Good Company

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Russian look at piracy

An opinion piece found here:
The most realistic way of combating piracy is cooperation between militarily strong countries in protecting navigation in problem areas. A united squadron of ships set up on the basis of a broad coalition (NATO countries, Russia, and the Gulf states) could effectively counter piracy off Somalia, or in any other trouble spot.

Legal measures are also important. The UN Security Council's mandate for the invasion of Somalia's territorial waters, use of arms against the pirates, and allocation of the required forces and equipment (reconnaissance aviation, deck helicopters, radars, and Marines and Special Forces trained in boarding and releasing hostages) will eventually make piracy too dangerous an occupation.

It would be enough to set up a squadron of five to six warships and one light helicopter carrier as a flagship. Warships from different navies could rotate patrol duty with shifts lasting for several months. In the most dangerous areas, merchant vessels could be escorted by ships, helicopters, or armed motor-boats.

Importantly, patrols will be effective only if struggle against piracy overrides the inviolability of territorial waters. Otherwise, the pirates will always be able to escape punishment.

It goes without saying that piracy will not be eliminated even if an operation off Somalia's coast is successful. The oceans are huge and "gentlemen of fortune" will always find a place for their activities.

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