Piracy Update, 25 September, 2011

Somalia and Vicinity:

There has been another Yacht hijacking with deadly results. One of the two on-board was killed. The other was rescued by a Spanish warship (LPD). The two on board the yacht were believed to have been French.

In a not untypical action, a French Navy frigate recognized a dhow as a vessel previously seized by pirates and now being used as a mother ship, but ultimately let them go after they abandoned their “attack skiff.”

The Russians seem to use different tactics and are having some success against the pirates, while Somali pirates seem to be working further North into the Red Sea.

The Second Front–Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea:

There has been a significant upswing in pirate activity on Africa’s Atlantic Coast. An oil tanker, with a crew of 23, was seized on 14 September, but has already been released, as is reported here. The earlier report of its capture also provided some evidence the African Partnership Station and efforts to beef up local “coast guards” is paying dividends. The pirates in this area seem to be more interested in stealing oil, than collecting ransom.

Private Security Guards:

The idea of using private security guards continues to gain traction. The observation that no ship with armed guards aboard would seem to make this an obvious choice–“Marine Insurers Support Armed Guards to Counter Pirates.”

The concept is still not without its difficulties even so. The international transportation of weapons is still problematic. This is a little different from the norm, but a group of anti-piracy contractors have had a minor run-in with officials in Mozambique. (This apparently has a remote USCG connection because one of the private contractors was reportedly a civilian instructor for the Coast Guard.)

Representatives of the shipping industry have called for a United Nations armed guard force.

Cost of Piracy:

Neptune Maritime Security discusses the human cost of piracy that results from irresponsible ship owners and vessels that don’t meet international standards. (Thanks to eaglespeak for finding this.)

Here is a bit of background on the cargo owners liabilities incurred because of the potential for piracy.

Tactical Innovation?:

Not sure this is a tactical innovation on the part of the pirates, an act of frustration, or perhaps even an accident, but when the crew of a ship sought refuge in their “citadel” pirates set fire to the ship. The pirates fled and an Italian warship quickly arrived on scene to rescue the crew who abandoned ship.

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