Piracy Update, July 6, 2011

This is coming relatively soon after the last update, but there have been several interesting developments:

As a result of a pirate attack, a 144,000 ton Very Large Crude Carrier has been set afire and abandoned in the Gulf of Aden, 20 miles south of Yemen. The crew of 26 was rescued by the cruiser USS Philippine Sea. This occurred in the area most heavily patrolled by counter piracy forces.

Britain like the Netherlands is considering allowing their merchant ships to arm themselves.

There is a prediction that the pirates will start using heavier weapons. This sort of escalation has been predicted in the past, we’ll see.

Information dissemination has provided a grim and thought provoking post on the future of Africa and Al-Qaeda that touches on piracy, Somalia, and Al Shabaab. It provides a lot of background for USCG efforts in Nigeria, Yemen, and Djibouti and African Partnership station in general.

ADDENDUM:

The UN has informed Reuters there is a financial link between some pirate organizations and Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, Al Shabaab. Not that the terrorist group is engaged in piracy itself, but rather it seems to be “taxing” Somalia’s most profitable industry. This may be viewed as making it illegal to pay ransom. Comment here and here.

 

Piracy Update, Feb. 20, 2010

It looks like al Shabaab, the Somali branch of al Qaeda, is trying to get a share of the piracy profits. The post also referencedΒ  an interesting discussion of how al Shabaab is financed here.

Lloyds of London may be establishing a fleet of patrol boats to provide escorts through the Gulf of Aden for ships insured under their policies.

Royal Navy frigate HMS Cornwall not only broke up a pirate attack in progress, she took down the Yemeni-flagged dhow being used as a mother-ship, capturing 17 pirates and freeing 5 crewman who had been held hostage for 92 days.

Four Americans aboard the yacht S/V Quest were seized by pirates 240 nautical miles off the coast of Oman.