NEWS

Pirates Frustrate U.S. Navy in the Gulf of Aden

By Matthew Harwood

LONG BEACH, California - Rules of engagement, concers over hostage safety, and the issue of captured pirates' human rights frustrate the U.S. Navy's ability to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden, a representative of the U.S. Navy's think tank told maritime security stakeholders yesterday at the Maritime Security Expo.

Patrolling the Gulf of Aden is “a demoralizing mission for the Navy,” because no clear rules of engagement exist to regulate how naval forces handle pirates encountered on the open seas, said Kim Hall, field representative of the Center for Naval Analysis, currently stationed in Bahrain with the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

She said the U.S. Navy can only directly engage pirate skiffs during an attack on another ship or in self defense if pirates fire on U.S. sailors. Even when the U.S. Navy witnesses a successful attack it can do nothing for fear of harming the pirate’s hostages. Because of the concern for hostage casualties, the U.S. Navy even stands by as pirates refuel and resupply their captured vessels.

When asked if the U.S. Navy will engage the pirates today, Commander Jane Campbell, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, told The New York Times:

“Once the attack takes place, this is a hostage situation, and there are 25 crew members on board that ship. As with any hostage situation, there has to be concern for those individuals.”

Another limitation on the U.S. Navy is what it does with captured pirates or “persons under control” (PUCs). No international consensus has emerged about what to do with PUCs because European nations bristle at proposals to return pirates to their home governments, most of which, like Somalia, are perpetual human rights abusers.

“Until a clear policy for PUCs is developed and more robust rules of engagement are adopted,” Hall said, “naval forces can do little more than maintain the current deter and disrupt posture.”

Piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden, she said, will cease when stability returns to Somalia, which recently ranked as the world’s worst failed state by Foreign Policy and the Fund for Peace.

“This is a land-based problem in need of a land-based solution,” Hall said.

Hall’s presentation today at the Maritime Security Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center came as news broke that the Somali pirates that hijacked the Saudi supertanker, the Sirius Star, have dropped anchor somewhere off the coast of Somalia with its $100 million worth of crude oil inside.

The attack has raised eyebrows because of the pirates’ audacity: the Sirius Star is the biggest vessel and furthest out to sea of any vessel know to be captured by pirates, said James Boutilier, an advisor to the Commander of Canada’s Maritime Forces Pacific.

Despite pirates increasing boldness, pirate attacks have dropped from their dramatic upsurge in August, Hall said.

After the August upsurge, the United States created the Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA), which is patrolled by coalition ships in the Gulf of Aden. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization has also recommended a narrow security corridor for ships to pass through inside the MSPA.

Despite the heightened security, pirates are entering the security corridor, Hall said. “There is no guarantee you won’t be pirated,” she said, although she did stress piracy is a rare occurrence in the Gulf of Aden and worldwide.

Boutilier agreed, saying less than 1 percent of all ships moving through the Gulf of Aden get captured by pirates.

Comments

What we have done to ourselves...

This is stupid.   Prior to WWII, the rights of pirates wouldn't have been a problem.   Detection might have been challenging, but we would have simply dispatched the Navy to wipe the problem out.  Catch them refueling, they would have been caught in a hail of 5"/38 shells.  Our merchants would have also been much better armed, and taken far greater intiative in defending themselves. 

I don't know where we have arrived at that no ship carries small arms these days.  Frankly, they should be armed with .50 cals and 20mm's; and this isn't a problem that couldn't largely solved with that.  The real problem is that we have increasingly become a flock of sheep, reminicent of Eloi in H.G. Wells "The Time Machine".  Correct this absurd commitment to disarmarment and non-violence, employ a little bit of common sense, and you correct the problem.  For the moment, our illustrious president should tell the rest of the world to go to hell, forget about international law, and direct the navy to eliminiate the problem.

...Oh btw, I'm an ex-naval officer, I know how to use a gun, and for those elite pacsfists among you, I have a PhD.

Canadian Security Firm Fights Pirates:

Canadian Security Firm Fights Pirates:

CBC Radio: interview with a Pirate and with Sunil Ram

of Executive Security Services International:

LISTEN TO PART ONE

http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2008/200811/20081121.html

Contact: Mr. Sunil Ram

Media Security Consultant

www.executivesecurity.ca

November 19, 2008

Canuck seamen seek security advice

By TOM GODFREY, SUN MEDIA

 

TORONTO -- Canadian seamen and shipowners are looking at ways of warding off pirates in the dangerous waters along the coast of Somalia. And they're searching for answers in Huntsville, Ont.

The latest high seas seizure is a Hong Kong-registered Iranian cargo ship commandeered in the Gulf of Aden yesterday, just days after a Saudi supertanker was taken.

"I have been getting a steady stream of calls from concerned seamen," said Sunil Ram, of Executive Security Services International. "People want to know what they can do to ensure their safety," he said yesterday.

"We offer a range of services to help with their security."

Crews are advised to use high-pressure fire hoses to keep pirates from boarding vessels and to be equipped with floodlights and sirens and if necessary, armed security teams, he said.

GREASED RAILS

"The rails of the ship should be greased and electrified to prevent pirates from boarding," Ram said.

Foreign Affairs in Ottawa said its embassy in Somalia has been closed and Canadians are being told to leave the country.

"The security situation in Somalia is very volatile," a government website says.

Sylvie LaFleur, of Canada Steamship Lines, one of the Canada's largest carriers, said its ships travel through the pirate-infested waters.

"We take many precautions to ensure the safety of our crew," LaFleur said.

Pirates last month seized a Ukrainian cargo ship that had on board tanks, rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition. Food shipments to the war-torn region are also being disrupted.

CBC Radio: interview with a Pirate and with Sunil Ram
of Executive Security Services International:

LISTEN TO PART ONE
http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2008/200811/20081121.html

Contact: Mr. Sunil Ram
Media Security Consultant
www.executivesecurity.ca

November 19, 2008

Canuck seamen seek security advice

By TOM GODFREY, SUN MEDIA

 
TORONTO -- Canadian seamen and shipowners are looking at ways of warding off pirates in the dangerous waters along the coast of Somalia. And they're searching for answers in Huntsville, Ont.

The latest high seas seizure is a Hong Kong-registered Iranian cargo ship commandeered in the Gulf of Aden yesterday, just days after a Saudi supertanker was taken.

"I have been getting a steady stream of calls from concerned seamen," said Sunil Ram, of Executive Security Services International. "People want to know what they can do to ensure their safety," he said yesterday.

"We offer a range of services to help with their security."

Crews are advised to use high-pressure fire hoses to keep pirates from boarding vessels and to be equipped with floodlights and sirens and if necessary, armed security teams, he said.

GREASED RAILS

"The rails of the ship should be greased and electrified to prevent pirates from boarding," Ram said.

Foreign Affairs in Ottawa said its embassy in Somalia has been closed and Canadians are being told to leave the country.

"The security situation in Somalia is very volatile," a government website says.

Sylvie LaFleur, of Canada Steamship Lines, one of the Canada's largest carriers, said its ships travel through the pirate-infested waters.

"We take many precautions to ensure the safety of our crew," LaFleur said.

Pirates last month seized a Ukrainian cargo ship that had on board tanks, rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition. Food shipments to the war-torn region are also being disrupted.

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