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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Somali Pirates: Time for some new attacks?

As noted in this report, the winds in the Gulf of Aden are down, the pirates have released a whole bunch of ships and they probably will be on the prowl agsin, soon:
"What we've seen in the recent past, as many as 15 or 16 vessels held hostage or hijacked and under ransom negotiation, we're down to seven now, or the pirates are down to seven vessels held, so the indications are they've got plenty of space down there for some more," Cdr Northwood told the BBC.

"So if you look at that in terms of the numbers held against what they can do and achieve in terms of ransom negotiations, there's every expectation that you would expect them to go out there and try and bring in some more vessels."
The pirates, say naval officers, tend to station themselves out to sea overnight, often chewing the narcotic qat leaf, then between first light and mid-morning they close in and attack the first vulnerable looking merchant ship they spot.

Their favoured approach is to come up from behind on the port side, often choosing the point where the ship's freeboard - the distance between the deck and the waterline - is at its lowest.

Frequently, they are deterred by non-lethal methods like water cannons or even barbed wire but when they do manage to climb aboard they often fire their assault rifles, and even their rocket-propelled grenades, indiscriminately.
Good article from the BBC and worth reading in its entirety.

Wave height forecast of 1 to 2 meters in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia from here:

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