Is the US navy serious about stopping the Somali Pirate threat??? sometimes I wonder.
TF-151 uses DDG and Crusisers at ships VBSS teams.
The worlds lack of standards in dealing with the problem complicats the issue, Some EU Navies even have a "Catch and Release" program. Shipping companies play the money game. by not putting on Armed guards on merchants ships sitting Insurance concerns. No country wants to put them on trail.
a Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) are extremely effective ridding merchant ships. and in my opinion the way to go.. Military or Contract. but again the INsurance companies playing the moneygame.
But if they wanted to hunt the pirates down and "Terminate " problem
My dream sheet would be.
It would seem they are overlooking probably the Navy's best asset for taking down Pirates
at sea a HSV with SWCC Dets and SEALs with air support.
What can merchants ships do now..(without VPDs on board)
Having exhuasted Radio distress signals, evasive manuevers, water hoses and etc and the pirates
are going to get aboard.
The most sucessfull recent boarding which pirates failed the crew had established a saferoom they all got in and pirates couldn't..and could operate the ship. so they left by the time Rescue forces arrived.
However It could set a new standard.
Pirates going to board:
1 distress signals sent
2, set off emergency GPS Epurbs
3.Shutdown engines and drift
4. all crew to a established safe/panic room with radio comms and supplies and lock themselves in.
and Pirates can't force entry.
5. make radio comms with rescue forces.
In a safe room Rescue VBSS forces can board ship and sweep it clear of Pirates without fear of crew getting caught in crossfire.
Currently Pirates don't have the weapons and technological capability of running the ship or even sinking the ship fast enough before Rescue forces arrive.
Given the fact that Somali pirates strike hundreds of miles away from the Somali Coast.
Navies in Anti Piracy Operations need to be searching for Pirate Motherships.
Which are often Kidnapped Indigious Craft of the AO
This is a misrepresentation of the facts. The Somali pirates,a violent cabal of criminals, have been preying on unarmed mariners with RPG's and automatic weapons for many years. Armed protection for vessels by Naval forces or security personnel has been in response to armed attacks and has been effective in preventing numerous hijackings The reason the number of violent incidents has increased is because the number of pirates and their weapons has increased as it became a lucrative source of the money. This misguided idea that armed protection has increased the violence is not true and blames the innocent victim not the perpetrator.
Arms race on high seas: Gunfire, RPG attacks by Somali pirates soar as crew defences improve Katharine Houreld, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Mar 04, 2010 20:06:24 PM
NAIROBI, Kenya - Somali pirates hit a Spanish fishing boat off the coast of Kenya with a rocket-propelled grenade as private security guards on board shot back at the would-be hijackers.
The successful defence of the fishing vessel Albacan on Thursday illustrates two trends driving up the stakes for sailors and pirates off the Horn of Africa: Better trained and protected crews are increasingly able to repel attacks, but pirates eager for multimillion-dollar ransoms are now resorting to violence much more often to capture ships.
Two-thirds of attacks by Somali pirates are being repelled by crews alone, without the aid of the coalition warships that patrol the Gulf of Aden, according to an Associated Press analysis of attacks reported to the London-based International Maritime Bureau.
Most did so without the use of armed guards, although private security contractors helped repel pirates in at least five incidents off the Somali coast last year.
As it gets harder for pirates to capture ships, the Somali gangs are more likely to fire at sailors with automatic weapons to make ships stop. The bureau says only seven ships were fired on worldwide in 2004 but that 114 ships were fired on last year off Somali alone. That's up from 39 incidents off Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden in 2008.
Most crews now post extra lookouts, register with maritime authorities and practice anti-piracy drills, said Cyrus Mody of the IMB. Increasing speed and manoeuvring so a ship produces a bigger wake or heads into rough waves can also make it more difficult for pirates.
The International Maritime Bureau does not recommend using armed guards due to potential legal problems and fears of starting an arms race with the pirates, increasing the danger to sailors. Moody told AP in October 2008 that armed guards on ships may encourage pirates to use their weapons more - a prediction that appears to have become reality.
None of the 33 crew members or three guards was hurt in Thursday's incident, the ship owners' association Cepesca said in a statement from Spain. None of the pirates was believed to be hurt either. But maritime officials expect more gunfire attacks to happen this spring as calmer seas will likely bring a spike in attacks.
Many ship owners are investing in physical defences like stringing razor wire and adding fire hoses that can hit attackers with streams of high-pressure water. Some ships are even having electric fence-style systems installed.
Secure Marine has installed 45 electric fence-style systems around ships. It also has new devices that can create a type of waterfall around a ship to flood pirate skiffs that get close. The water can be heated "so the higher the pirates climb, the hotter it gets," said company chief Raphael Kahn.
Skin irritants or dye can also be added that help coalition forces identify attackers for possible arrest, he said.
Some ships have been forced to rely on sailors' ingenuity. Crews have thrown everything from oil drums to wooden planks at would-be hijackers clambering up ladders. Last month a crew played the sound of dogs barking over an amplifier to frighten off attackers.
Dogs are considered unclean in Islam and few Somalis keep them as pets. Shipping industry officials are discussing putting guard dogs on high-risk vessels to help frighten off pirates, Mody said. Most hijackings are opportunistic and pirates who encounter resistance often give up and chase an easier target.
"If you're being chased by a lion, you don't have to be faster than the lion," said Graeme Gibbon Brooks of Dryad Maritime Intelligence. "You just have to be faster than the person next to you."
Better training and preparations mean that although 2009 saw 217 Somali pirate attacks - the highest number on record - most were unsuccessful. Forty-seven ships were taken, about the same as in 2008, which saw 111 attacks, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
The attacks are becoming more dangerous for crew members, though. More than 20 ships were fired on with rocket-propelled grenades last year, including tankers and chemical tankers. In one incident, two grenades lodged in the door of a ship's bridge - the area where the captain steers from. Many other ships were damaged by small-arms fire, according to reports from IMB.
"In the old days (pirates) just used to show up and wave a rusty rifle. Now people aren't so easily frightened," said Gibbon Brooks.
Four sailors died and 10 were injured off Somalia in 2009. Two were killed during rescue attempts - one by Yemeni forces and one by the French - and another died in captivity. The fourth was shot and killed during the attack.
"Pirates are shooting because they want the captain to stop and the crew to keep their heads down," said Mody. "Crews are not being executed ... (but) attacks are becoming more violent, there's no doubt about that. It's inevitably going to result in casualties or environmental damage."
The financial stakes are rising as well, said piracy expert Roger Middleton of the British thinktank Chatham House.
Last year, the average ransom was around $2 million, giving the pirates a total haul of around $100 million for 2009. This year, two ransoms paid were around $3 million and $7 million, he said, citing industry officials.
"There's a commercial calculation as well as a humanitarian one," he said. "It's cheaper to pay a bit more a bit more quickly than a bit less over a longer period of time, because of associated costs like compensation to the sailors, lost work time, and possibly a loss in the value of the cargo."
Another great article that illustrates the problem of Piracy and the Merchant Ships and Insurance companies.
Having rode as part of VPD in Pirate waters on the past, I have found that they are very much a deterant. Most Pirates are Timid and only attack when they think they can capture the ship. (If They KNOW a VPD is aboard they will look for a easier target). Pirates shoot to make ships stop so they can board. Usually a VPD engagement when shooting is involved is when the Pirates are surprized when warning shots let them know to break off. Shooting Matches are RARE and VPDs are under very strict Rules of Engagement by Insurance Companies and Shipping Companies and shooting to kill is a last resort after all measures of defense are expended. Including loud hailer, flairs etc then warning shots at various ranges.
This is why Pirates never seem to be killed.
21st Century Piracy its all about Money for the Shipping Companies..Insurance Companies..and the fear factor of the Politicial correctness of worrying more about he rights of the Pirates rather than the Merchant seaman they assualt.....Even the Navies That hunt the Pirates have the PC mentality.
All in all Stopping Pirates in this day and age is like putting a Band Aid on a sucking chest wound.
seafox, That is UNTIL the navies of the world start terminating the pirates at sea! Which of course is NOT PC so you are right.
I like the new designation "Ocean Terrorists" maybe then the navies will knock some off?
Here is a different perspective on mariners and the problems which affect their jobs like piracy:
March 18, 2010
Prosecutions and piracy threaten seafarer recruitment and retention
Shortages of skilled and qualified seafarers could have an immense impact on the global economy. They are being made worse by the negative impacts of crew criminalization and escalating global piracy, warns InterManager, the international trade association for the ship management industry.
"Legislative measures following an accident or incident have made the seafarer increasingly susceptible to criminalization, and a rising incidence of piracy has led to correspondingly high personal risks," Brian Martis, Chairman of InterManager's Criminalization Committee told delegates at today's India Manning & Training Conference in Mumbai.
"A one-sided view of public interest coupled with political expediency has severely curtailed the human rights of the seafarer," he said. "These factors have had a direct, negative impact on crew retention and the natural replenishment of the work-force. Potential recruits are hesitant to take up a career at sea. The current shortage of skilled and qualified seafarers -- already a significant crisis in the maritime industry -- is further exacerbated."
Mr. Martis pointed to recent studies by BIMCO that identified 14 cases of seafarers being detained that took place during an 11 year period and involved 12 coastal states. These cases involved lengthy detainments and "questionable" applications of law and resulted in no charges.
He cautioned: "The unfair treatment meted out to the officers concerned resonates very strongly with the seafaring community both locally and internationally. A seagoing career with such additional risks to personal freedom and/or safety dissuades young men and women who are about to decide their future careers. I know of several officers who have indicated they will discourage their children from taking up a career at sea."
Mr. Martis told conference delegates that recent cases have shown a marked tendency for seafarers to be:
criminally prosecuted for maritime accidents beyond their control
criminally prosecuted for maritime accidents where there has been some negligence, regardless of the fact that such negligence is not considered criminal in the maritime industry
detained indefinitely within the country that is bringing charges against them
held as "security" or "material witnesses" till the ship owner or P&I Club pays up
held in custody without any access to legal assistance or without being formally convicted of a criminal offense
denied shore leave for arbitrary reasons
Urging the shipping world to tackle the issue of unfair criminalisation, Mr. Martis proposed: "2010 is the Year of the Seafarer and what better way to pay homage than to contribute towards improving his working conditions and protecting his human rights?"
Today it happened...... a Private VPD on the Panama Registered MV Almezan shot and killed a Pirate who was attacking the ship.
The Spanish Navy frigate arrived on scene and captured the 2 skiffs and larger whaler and captured six pirates and recovered the body of the Dead Pirate. The skiffs had empty shell casings and had bullet holes in them.
(which indicated to me both sides were shooting.)
This will be a interesting case to follow becuase:
1. Will the rise in violence and fireower increase by pirates as result according to the much stated IMB experts??
2. Will the VPDs invovled be arrestedand procescuted???
My Feb 11. write up came to reality today. MV Taipan was taken by Pirates. The crew shut the ship down and locked themselves in a safe room. The Dutch Navy did fast rope insertion on ship. captured 10 pirates. Crew safe.