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Monday, March 07, 2011

"Feckless inaction on piracy"

From the Kansas City Star, "Feckless inaction on piracy":
The Obama administration put out a disturbingly weak statement last week after the latest piracy outrage off the coast of Somalia. Four Americans vacationing on a 58-foot yacht died during a standoff between a U.S. warship and the pirate crew that seized their vessel.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the act deplorable, which it was, but what did she urge? More “decisive action” by the “international community,” which has been largely ineffective so far.

The United Nations Security Council adopted an anti-piracy measure more than two years ago. It created a 28-nation entity to deal with the problem and permitted attacks on the pirates’ land bases.

Certainly when Americans are endangered, Washington shouldn’t wait for the U.N. to engage in “decisive action.” That said, the problem is a knotty one because some authorities believe the pirates could be holding several hundred hostages awaiting ransom at their land bases.

Several nations have warships patrolling the area, but as is usual with U.N. efforts there’s little coordination.

Even so, pirate gangs operate at sea from small vessels served by “mother ships.” In the case of the slain Americans, the mother ship was believed to be a Yemeni fishing boat.

The Navy would begin sending the right message if it began interdicting suspected pirate vessels and sinking them if they refuse to surrender. Any pirates captured should be held for trial.

The East Africa piracy problem has festered far too long, mainly because the “international community” has chosen to do nothing effective about it — inaction that has endangered the lives of innocent travelers.

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/02/28/2688868/the-stars-editorial-feckless-inaction.html#ixzz1FuyKi460
We used to refer to "calls for action" as "kicking the can down the road," a clear sign that nothing was about to change in a hurry.

I guess the good news is that ship owners and operators are beginning to engage, in a serious way (and in growing numbers), armed private contractors to defend their ships and crews instead of waiting for government action.

UPDATE: It might also help if the U.S. Navy had a number of ships that were better suited to the interdiction and monitoring of boats and ships off Somalia. See here and the links therein for some thoughts on how to build a sizable small ship anti-pirate force in a relative hurry.

1 comment:

  1. While the US Navy certainly needs more warships, how about starting with a PC replacement which is NOT as anemic as the Cyclones? BTW the LCS are UN-tested with a full boat dets and may be limited logistically, but for sure are not going to do much NSFS with the loads they got now.
    Another thing is that better VBSS capabilies need to be built into ALL warships.
    MSC has chartered what is now tagged Maritime Security Vessesls for years, BUT you should know there is resistance in the Pentagon to any form of chartering (or as they call it leasing).

    IF this is a short term mission, then chartering MSVs is a viable course of action which is cheaper and quicker than warship building.

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