Good Company

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Piracy and Terrorism Stuff

Let's see if I can tie this all together.

First, Malaysian ship owners are none to happy about their insurance rates possibly going up, so they assert a "misperception" here
Malaysian Ship Owners Association (MASA) said there is a misperception among underwriters of a direct link between piracy and terrorism in the Straits of Malacca.

Its chairman, Nordin Mat Yusoff, said in a statement here Monday that so far there has been no terrorist attacks in the Malacca Straits, and no evidence of a continuing threat of an Al-Qaeda inspired attack.

The explanation came at a time when the busy and important straits, under the littoral states of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, was rated as a high-risk zone for piracy and terrorism.

In July, Lloyd's Joint War Committee, a London based advisory body for insurers designated the Malacca Straits as a high-risk area for war and terrorism on a par with Iraq for insurance purposes.

Meanwhile, in the same statement, the Federation of Asean Shipowners' Associations (FASA) welcomed the start of dialogue with the Joint War Committee marine hull underwriters at the offices of the International Chamber of Shipping on Aug 16, 2005, and hoped talks would continue.

Its president S.S. Teo said that while the war risk rating was unchanged, FASA remained optimistic that the Malacca Straits would be removed from the listing soon.

He said that the committee should not rely on a single report from one consultant and should review its decision to place Malacca Straits on the listed areas of Perceived Enhanced Risk (listed areas) in relation to war risks.
Reader Steve pointed out in a email that the "consultant" referred to by FASA is Aegis Defense Services and a principal of that entity is a somewhat controversial man named Tim Spicer (Lt Col, RA (ret). I don't know anything about the man, but there seem to be certain groups that don't like him much. You can judge a man by his enemies, they say, so take it for what it is worth... He has been hired by Lloyd's before. Mr. Spicer has addressed maritime security.

Then there's Nigeria and its admitted pirate problem as reported here. Nigeria seems to be developing a plan - of some sorts:
OVER the years, the menace of piracy and robbery of vessels on anchorage has been of concern to the federal government and had continued to evoke high level concern within the government quarters...
It is consequent upon this that the Federal Government is now contemplating complementing efforts of the Nigerian Navy with that of the Army in wagging[sic] war against sea pirates....

He noted that in addition to efforts of local security committees and those of the Presidential Implementation Committee on Security and Services (PICOMSS), NPA management has supported the federal government with $10 million to buy patrol boats to cover the waterways.

Sarumi said that the use of surveillance helicopter to monitor activities in the port areas has also been introduced into the entire security arrangement...

And, finally, the Indian Navy is getting into the anti-terrorism business as reported
In a clear break from conventional manoeuvres over the last five years, the Navy will focus on anti-terror exercises this time.

Three top-level exercises scheduled over the next three months - with the US, Russia and France - will have the Navy testing indigenously developed methods to destroy terrorist bases, rescue hostages, intercept transport of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and even liberate a country from terrorists.

“The nature of these exercises is gradually undergoing a transformation from conventional to unconventional, from known to unknown. Countries now recognise India as an imperative partner against terror on the high seas,” an officer said.

Next month, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, a destroyer, missile cruiser and Los Angeles-class attack submarine will arrive off the coast of Goa for exercises. The two navies will simulate engagements with “rogue vessels”, and work on procedures to deal with biological or chemical threats.

In October, the Russian Navy will arrive with a BDK-11 rapid landing vessel, a Marshal Shaposhnikov-class anti-submarine vessel, a submarine and a Burny-class destroyer for IndRo 2005, a series of exercises in the Bay of Bengal. The two navies will jointly liberate an imaginary third country from a terrorist takeover.

According to Anatoly Mazurkevich, chief, Main Department, International Military Cooperation, Russia, “The main goal is to practice organisation and interaction in preparing and conducting joint operations between anti-terrorist units of India and the Russian Federation. International terrorism can only be defeated by joint efforts.”

In November, a pair of the Navy's Delhi-class guided missile destroyers and support vessels will sail to the Gulf of Aden for exercises with the French Navy. Again, both navies will engage in missions aimed at debilitating renegade vessels and escorting a seized ship, apart from working on protocol issues to deal with such situations.

All tied in by terrorism and pirates who are, marginally terrorist (Nigeria's ethnic minority problem). Now, is it because that's where the money is right now? Or because the intelligence services are seeing a real threat out there?

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