countries that are highly dependent on it, particularly Japan and South Korea. It would mean re-routing vessels, which would lead to the sky-rocketing of freight and insurance rates, which in turn will have a devastating global economic impact. Thus, it must be kept open and safe, and the prime responsibility for this is with the three littoral states of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia" (Bernama, June 12).
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southea.../GH25Ae03.html

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The situation became all the more urgent following the recent decision by Lloyd's Market Association's Joint War Committee to declare the Malacca Strait an area that is in jeopardy of "war, strikes, terrorism and related perils". The decision to add the Malacca Strait to the committee's list of high-risk areas was taken following recommendations by the private defense consultants, Aegis Defense Services, who are said to have carried out risk assessments on the area.
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southea.../FJ19Ae01.html
As in most crimes, criminals seek to wipe out evidence or traces of their activities. In fact, the difficulty of locating evidence lost at sea accounts for the apparent callousness involved in maritime crimes as compared with land-based crimes. Robbery, for instance, may be followed up with murder so no witnesses are left behind to testify against the perpetrators.

Investigations by the International Maritime Bureau show a disturbing trend of increased frequency of violence at sea.

The responsibility of protecting sea lanes, therefore, lies with state governments.
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Old 09-28-2008   #48
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Bill,

I was thinking that this particular situation is the perfect situation for PMCs. Up to including giving the PMCs Letters of Marquis. As long as the PMCs don't charge the merchants, and they've been hired by governments it would be a great situation. The original problem from history is the PMCs becoming pirates when the situation is settled.
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Old 09-28-2008   #49
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I'm a little unclear about this situation. I saw a discovery channel show about this awhile back and if memory serves it is illegal to have armed security on these ships (I remember one crew running a drill where they would use fire hoses to repel armed boarders ). I have no earthly idea why it would be illegal but it seems that it is. Selil's idea would seem to be a good one but for the legal issues. I'm not sure how armed PMCs would fall under those laws.

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Old 09-29-2008   #50
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A tense standoff has developed in waters off Somalia over an Iranian merchant ship laden with a mysterious cargo that was hijacked by pirates.

Somali pirates suffered skin burns, lost hair and fell gravely ill “within days” of boarding the MV Iran Deyanat. Some of them died.

Andrew Mwangura, the director of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, told the Sunday Times: “We don’t know exactly how many, but the information that I am getting is that some of them had died. There is something very wrong about that ship.”

The vessel’s declared cargo consists of “minerals” and “industrial products”. But officials involved in negotiations over the ship are convinced that it was sailing for Eritrea to deliver small arms and chemical weapons to Somalia’s Islamist rebel

http://www.thetimes.co.za/article.aspx?id=851953


Iran has rejected reports that its vessel hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden was carrying a ‘dangerous consignment’.

The pirates were angry because when they opened the cargo of the Iranian ship, several Somalis died, while others lost hair and suffered skin burns, Reuters quoted Andrew Mwangura, of the Kenyan-based East African Seafarers’ Assistance Program, as saying.

http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=178063

See also
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archiv...rrounds_hi.php

Last edited by AdamG; 09-29-2008 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 09-29-2008   #51
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Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
I have no earthly idea why it would be illegal but it seems that it is. .
Laws on who can carry weapons vary widely between countries and considering the wide variety of potential Ports-of-Call a merchant ship could have, securing the required permissions to satisfy everyone would be nearly impossible.

Or at least that's how it's be explained to me.
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Old 09-30-2008   #52
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Default Somali Pirates capture Iranian ship

Mysterious Cargo Aboard Iranian Ship Seized by Pirates Raises WMD Concerns
30 SEP 08


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As Somali pirates brazenly maintain their standoff with American warships off the coast of Africa, the cargo aboard one Iranian ship they commandeered is raising concerns that it may contain materials that can be used for chemical or biological weapons.

Some local officials suspect that instead of finding riches, the pirates encountered deadly chemical agents aboard the Iranian vessel.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,430681,00.html
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Old 10-01-2008   #53
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Popular Mechanics, 29 Sep 08: 4 Fronts for Pirate-Navy Battle as U.S. Descends on Captured Ship
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....From ramshackle beginnings four years ago, Somali piracy has evolved into a lucrative industry, reportedly bringing in 10 times as much cash as the country’s once-thriving fishing industry. But after a year in which pirates operated with near impunity and seized nearly 60 ships for around $1 million ransom each, the international community is finally taking action by assembling a sophisticated naval force to fight back.

The fate of the Faina remains to be seen, with its captain already dead, a $20 million ransom in negotiations and would-be rescue ships awaiting orders and continuing to monitor the situation. But two high-tech and highly successful engagements so far this year—in addition to several others featuring robotic arsenals—might provide an attack plan that could finally begin to shut down the reinforced band of pirates.....
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Old 10-02-2008   #54
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Chatham House, 1 Oct 08: Piracy in Somalia: Threatening Global Trade, Feeding Local Wars
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Summary points

- Piracy off the coast of Somalia has more than doubled in 2008; so far over 60 ships have been attacked. Pirates are regularly demanding and receiving million-dollar ransom payments and are becoming more aggressive and assertive.

- The international community must be aware of the danger that Somali pirates could become agents of international terrorist networks. Already money from ransoms is helping to pay for the war in Somalia, including funds to the US terror-listed Al-Shabaab.

- The high level of piracy is making aid deliveries to drought-stricken Somalia ever more difficult and costly. The World Food Programme has already been forced to temporarily suspend food deliveries. Canada is now escorting WFP deliveries but there are no plans in place to replace their escort when it finishes later this year.

- The danger and cost of piracy (insurance premiums for the Gulf of Aden have increased tenfold) mean that shipping could be forced to avoid the Gulf of Aden/Suez Canal and divert around the Cape of Good Hope. This would add considerably to the costs of manufactured goods and oil from Asia and the Middle East. At a time of high inflationary pressures, this should be of grave concern.

- Piracy could cause a major environmental disaster in the Gulf of Aden if a tanker is sunk or run aground or set on fire. The use of ever more powerful weaponry makes this increasingly likely.

- There are a number of options for the international community but ignoring the problem is not one of them. It must ensure that WFP deliveries are protected and that gaps in supply do not occur.
Complete 12-page paper at the link.
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Old 10-02-2008   #55
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Cavguy,

Quote:
In all seriousness, why isn't the US Navy out there cracking down on the Pirates? I've seen more action out of the Dutch/French than the USN, which strikes me as odd.

We're the largest, and the Royal Navy ended lots of piracy in the 1600's/1700's.

While the navy is contributing in Iraq, it's pretty hard to send a AGEIS crusier up the Tigris, so what are they doing to end this threat to one of their core tasks (freedom of the seas)?
There are a couple of factors at play, IMO:

1. Competing priorities. Anti-piracy is only one of CTF-150's missions. Now that these pirates are more on the headlines and now that their activities have increased, we'll probably see a bigger response.

2. International Law. Even though Somalia doesn't have a central government, the US Navy still has to respect Somali territorial waters, which extend 12nm from the coast. A recent UN decision apparently has provided some kind of authorization to pursue inside TTW, but the wording wasn't particularly clear and AFAIK the lawyers are still trying to figure out what the coalition can and can't do. The Navy is pretty sensitive about the TTW issue and has spent a lot of time enforcing the legal TTW limits, so it's doesn't like to turn around and violate TTW's willy-nilly.

3. International law part Deux. There are limits on the use of force and, unfortunately, it's not like the old days where pirates could be sunk or captured and killed on both sight and site on the authority of a ship's captain. As I understand it (maybe Lawvol can pipe up here), we can only engage them if they are in the process of committing an act of piracy. Of course if a US or coalition ship is nearby, they don't commit any such acts.

4. International law part tres: There is general reluctance to capture these pirates (especially by the Europeans) because then you have to figure out what to do with them. There's no Somali government to turn them over to and my reading of the law is that they must be tried in the country that captured them if taken on the high sea (international waters). I think the problems grow if they're captured in Somali TTW since that is considered Somali territory (assuming, of course, that the lawyers give that a green light). This is a headache because of asylum and evidentiary issues, particularly for the Europeans. They always have the defense (which they've used before) of being the Somali "coast guard" under the authority of some warlord.

5. It's a big ocean. There are only a literal handful of ships (6-8 usually) in CTF-150 and their AO includes all of the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, all of the Arabian sea out to Pakistan and then down the coast to Kenya. That's a lot of water for that many ships.

So what the pirates do is head out, stay in or near their TTW and look for good targets of opportunity. They have a general idea of where coalition ships are, so they can capture the targeted ship and get it back inside Somali TTW before a coalition warship can stop them.

Personally, what I would do is apply a navalized version of SBW to this problem. Load a few "bait" merchant vessels with some Marines then present said ship as a juicy target. When the pirates come, they all get killed trying to board by the Marines who are simply, for ROE purposes, utilizing the inherent right to self defense (a rare opportunity for us to exploit our own ROE! ). If the pirate mother ship is close enough we can capture it, or, better yet, station an SSN nearby to take the mothership out completely with a torpedo or anti-ship missile. Take out a few score of pirates and the rest will be more cautious, at least for a while.

Of course I'm sure there's some legal inhibition and there would probably be protest from all the usual suspects, but we can still dream.

Last edited by Entropy; 10-02-2008 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 10-13-2008   #56
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Originally Posted by Entropy View Post

Personally, what I would do is apply a navalized version of SBW to this problem. Load a few "bait" merchant vessels with some Marines then present said ship as a juicy target. When the pirates come, they all get killed trying to board by the Marines who are simply, for ROE purposes, utilizing the inherent right to self defense (a rare opportunity for us to exploit our own ROE! ). If the pirate mother ship is close enough we can capture it, or, better yet, station an SSN nearby to take the mothership out completely with a torpedo or anti-ship missile. Take out a few score of pirates and the rest will be more cautious, at least for a while.

Of course I'm sure there's some legal inhibition and there would probably be protest from all the usual suspects, but we can still dream.
Not a bad plan ! Looks like some of your avid readers decided to just attack for now

Somali pirates die in fighting with Puntland forces

Quote:
MOGADISHU (AFP) — Forces from the Somali breakaway region of Puntland on Sunday attacked pirates holding a Somali cargo freighter, triggering clashes that killed two pirates and a soldier, an official said.

Four others, including another Puntland soldier, were wounded when the forces attempted to rescue MV Awail, owned by a Somali trading company with a crew of 13 Syrians and two Somalis, which was seize Thursday off the region's shores.

The fighting comes amid mounting pressure over piracy in the waters around Somalia, with US and international navies blockading a kidnapped Ukrainian vessel loaded with tanks and weapons.

"They surrounded the (Somali) ship this morning near Hafun area, where they exchanged fire with pirates killing two of them. One of our men also died," said Muse Gelle Yusuf, governor of Puntland's Bari region.

"We are expecting that forces will manage to free the ship in a few hours because the pirates on board are few and they have been besieged."
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Old 10-30-2008   #57
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Default Changing scene

After recent piracy the Indian government announced a small naval presence will be established in the area (See link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...t-pirates.html ). There was no detail, notably on basing and any relationship with the existing allied naval task force.

The allied navies patrol is called Combined Task Force 150; with ships from NATO, Japan, Malaysia and quietly Pakistan has been in situ for sometime - although Somali piracy was not the top priority (recent link: http://www.thestar.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4686265 and the wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_Task_Force_150 ). CTF-150 is seperate from an EU flotilla due to target Somali piracy soon.

Interestingly the Pakistani navy appear to have a tougher ROE for dealing with pirates, but the allied task force ROE restricts such robust action.

Whether sailors from the Indian and Pakistani navies can co-operate will be interesting to watch. I suspect the USN and others will take on diplomacy successfully. As for the pirates who knows?

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Old 10-30-2008   #58
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Blackwater is pushing hard for there ship "McArthur" to be available of the Gulf of Aden as well. Article is in the Navy Times.LINK Also a follow up story here stating that firms are allready interested in hiring Blackwater. LINK
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Old 10-31-2008   #59
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War Nerd Update: Jack al-Sparrow vs. the Do-gooders!, By Gary Brecher. The eXiled Online, October 29th, 2008.
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You can bet money changed hands, too. The shipping companies don’t like to talk about ransom, but they pay up. So there are a lot of Somalis flashin’ the bling and soupin’ up the cigar boats along the Puntland coast, yo ho ho and a bottle of money. I saw one of these tsk-tsk articles the other day with the headline, “What drives Somalis to piracy?” Dumbest question ever; even the subhead answered it for them: “Women, Money, Drugs.” Does that answer your question? Not to mention the fact, which I go into in the article below here, that Somalis are raiders, plunderers from way back. They like it. Even your fat little video-game nephew likes the idea, he just doesn’t have the guts to do it. What do you think he’s doing on his console up there in his room except blowing people away and taking their stuff? Somalis can go out and just coldbloodedly do it.
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Old 10-31-2008   #60
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Default Boy, that was really illuminating...

Did you have a point in posting that?

I seem to have missed your comments on the topic...
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