I don't understand this. Somali pirates have taken some 36 ships this year. Why isn't there military interdiction going on? Why didn't the Russians kill these fuckers? I just don't get it, especially the Russians, they let a school full of hostages get killed by Chechens when they went in to shoot them the fuck up. But pirates are given a pass?

What's the risks of taking their shit back? Is it just not worth the cost? why didn't the US Navy get involved in this last one?

Split, you should know a bit about this, WTF is going on?
Original Post
"And so, once they get to a point where they can board, it becomes very difficult to get them off, because, clearly, now they hold hostages.

"The question then becomes, well, what do you do about the hostages? And that's where the standoff is.

Which is why you let the Russians deal with it, or the Israeli's.
Bruckheimer couldn't write this with a bible of blotter and a dumptruck full of meth,

Nato and other international warships have increased patrols around northern Somalia to try to deter the heavily armed Somali pirate gangs who have seriously disrupted one of the world busiest shipping lanes. The pirates are holding about a dozen vessels hostage and more than 200 foreign crew. They are believed to have already netted more than £20m in ransoms this year.

From The Guardian.

Apparently, the government has decided to start paying attention to legalities.

How fucking convenient.
I just don't get it, especially the Russians, they let a school full of hostages get killed by Chechens when they went in to shoot them the fuck up. But pirates are given a pass?

That one didn't work out so well for Russian National Pride. Also, a lot of these hostages are not Russian.
All this talk of the difficulty of catching the pirates at sea is nonsense and they know it. Since the days of Pompey the Great the way to get rid of pirates is to seize their land bases. No matter where they raid, they have to come back to land to rearm, refuel, negotiate and, above all, party. Back in the yo-ho-ho days both of the most successful pirates, Blackbeard and Bart Roberts (who I fervently hope is an ancestor) were caught inshore, not on the high seas.

Problem is, nobody wants to undertake the messy business of obliterating the Somali pirate bases. Lots of collateral damage, you know. The Russians are the best bet. They're not real politically correct and they don't worry about hurting peoples' feelings. Send in a carrier and a few Spetznaz to go in and shoot the wounded - it could be done. And they want to be taken seriously again. The US first showed its naval chops against the Barbary pirates.
Well, again, I think it's the international nature of the collateral damage invading their base(s) would entail that provides the most hindrance.

I think international cooperation in this instance requires naval resources amassed immediately after a group ransom/release is arranged.

Said latter is not in the pirate's interests and they are loath to accept such. So it might require an exorbitant ransom figure, even in the hundreds of millions, and lord knows what kind of leveraged chicanery, to create a situation where an international body of death-and-destruction can be applied.
{looks around suspiciously}

No Somali pirates read here, right?


'Cos I wouldn't want to give them the idea, but the way to get a really serious ransom if you've got a supertanker is not to ransom the tanker, crew and cargo, but to stick some explosives on the tank and sail the tanker somewhere near a number of large cities and threaten to blow the tanks.
Originally posted by lithos:
Originally posted by Bravus:
Heh, either would work, in different ways, but yeah.

I've heard tell that detonating an LNG tanker would create a blast as big as Hiroshima, but that might've been in a Clive Cussler novel.

The trick would be to use the biggest O tanks possible and wrap charges around them and detonate them topside. Stuff can only explode as fast as it can get ahold of oxygen, yes?
Split, you should know a bit about this, WTF is going on?

The problems are legion. As JMR points out, the real, final solution is the elimination of the bases on land. There are other factors that make piracy off the Horn of Africa more complicated than elsewhere. First off, the local navies don't give a flying fuck. If the normal logic of things held in those waters then the regional power would be Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia doesn't do anything that might be mistaken for work. They certainly aren't going to bother policing the waters around them. That would be too much like normal, human behavior.

As a result, there is no regional power to maintain freedom of navigation there. Other countries' navies can pitch in and deploy there, but it's always more expensive to deploy to foreign waters. It's even more expensive to deploy off the Horn because of the lesson of the USS Cole. Jihadists have demonstrated (announced, really) that they perceive an interest in denying the waters of the Bab al Mandeb to outside powers. Any and every port in the area where a naval vessel can put in to refuel is a friendly operating environment for Islamic extremists. The force protection considerations are fairly staggering.

Another complicating factor is that Somali piracy has turned out to be more lucrative than piracy in most other parts of the world. When Somalis seize a vessel, they typically hold it and its crew for ransom. Elsewhere, pirates tend to unload the vessel's cargo and sell it on the black market, letting the vessel and the crew go. The Somali model has resulted in vastly superior (though also more risky) revenues, as companies and governments have coughed up multi-million-dollar ransoms for some of these vessels and their crews. The introduction of such vast amounts of money (and millions of dollars is a truly vast sum in that zone) further complicates everything. The Bab al Mandeb has been choked with smugglers and legitimate traders forever. The Somali pirates can exploit these connections to spread their money into all the ports in the region, buying information about sailings. It's reasonable to assume they've purchased sailing schedules as well as information about recommended routes through the region's waters. When governments and insurance companies tell ships to sail by Route A or B to avoid pirates, it's not like they lock that information up in a safe. That can leak pretty easily, even more easily with the application of some money.

Military patrols are seldom effective at ending piracy. Much of the piracy that was booming in the Malacca Straits a few years ago was eliminated when shipping companies finally listened to government advisors who told them to speed the fuck up. Fast-moving cargo vessels are pretty hard to board. Of course, the Somalis are better armed and may be in faster boats.

As for why nobody's storming these vessels, it's because those kinds of operations are extraordinarily difficult and bloody. There are people trained for it, but you can really only do that kind of thing efficiently on a fairly small vessel. I've been involved in searches of commercial vessels. They're huge. They have endless nooks and crannies. You can search one all day with a big team of people and you'll still need to bring in sensors to tell you whether you've found all the habitable spaces on board. Storming a container ship to hunt down people armed with RPGs and holding hostages who could be anywhere on board... fuck that noise.

It's fucked up and will remain fucked up until Somalia's fixed. Really it's the least fucked up thing about Somalia. But nobody cares about Somalia. Not enough to really do anything. The rest of the world is more concerned about choosing the color of their next ipod. I suppose when a ship full of ipods gets hijacked, the world will pay attention.
Thank you.

When iPods get hijacked the Old Man will be behind it.

Let me ask you this then, why don't they simply put more soldiers or mercs on the boats? If the boats were well armed and guarded, well, that would seem to be an affordable solution to the issue.

I mean, a couple M2HBs and sentries and a contingent of soldiers on these boats... I don't know, maybe that is unaffordable as well.
Competent and trustworthy mercenaries probably cost a lot of money.

Unless they have a good idea of which vessels were most likely to be taken it'd be a prohibitive investment to put enough mercenaries on enough boats for long enough to make a lasting impression.
We have to take into account that some 1500 ships cross the Suez channel every month. To arm all of them, just because two or three have a run in with pirates and one is actually caught, would be terribly expensive. Not to mention that Western countries are quite concerned about (uncontrolled) weapon trade, and allowing armed ships is a black market dream.

As well, unlike the pirates of old, these ones try to avoid killing and damaging the ships, because they know how the shipping company's minds work. And why they always keep around ten ships around, so the collateral damage of any action would be prohibitive compared to simple payment. Any government making an attack and failing may receive hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

There is a secondary business that is not presented clearly, which is simply protection money. It is likely the supertanker capture is more of a publicity stunt than a real economic target. But once they have proved they can stop a supertanker (the first time in the Gulf of Aden), they can charge protection money. With insurance for the Gulf of Aden 10 times higher than through Cape Horn, deals with the pirates make sense for an insurance company. And that is where the real money is, not the 30 million dollars that some people say have been paid in ransoms this year.

But the menace has to be credible. And those who refuse to deal with you, have to see the error of their ways...

We have seen, even if not presented as such, most of the tactics used in previous centuries against pirates. Sting operations (what were doing two Royal Commando boats doing with a merchant in the Gulf of Aden?), convoys and escorts. But the sheer bulk of traffic going through makes it hard to avoid presenting targets.

The other traditional method, pay a local warlord to stomp the pirates does not work because the pirates can probably outbid anyone. So the best solution would be to stabilize Somalia. Once again that is much more expensive solution than "a few" millions in insurance and ransoms.

Tracking a target used to be as easy as hiring a container in a ship, and the shipping company would offer you GPS position updates on the ship location, though now they reduce that information in "sensitive waters". Even now, just by shipping you get a lot of information on the ship, other loads, etc. And that is before you bribe a customs officer in India...
It should be interesting.

Most interesting right now is how our initial response to these piracies (piraticisms?) has been something between 'How dare they?' and 'Why do our mighty governments allow it?'.

These actions strike against our sense of order in the world.

One side effect of USA's foolish intrigues in Iraq is to create some illusion of containing trouble in a region. Rationally, we know better, but graphically, the media has told us for years that threats to us equal Iraqi violence (and a few sabre-rattlers like Iran).

Darfur, the Congo, these are tragedies but not threats, we think.

And then agents from this upstart collapsed nation grabs ever larger vessels from ever larger nations, completely under the eyes of our satellites and media. No Cruise missiles intervene, no jet squadrons scramble, no Interpol SWAT teams do a counter-heist.

Intellectually, we know that our sense of control by power is more illusion than fact, that our projections of power in professions of geopolitical hygiene are like a household roach extermination program using shotgun fire.

But emotionally, we hum Rule Britannia under our breath, and conjure images of Admiral Nelson
"Shipping experts agree that prevention is the key. Security companies have devised a whole range of nonlethal deterrents, from high-powered hoses to electric rails around the deck. The Sirius Star had none of these – no one suspected that pirates could board such an enormous vessel.

"Some are looking to Asia for lessons. Piracy there has fallen more than a third since 2006, partly because of the actions of committed and resource-rich governments that are determined to defend the lucrative route through the Malacca Straits. Most incidents in that region are small-scale attacks to loot or steal vessels, unlike those off the Somali coast in which crews and vessels are held for huge ransoms.

"Satellite-tracking devices have led to a high rate of retrieval for stolen ships, deterring hijacks. In addition, the far greater stability of SouthEast Asian nations makes the weaponry used by the Somalis far harder to come by, and limits their chances of finding sanctuary on shore."
Report on Hijacked Supertanker 'Sirius'
Originally posted by Boogerhead:
Edit has his own defense force?

yeah and they all look like the smokin hot Canadian customs officer that searched me in Vancouver.

In our defense we piss of a lot more people than the Indians do.

Their Marine force is a lot smaller than ours. Their marines are really British style marines which are a commando force. Our marines are more like a small army. Their army is a lot bigger than ours actually. Per capita of course they are far smaller you could say.

At one time we would have stepped in to put down these pirates ourselves. It says something about how thin we are stretched right now that the Indians are having to step up.

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