Sunday, November 13, 2011

Piracy Update 13 Nov 2011

Piracy tactics in the Gulf of Aden (GOA) and Horn of Africa (HOA) areas continue to evolve in response to increased effectiveness of shipboard defenses.

First, from - The Changing Face of Piracy.

Of interest is the 12 skiffs each with 5 to 8 pirates. This article has the security team firing warning shots as opposed to the more dramatic reports I noted in  my previous post: Will Somalia based pirates seize a ship with armed guards? - I still think that it is only a matter of time before pirates seize a ship with armed guards.

The first incident, on August 7, according to the report filed with the IMB’s Live Piracy Reporting Center3, saw 12 skiffs containing between five to eight pirates per skiff pursue and attack a bulk carrier approximately 20nm off the coast of Eritrea. As the skiffs approached to within 300m of the carrier, the Master ordered the armed security guards onboard to fire warning shots at the pirates’ skiffs. While this show of force saw the majority of pirate vessels break off their attack, two skiffs continued in their pursuit for some 30 minutes, returning fire at the armed guards until they, too, aborted their attack.  If one believes the report – and there is no reason to doubt the legitimacy of reports filed with the IMB – then even underestimating the number of pirates to just 60 still leaves us with evidence of a worrying trend in pirate tactics.

Secondly, from Jay Bahadur's blog The Pirates of Puntland a post The beginning of the end?

Though no vessel employing armed security has yet been hijacked, I am not quite as sanguine as Pelton about the impending end of piracy off Somalia. The pirates have demonstrated an uncanny penchant for adapting to the measures that shipping companies and the naval forces have thrown at them, and the hitherto quiet start to Pirate Season 2011-12 could simply be an ebb before the next torrent. The next evolution of pirate tactics could very well be to come out guns blazing, armed guards be damned.
Finally, found at gcaptain, at the post U.S. Goes Public with Support for Hired Guns Against Piracy I thought this, from Andrew J. Shapiro, current United States Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs was very interesting - a shift of focus ashore:

We have also shifted our efforts to focus on the pirate leaders and organizers ashore. The focus ashore is essential, as piracy has evolved into an organized transnational criminal enterprise conducted for profit. It is increasingly clear that the arrest and prosecution of pirates captured at sea – often the low-level operatives involved in piracy – is insufficient, on its own, to meet our longer term counter-piracy goals. To maintain the momentum and space for action gained by naval operations, we have begun an effort to identify ways to disrupt these criminal networks and to determine the means to dismantle their financial networks.”

 This strikes me as a big deal, don't know what it means exactly. I wonder if there is link between this new focus ashore and this, also from gcaptain:

Fighting Pirates On Solid Ground: Puntland Foils Hijacking Plans

Local officials and police of Gara’ad district of Mudug region in Somalia’s semi-autonomous state of Puntland, with the help of residents and elders, successfully removed pirates from the district and surrounding areas........“We captured many vehicles from the pirates as well as nine speed boats they were going to use to hijack other ships,” he explained.

We shall see....


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