While most attacks take place in the Gulf of Aden or off the coast of Somali, the pirates have recently begun venturing further out into the Indian Ocean – up to 250-300 miles off shore, which requires sophisticated navigational skills and the use of GPS.
Pirates use modern technologies and spies to gather intelligence, select targets, coordinate attacks and conduct negotiations. While many pirates are still small bands using only a few boats launched from a coastline, more sophisticated and well-organized pirates have numerous speedboats launched from a larger "mother ship" that can overwhelm a victim with their number of vessels, or cut off avenues of escape. There are reports that pirates operate a number of "mother ships" simultaneously, making tracking and interdiction even more difficult.
Importantly, the pirate tactical doctrine – speed, surprise and stealth, combined with overwhelming force of violence, is the key to a successful raid or hijacking. Pirate gangs are generally armed with intelligence about the target ships, including destinations, cargo and ownership. A sophisticated piracy support structure exists in Somalia and the neighboring African countries, providing arms, trade in captured goods, liaison for the negotiation of ransom payment, and other services.
It is time for the Task Force 150 to start escorting ships en route to and from Bab-el-Mandeb (the southern entrance to the Red Sea) and to Somalia and Aden in convoys, while preparing for decisive naval action against the buccaneers. Naval powers with much at stake must recognize the growing problem and act decisively to deter and defeat the pirates.
In the longer term, the whole Somalia "pirate coast" would need to be brought under control. It will need to be done by the Somali central government with more robust support from the African Union, Western government, and the United Nations. The rule of law, and alternative sources of employment, such as agriculture; fishing; pearl, aquaculture, and yes, tourism, will need to be developed.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Not surprisingly, the Somali pirates are not operating in the blind out there on the open sea, the money they receive is being used to fund a "piracy network," according to this: