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Monday, November 27, 2006

South Africa takes notice of southerly trending sea pirates

Reported as Sea pirates drift south to threaten SA waters:
Ruthless sea pirates who plunder hundreds of ships each year off the coast of Africa are moving south, threatening South African waters, the Pretoria News reported on Monday.

The United Nations Security Council and international maritime safety organisations have urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to take drastic action against the gangs of heavily armed pirates.

According to their report, between January and November, 48 ships were attacked around Africa by gangs of pirates armed with an assortment of weapons -- including surface-to-surface missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, armed helicopters and heavy calibre machine-guns such as anti-aircraft guns.

The calls for precaution also follow South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils's warnings last year that sea piracy was creeping closer and closer to South Africa and that the country needs to "move swiftly" and establish good intelligence networks to stop pirate attacks.

The report also uncovered that some of the pirates operate phantom ships disguised as vessels in distress.

They are believed to use intelligence operatives stationed at Richards Bay, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town harbours to feed organised crime syndicates with information detailing sailing times, destinations, routes, cargoes and numbers of crew.
Oh, arrgh!

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