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Thursday, August 02, 2007

High tech sea pirates


Somali pirates are not low tech bozos, as noted in The Space Review: Spacepower for warlords:
In the northwest section of the Indian Ocean, Somali pirates, equipped with satellite phones and GPS, have been increasingly active. According to an AP report published last month (which may or may not be reliable), “They target passenger and cargo vessels for ransom or loot, and use the money to buy weapons.” Other reports indicate that these pirates are operating further and further away from their bases, which shows just how much they depend on space technology for their operational effectiveness. The next step, perhaps, may be to use commercial remote sensing images to help locate vulnerable ships.

This kind of activity contributes to major humanitarian crises: the ongoing situation in Somalia continues due to warlords and their clans. They not only prevent or delay food aid from reaching those who need it, but they also keep things stirred up so that few crops get planted and it becomes almost impossible to maintain the herds of cattle that were once that unhappy nation’s principal resource.

A couple of questions....why the disclaimer over the accuracy of the AP report? I should think that the concepts expressed are pretty evident... and why is anyone surprised by this? That warlords might skip a generation or two of technology to get better information to ply their trade shouldn't be stunning...

Previous post on "high tech" Somali pirates here.

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