First, a recapture of recent Somali pirate incidents:
Now, the weather-related prediction of good areas of operations for the small boat pirates (red is good for the pirates, bad for the merchant shipping world):
EU Counter Piracy Naval Forces (EUNAVFOR) have tracked down and stopped a group of suspected pirates who were believed to have tried to attack a Hong-Kong flagged tanker approximately 400 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.Apparently no trophies were awarded to the pirates for the "good effort" or for their "cooperation" in deep-sixing their pirate tools.
EU Naval Force warship FS Aconit was called to investigate after the tanker came under attack on 26 March 2012. Aconit was directed onto the fleeing pirates by a Luxembourgish Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA), which have recently completed 3500 Flights Hours with EUNAVFOR.
Luxembourg MPRA (EUNAVFOR photo)
The MPRA quickly located the suspects who were towing a small skiff behind a larger sea going whaler. The MPRA provided imagery showing pirate paraphernalia.
In order to conceal the evidence of their piracy activities, it is believed that the suspected pirates had cut loose and sunk the smaller skiff, containing weapons, ladders and a certain amount of fuel.
Aconit’s helicopter intercepted and stopped the whaler, which had 10 suspected pirates onboard, by firing warning shots on 27 March 2012. A team from Aconit boarded the whaler and the suspects have been transferred on board the frigate. Two suspects received medical care by the Aconit’s medical service.
Aconit boarding teams investigating suspect whaler (EUNAVFOR photo)
As no pirate paraphernalia was recovered the crew of the Whaler were sent back to the Somali coast with only enough water and fuel for a one-way journey.
The French Navy frigate Aconit’s intervention made it possible to hamper the action of a complete pirate action group, thus preventing them from committing new attacks in the area.
BIMCO is pleased to announce the publication of the GUARDCON standard contract for the employment of security guards on vessels. This brand new contract has been developed to provide ship owners and private maritime security companies (PMSC) with a clearly worded and comprehensive standard contract to govern the employment and use of security guards, with or without firearms, on board merchant vessels. While BIMCO would not like to see the use of armed security guards on ships becoming institutionalised, it recognises that while the industry awaits a more permanent long term solution, armed guards currently provide an effective deterrent to piracy attacks.
Soon to be under contract?
BIMCO’s Chief Officer Legal and Contractual Affairs, Grant Hunter said “In response to ship owners’ increasing demand for security services, an ever growing number of private maritime security companies have entered the market to meet that demand. In the absence of a standard contract for these services, ship owners and their P&I Clubs are currently faced with the difficult and time consuming task of assessing large numbers of contracts from these security companies, all with varying terms and conditions. GUARDCON’s objective is to create a contractual benchmark for the employment of security services so that minimum levels of insurance cover for PMSCs are established and that adequate safeguards are put in place to ensure that liabilities and responsibilities are properly addressed and that all necessary permits and licenses are obtained.”
SeaMarshals Ltd is one of the first security companies to fully comply with the new BIMCO Guardcon contract released on 28th March 2012.
Among the many things we fulfill to comply you will find;
General liability insurance, 3rd party - USD 5 million
Professional indemnity insurance, USD 5 Million
Maritime employers insurance, USD 5 Million
Personal accident and illness, USD 250 000 per person
Valid licences for embarking and disembarking armed teams
Legal weapons, European origin, government EUC's
All men with STCW95, ENG1, SSO, CRB check, Weapons training, Military/Navy background and more..
100s of references from satisfied ship owners and masters from past transits.
It was through the Declaration of Independence that we Americans acknowledged the ETERNAL INEQUALITY of man. For by it we abolished a cut-and-dried aristocracy. We had seen little mere artificially held up in high places, and great men artificially held down in low places, and our own justice-loving hearts abhorred this violence to human nature. Therefore, we decreed that every man should thenceforth have equal liberty to find his own level. By this very decree we acknowledged and gave freedom to true aristocracy, saying, "Let the best man win, whoever he is." Let the best man win! That is America's word. That is true democracy. And true democracy and true aristocracy are one and the same thing. If anybody cannot see this, so much the worse for his eyesight.
National Security Cutter
Artist Conception of new Patrol FrigateHuntington Ingalls Industries will participate in Doha's International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX) this week, highlighting the new patrol frigate derivative of the company's proven U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter. The patrol frigate could be built at the company's Ingalls Shipbuilding facility in Pascagoula, Mississippi. "The Ingalls patrol frigate design has already proven its seaworthiness in U.S. Coast Guard service," said Dan Holloway, HII's corporate vice president for customer relations. "Our analysis has shown there are foreign navies with requirements for patrol frigate capabilities and that this particular design will address naval multi-mission needs. The patrol frigate's technologically advanced ship features, coupled with Ingalls' experienced workforce and active construction line, will generate an affordable platform for a variety of potential customers." In addition to its patrol frigate, Ingalls will highlight its long history of maintenance and overhaul support to the U.S. Navy, as well as its successful experience as one of the primary builders of DDG 51 destroyers. Ingalls has delivered three National Security Cutters to the Coast Guard, and two more ships are currently under construction. There are two patrol frigate variants: Patrol Frigate 4501 and Patrol Frigate 4921. Patrol Frigate 4501 is closely aligned with the basic National Security Cutter hull with limited design changes. The ships are 127 meters (418 feet) long with a 16.5 meter (54 feet) beam and displace 4,600 tons with a full load. The ship has a 12,000-nautical mile range and can operate in speeds up through 28-plus knots. They have an endurance of 60 days and accommodations for 148. The ship includes an aft launch and recovery area for two rigid hull inflatable boats and a flight deck to accommodate a range of aircraft, with twin hangars for storage of one H-60 class helicopter and two rotary-wing unmanned aircraft. The ships are equipped with various sensors and surveillance systems as well as a 57-mm gun, a 20-mm close-in weapon system and six 50-caliber machine guns. Patrol Frigate 4921 has additional mission capabilities for anti-aircraft, anti-submarine, anti-surface and mine-warfare provided by a 76-mm gun, a 12-cell vertical launch system, an anti-ship missile launcher and torpedo launcher, sonar dome and remote-controlled and manned 50-caliber machine guns. Both frigates retain the NSC's propulsion system of one LM2500 gas turbine and two MTU20V 1163 diesels in combined diesel and gas configuration. All variants incorporate the current quality-of-life features on the NSC, including modern berthing compartments, entertainment facilities and workout facilities.
Last Friday, EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels agreed to expand the operation to include the coastal region. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE, the ministers agreed that Atalanta units should be able to target pirates and their infrastructure up to a limit of two kilometers (1.2 miles) inland. If the expansion is approved, it will be the first time that Western forces are allowed to target pirates on the Somali mainland.here and here), the U.S. has, on occasion, gone inland to rescue hostages (see here, and there are - rumors - that other countries have had forces doing stuff off the water.
Omid Nouripour, the defense spokesman for the Green Party's parliamentary group, was even more outspoken. He called the idea of targeting the pirates' onshore facilities "sheer madness." He spoke of the danger of mission creep should the pirates retreat further onshore in response to attacks.And my suggestion of a suitable strike distance - somewhat deeper than 2 km:
Someone ought to explain to Omid Nouripour the difficulties imposed on the pirates by making them perform logistics 100 miles from the beach.
|Eglantine (from here)|
A foreign cargo vessel has been hijacked by Somali pirates in Maldivian waters, the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has confirmed.Flags of Convenience reports the ship, being Iranian owned is on the U.S. Department of State's Speically Designated Nationals list.
The Bolivian-flagged vessel was hijacked about 190 nautical miles northwest of Hoarafushi island in Haa Alif Atoll, said MNDF Spokesperson Major Abdul Raheem.
Maldives circled in red
The MNDF have dispatched defence vessels to the scene of the hijacking. The vessel was identified on Somalia Report as the Iranian-owned MV EGLANTINE, with 23 crew members on board. The vessel, which has previously been named the Bluebell and the Iran Gilan, is owned by Darya Hafiz Shipping.
“Since it is a hijacking it is possible that the pirates will be armed. I cannot give further details on the mission. There are factors to be considered before going to a direct confrontation or rescue,” said Major Raheem. Foreign authorities have been asked for assistance, he confirmed.
You can listen live by clicking on this link, or download the show later from the same link or on iTunes.
More than almost any other field, there is nothing new under the sun. The tools may change, but the play of power, economics, intellect, and drive which makes the difference in war and therefor human history remain the same.
A professional must reach back to Sun Tsu and Alexander the Great ... but he must also look closer.
When BJ isn't off playing helicopter pilot, he is an occasional naval historian. His research extends over the subjects of naval history and irregular warfare. He is the author of numerous articles including "The Most Daring Act of the Age: Principles for Naval Irregular Warfare" in The Naval War College Review, and "Nothing Like a Good Maritime Raid" in USNI's Proceedings.
His article "Immediate Redress: The USS Potomac and the Pirates of Quallah Batoo" is forthcoming in the May issue of Small Wars and Insurgencies.
To date, there has been much focus on increasing DoD cyber defensive capabilities. To be sure, the list of needed capabilities is long. DoD networks may be safer than they were, but systems are often easily penetrated, accounts are routinely hacked, intellectual property and sensitive information are compromised, and the supply chain is not verifiably secure.In normal English, that means that the current efforts are akin to little kids building sand walls to divert the sea around sand castles. It doesn't matter how many of those walls you build, they are still sand and easily defeated by the rising tide. In cyber world, layered defenses on a easily broken system are like those sand walls - and the tide of threats is rising.
The Agency’s recent testimony before congress reinforced that malicious cyber attacks are not merely an existential threat to DoD bits and bytes; they are a real threat to physical systems—including military systems—as well as to U.S. warfighters.
The U.S. will not prevail against these threats simply by scaling current approaches.
“With respect to cyber offense, it is our firm belief that the Department, indeed the Nation, is at an inflection point,” said DARPA Director, Regina E. Dugan. “It is increasingly clear that the operational needs of the Department of Defense (DoD) cannot be achieved by scaling traditional methods for cyber. To be relevant, the DoD needs cyber tools that are matched in diversity of effect and scale, address different timescales and entirely new targets. It will require the integration of cyber and electronic warfare at unprecedented levels.”
Armed with original research spearheaded by Dugan and the Agency’s Deputy Director, Kaigham J. Gabriel, the Agency created a cyber analytical framework as a means of identifying specific opportunities and gaps in capabilities. “The DARPA Cyber Analytic Framework, completed over a period of months through original research and detailed investigation, concluded that the U.S. approach to cyber security is dominated by a strategy that layers security on to a uniform architecture,” said Dugan. “We do this to create tactical breathing space, but this approach is not convergent with an evolving threat.”
The European Union will probably approve plans on Friday to strike Somali pirate equipment on beaches, widening the scope of its naval operations four years into a mission to protect shipping.Now I'll be waiting to see how Friday's vote goes. But if it goes as indicated above - well, hot dang!
"Military officers say they want to render harmless the ships on the beach that could be used. This was a convincing argument," German deputy defence minister Christian Schmidt said after a meeting of EU defence chiefs in Brussels.
Warships and helicopters will have "very well defined conditions" for firing at pirate equipment in order to avoid harming people, a European official said, noting that Germany and other nations wanted strict rules of engagement.
On Friday 23 March 2012 the Council of the European Union confirmed its intention to extend the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) counter-piracy mission, Operation ATLANATA off the Somali coast until December 2014. At the same time the Council also extended the area of operations to include Somali coastal territory and internal waters. Today’s decision will enable Operation Atalanta Forces to work directly with the Transitional Federal Government and other Somali entities to support their fight against piracy in the coastal areas. In accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Somali government has notified the UN Secretary General of its acceptance of the EU’s offer for this new collaboration.
Private security firms are storing their guns aboard floating armories in international waters so ships that want armed anti-piracy guards for East Africa's pirate-infested waters can cut costs and circumvent laws limiting the import and export of weapons, industry officials say.There has been a discussion of what to do with weapons here for some time.
Companies and legal experts say the operation of the armories is a "legal gray area" because few, if any, governments have laws governing the practice. Some security companies have simply not informed the governments of the flag their ship is flying, industry officials said.
Storing guns on boats offshore really took off as a business last year. Britain — where many of the operators are from — is investigating the legality of the practice, which has received little publicity outside of shipping industry circles.
Citing “unfavorable refinery economics and the outlook for continued unfavorable refinery economics,” Valero Energy Corp. said it will halt crude runs at month’s end of its 235,000 b/d facility in Aruba.Hmm. Refiners losing money? How could that be?
Valero’s move follows by 2 months the announcement by Hovensa LLC, a joint venture of Hess Corp. and Petroleos de Venezuela SA, of closure of the 350,000 b/d refinery at St. Croix, VI (OGJ Online, Jan. 18, 2012). Hovensa will operate the facility, capacity of which had been reduced from 500,000 b/d, as a terminal.
Valero said it has been operating the refinery at reduced rates and at a financial loss. While holding open the possibility of a restart, it said it is considering converting the refinery to a terminal.
The president stages a photo-op in Oklahoma to take credit for the portion of the Keystone XL pipeline that doesn't need his approval and for oil production on private and state lands beyond his jurisdiction.Of the things within his power, on the other hand, he seems to not quite grasp some concepts - like the cost structure of the oil and gas industry. Here's the president speaking to employees of a federally subsidized solar energy company, complaining about the "subsidies" "given" to those nasty "old" oil companies:
And, yes, that means we make investments in stuff that is new, and we stop subsidizing stuff that’s old. The current members of the Flat Earth Society in Congress -- (laughter) -- they would rather see us continue to provide $4 billion -- $4 billion -- in tax subsidies, tax giveaways, to the oil companies -- $4 billion to an industry that is making record profits. Every time you fill up the pump, they're making money. They are doing just fine. They're not having any problems.
And yet, on top of what we're paying at the pump, we're also going to give them $4 billion in subsidies that could be going into making sure there were investments in clean energy for the future? That doesn’t make any sense. Does that make any sense?
THE PRESIDENT: All right, I just wanted to make sure. Because I didn’t think it was a wise use of your tax dollars. (Laughter.)
We have subsidized oil companies for a century. We want to encourage production of oil and gas, and make sure that wherever we've got American resources, we are tapping into them. But they don’t need an additional incentive when gas is $3.75 a gallon, when oil is $1.20 a barrel, $1.25 a barrel. They don’t need additional incentives. They are doing fine.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: It is our retirement!
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. A century of subsidies to oil companies is long enough. It's time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and double down on investments in an energy industry that has never been more promising. (Applause.) That’s what we need to do.
So Congress needs to pass more tax credits for projects like this one; needs to provide certainty when it comes to these tax credits. We need to go out there and do what a lot of states are doing right now, which is saying, let's get a certain percentage of our energy from clean energy sources. Because when we do that, that gives a company like this one certainty that they're going to have customers, and they can invest more and build more. (Applause.)
The federal government gave Sempra Generation about $42 million in tax credits, 30 percent of the price tag for Copper Mountain. The Economic Development Commission said the 48-megawatt project cost $141 million.Copper Canyon provides electricity to 14,000 homes. With $54 million in incentives, tax credits, etc, that works out to over $3800 per house.
State officials provided sales tax abatements for equipment purchases and a 55 percent property tax reduction for 20 years. Those incentives amounted to $12 million. The state gave Sempra an additional $2 million in concessions for El Dorado, an adjacent 10-megawatt solar array.
“Even with the abatements, the state is still netting $27 million over the life of the project,” Sempra spokesman Scott Crider said. “This money would not be available to the state if not for the solar project.”
The cash comes from property and sales taxes Sempra pays at a reduced rate.
Similar incentives are offered to any renewable energy company that commits to a project that generates more than 10 megawatts of energy, enough to power several thousand homes. Firms also must abide by certain hiring and spending requirements to receive tax breaks.
“If they didn’t have the federal or state incentives, they probably couldn’t make these projects work,” Boulder City Mayor Roger Tobler said. (emphasis added)
Temporary construction jobs created: 350. Not bad.So, Nevada offers up $12,000,000 for 5 permanent jobs and 262 temp jobs (now ended)? Wow, talk about a lousy return on investment. Especially since the 14,000 homes being "electrified" are in California. It's really nice that Nevada decided to subsidize California's energy needs.
Nevadans employed: 262. That’s a good share.
Solar power coming to Nevada: 0. Zip.
Parts manufactured in Nevada: 0. Zilch.
Permanent jobs created: 5.
Sempra Generation is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, which owns two Southern California utilities, natural gas pipelines and storage facilities in North and South America and wind farms in Indiana and Mexico. In 2010, it reported $9 billion in revenue.Of course, the $9 billion number is misleading because revenue is not profit - but rather income before accounting for expenses. In its 2010 report, Sempra reports earnings of $739 million. For 2011, Sempra reports earnings of $1.4 billion and raised its dividend by 25%.
The Department of Defense (DOD) is exploring new sensor technology to remotely monitor the Arctic region in anticipation of more shipping activity in the area as polar ice caps continue to melt.DARPA's press release states:
Through the Assured Arctic Awareness (AAA) program, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking into environmentally-friendly ways to monitor the Arctic region both above and below the ice without the need for more expensive means of monitoring--such as aircraft, satellites, or manned ships and submarines--of the largely remote region, according to the agency.
The Arctic region is poised for greater regional significance as polar ice retreats in coming decades. Ship traffic likely will increase during summer months, and commercial activity focused on the sea floor is expected to grow. The Arctic is largely isolated, vast and environmentally extreme. Remote sensing may offer affordable advantages over traditional methods of monitoring the region—aircraft, satellites or manned ships and submarines—due to the great distances in the Arctic.Detail on how to apply at the DARPA link above.
“We’re looking for creative ideas for compelling component technologies and a vision for applying them to monitor the region—whether proposers have expertise in the Arctic or not,” said Andy Coon, DARPA program manager.
For example, those with experience in unattended ground or maritime sensors, low-temperature electronics, distributed remote sensing technologies, or autonomous operations could contribute to the development of novel technology solutions applicable to the Arctic. DARPA seeks input from these and other technical communities to develop components that address system attributes such as design, mobility and deployment, persistence, survivability, energy management, sensing, and long-haul communications back to the United States. Tests of component proposals will occur, for the most part, in climatic laboratories to assess how well they handle simulated Arctic conditions before taking them to the Arctic for field trial.
Probably not what DARPA wants - the two boy kayak observation team.
“We seek to increase the diversity of contributors, including environmental research organizations, academia, traditional defense contractors and others,” said John Kamp, DARPA deputy program manager.
The program does not seek warm latitude solutions to be applied to the Arctic, nor does it seek new platforms for access.
“The goal is to identify one or two compelling system concepts enabled by new technologies and insights gained from the effort,” Coon said. “Compelling system concepts are those that enhance future maritime security in a cost-effective and responsible manner.”
Marianna Landrum Wrote: And the Ryan budget takes from most of us and gives to the rich. Tax the very wealthy instead of taking away programs from others. You will have a society of the very rich and and [sic] undereducated and struggling group at the bottom. The last Republican administration started working towards that goal so now you want to finish it. A backwards looking approach.Well said, Mr. Cooper.
Paul Cooper Replied: It says a great deal about where you're coming from that you see a failure to take more from the rich as giving to them, and a failure to provide more to you as taking from you. Your sense of entitlement is grand indeed. (emphasis added)
The defense is expected to argue that the Army sergeant was not in a healthy mental state, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after four tours of duty and two injuries. "Everybody who has had three or four deployments to the Middle East is going to have some form of PTSD," Browne said.Really? Really? Even the VA estimates that only 10 to 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan vets may, in fact, suffer from PTSD.
|Kharg Island from space (2002)|
Managing director of Iranian Oil Terminals Company (IOTC) Seyyed Pirouz Mousavi said on Monday that in order to reduce the impact of the European Union sanctions on Iran’s oil sector, the country has re-commissioned a new storage facility at the Kharg Island oil terminal which can hold as much as one million barrels of crude.Dude, you've just designated a "target rich environment" to the rest of the world.
The official added that increasing oil storage capacity will improve oil production and export conditions.
He stated that overhauling the facility has been carried out by domestic contractors and manufacturers, adding that Iran owes 70 percent of the increase in its oil storage capacity during the current Iranian calendar year (ending March 20) to domestic manufacturers.
Mousavi had announced earlier that Iran is capable of storing crude oil in the Persian Gulf for a period of 10-12 days, adding that the figure should hit 30-40 days by building the new storage facilities.
International experts believe that increasing oil storage capacity will improve Iran's position in marketing and selling crude oil.
The country started building its first private oil terminal capable of holding 8 million barrels of oil in the Genaveh port city in January.
The Kharg oil terminal is currently handling about 98 percent of Iran's crude exports and the island has more than 40 storage facilities capable of holding a total amount of 22 million barrels of crude oil.
Iran has also started building four new storage facilities on Kharg Island with the overall capacity of 4 million barrels of crude oil.
The U.S. Navy is upgrading its defensive and offensive capabilities in the Persian Gulf to counter threats from Iran to seize the Strait of Hormuz and block the flow of oil, the chief of naval operations said Friday.
MHC Coastal Minehunter
Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert told reporters in Washington that the Navy will add four more mine-sweeping ships and four more CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters with mine-detection capability. The Navy is also sending more underwater unmanned mine-neutralization units to the region.
MH-53E Mine-sweeping helicopter
Greenert said he plans to assign more patrol craft to the gulf, possibly armed with Mark 38 Gatling guns. The same kind of guns might be placed on ships that provide protection for U.S. aircraft carriers or perhaps on the carriers themselves.
Cyclone-class Coastal Patrol ship
U.S. ships have excellent long-range defenses but could use weapons for closer combat, Greenert said.
"It’s like being in an alley with a rifle and maybe what you need is a sawed-off shotgun," he said.
One of the Big Dogs at Sea
The Iranians have boasted that they could "swarm" large U.S. ships with their smaller, fast-moving craft. They have also reportedly been laying mines along their coastline.My guess, which is exactly that, is that the mine-sweeping stuff is for cleaning up the mess after the "AirSea Battle Concept (ASBC) (modified)" gets a test run. There is almost no better geographic area to do a little joint air-sea work out.
You may remember him as the leader of the war game OPFOR that used "swarm tactics" to get the games of to a "bad start" for the Blue Team. That's part of a much bigger story. Tune in live by clicking >here. Or, you can't make the live show, go that site or iTunes and download the show for later listening.
After over a decade of disjointed conflict that is still yet to play out, what have we learned, what do we still need to learn, and what do we need to forget?
Has the global threat that brought about the attacks of 11 SEP 01 been reduced, have they grown, or have they morphed in to something different?
To meet the challenge ahead, are we preparing our forces best intellectually, structurally, and materially?
Do we have the command climate and culture to encourage innovative and bright leaders to shape our approach to the unexpected challenges that we will face?
Our guest for the full hour will be Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, USMC (Ret.). He served his nation with over 41 years of commissioned and enlisted service from the Dominican Republic crisis, to Vietnam, to DESERT STORM and more through retirement in 1997.
He continues to serve his nation in both the government and private sector with a depth of experience that yes, he's "seen a lot of movies before."
According to President Obama, the United States contains only 2 percent of the planet’s proven oil reserves, Of course, he’s right — to a point. In classic fashion, he’s using a technicality to skirt the facts and keep the myth of energy scarcity alive. The reality is that the U.S. has enough recoverable oil for the next 200 years, despite only having 2 percent of the world’s current proven oil reserves.Remember, some people predict a coming Golden Energy Era". And, remember, the strategic issue is not necessarily the use of oil, but rather the failure to develop infrastructure to insure we can be "energy independent" (within limits - Canada is our energy friend) - see here, where I wrote:
Proven oil reserves are not all of our oil resources—not even close. In fact, proved reserves represent a tiny portion of our total oil resources. Proven (or proved) oil reserves are reserves that have already been discovered, typically through actual exploration or drilling, and which can be recovered economically. That estimate does not include oil that we know about, yet are unable to access because of regulatory barriers. For example, the billions of barrels of oil in ANWR are not included in our proved oil reserves. So let’s look at the facts.
It is the importation of foreign oil that is a strategic issue, not their use. It's the long lines of commerce that bring oil to our shore that are vulnerable.
The U.S. has 22.3 billion barrels of proved reserves, a little less than 2% of the entire world's proved reserves, according to the Energy Information Administration. But as the EIA explains, proved reserves "are a small subset of recoverable resources," because they only count oil that companies are currently drilling for in existing fields. When you look at the whole picture, it turns out that there are vast supplies of oil in the U.S., according to various government reports. Among them: At least 86 billion barrels of oil in the Outer Continental Shelf yet to be discovered, according to the government's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. About 24 billion barrels in shale deposits in the lower 48 states, according to EIA. Up to 2 billion barrels of oil in shale deposits in Alaska's North Slope, says the U.S. Geological Survey. Up to 12 billion barrels in ANWR, according to the USGS. As much as 19 billion barrels in the Utah tar sands, according to the Bureau of Land Management. Then, there's the massive Green River Formation in Wyoming, which according to the USGS contains a stunning 1.4 trillion barrels of oil shale — a type of oil released from sedimentary rock after it's heated.
Shipping companies may have found a new tool to fight piracy: It turns out, pirates like to tweet.For how much longer until the pirate version of OPSEC is imposed? Or is the lack of other suitable Somali methods of communication mean that these channels are ripe for exploitation?
Not only that, Somali-based pirates blog and are on Facebook, security experts say. And it is through social media that shipping companies are increasing their understanding of how they operate.
"Somalia is a very sophisticated economy, it has one of the best mobile phone communication systems in the world," said Jessica Lincoln, director of intelligence at Rubicon Resolution, a risk consultancy.
Lincoln follows pirates' activities using what she describes as "normal" web tools. She gathers whatever individuals and organizations like al-Qaeda's Somali affiliate Al-Shabaab post online about attacks. ***
This book examines the evolution, function, problems and prospects of private security companies in the maritime sector.It's a slim volume and is not a free read (a couple of tanks of gas at today's prices). There is a Kindle edition available.
Foreword Rear Admiral (Ret.) Terence McKnight
Part I: The Historical and Contemporary Market in Maritime Private Security Services
1. Introduction: The Post-Cold War Growth of Maritime Private Security Claude Berube and Patrick Cullen
2. The United States and Maritime Private Security from the War of Independence to the 21st Century James Carafano
3. Surveying the Market in Maritime Private Security Services Patrick Cullen
4. Private Gunboats on the Horizon? Private Security and Contemporary Naval Presence Christopher Spearin
Part II: The Emergence of Privatized Anti-Piracy Escorts in the Commercial Sector5. Commercial Anti-Piracy Escorts in the Malacca Straits Area Caroline Liss
6. Private Security at Sea: A Customer’s Perspective Gordan van Hook
7. Anti-Piracy Escorts in the Gulf of Aden: Problems and Prospects Claude Berube
8. Legal Considerations for Private Naval Company Armed Anti-Piracy Escorts Mark Tempest
Part III: The Privatization of Coast Guard Services
9. Privatizing the Coast Guard in War-Torn Sierra Leone Patrick Cullen
10. Private Security, Maritime Protection and Surveillance in Somaliland Stig Hansen
11. Private Security Fighting Pirates and Illegal Fishing in Puntland Christopher Kinsey
12. Securing the Off-Shore Oil Industry in the Gulf of Guinea Roger Hawkes Part IV: Private Security Responses to Maritime Terrorism
13. Maritime Terrorism: Scope, Potential Threat of Contingencies and the Role of Private Security Compnaies Peter Chalk
14. Commercial Risk Consulting and Management in the Maritime Sector Elke Krahmann
15. Integrating Private Security into Port Security in a Post-9/11 Environment Bill DeWitt
16. Maritime Eco-Extremism Reconsidered: Understanding Fourth Generation Eco-Warriors in the Modern Media Age Brendon J. Mills and Howard R. Ernst
Conclusion: The Future of Private Security at Sea Claude Berube and Patrick Cullen
These teams serve as a potential game-changer in the effort to counter-piracy. This is because – and as anyone in the Navy or Marines can tell you – one of the most difficult combat maneuvers to undertake is to board a ship when coming under fire. While many expected these teams to be made up of undisciplined “cowboys” that would increase the violence at sea, from what we have gathered and observed the opposite has happened. We have not seen cases of pitched battles at sea between armed security teams and pirates attempting to board under fire. In fact, in most engagements between armed security teams and pirates, the situation ends as soon as pirates are aware these teams are on board. We have found these teams to be highly professional. In most cases, as pirates approach a ship the armed security teams will use flares or loudspeakers to warn the pirates. If the pirates keep coming, they will fire warning shots. That is usually when the interaction ends. Pirates break off the attack and turn their skiffs around and wait for another less protected target.
At the State Department, we have encouraged countries to permit commercial vessels to carry armed teams. However, we do note that this is a new area, in which some practices, procedures, and regulations are still being developed. We are working through the Contact Group and the International Maritime Organization or IMO on these issues. For instance, we have advised that armed security teams be placed under the full command of the captain of the ship. The captain then is in control of the situation and is the one to authorize the use of any force. Last September, we were encouraged to see language adopted by the IMO that revised the guidance to both flag States and ship operators and owners to establish the ship’s master as being in command of these teams.
There have been some logistical and technical issues that have arisen with armed security teams – particularly relating to weapons licensing and the transit of these teams through third countries. The United States regularly works with other governments to help resolve questions on weapons licensing to facilitate compliance with the laws of individual port States as related to firearms transfer. We engage through the Contact Group and the IMO to encourage all port and coastal States to adopt legislation that is conducive to smooth, facilitated movements of security team firearms and equipment. Currently, some States present challenges in this regard by requiring transfer to a third party while a vessel is moored in a port. Others impose fee schedules that directly charge against the presence of these weapons. In response, we have demarched port and coastal States and let them know that U.S. vessels may have firearms onboard and we request that these teams and their firearms be facilitated under applicable laws. We have also worked with the Coast Guard and Department of Transportation at the IMO and through the Contact Group to further encourage port and coastal States to develop regulations that facilitate the use of these teams aboard commercial vessels. We are working hand in glove with industry in all these endeavors to ensure these teams are both properly regulated and properly equipped.
|Arrow points to Ghana|
Ghana’s Navy has detained an oil tanker that was trying to offload oil stolen in Nigeria.
The Ghana Armed Forces on Saturday said that it had detained the MV Madina whilst it was attempting to discharge oil at the Saltpond Offshore Producing Company Limited.
Colonel M’Bawine Atintande, director of public relations at the Ghana Armed Forces, said that the ship was arrested on Thursday after a tipoff from counterparts in Nigeria.
Quincy Sintim Aboagye, CEO of Saltpond Offshore Producing Company, ensured that the MV Madina was prevented from leaving the facility until vessels from the Ghana Navy arrived, Pana Press reports.
The owners of the vessel said the MV Madina was supposed to transfer oil from a small field in Nigeria into a larger ship, the MV North Wind Grace, but the captain and crew instead decided to steal the cargo, the Ghana News Agency reports.