Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Monday, November 29, 2010

Somali Pirates: Pirates Take Container Ship 900 Miles Off Somalia

Reported by MSC(HOA) as Pirating of MV ALBEDO in the Somali Basin:
In the early hours of 26 November, the MV ALBEDO was pirated approximately 900 nautical miles East of Mogadishu (Somalia).

The MV ALBEDO is Malaysian flagged and owned, with a crew of 23 (Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Iranian). The vessel was carrying containers and was bound for Mombasa from Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Including the MV ALBEDO, pirates are currently holding 22 vessels with 521 hostages.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Somali Pirates: Updated Map of Attacks

From an industry friend:

Sort of spread across the Indian Ocean, isn't it? And this is just, roughly, the past month.

Click to enlarge.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
It is good once a year to stop and take inventory of the life you have lead and thank whatever Higher Power you acknowledge for the good, the bad (that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger) and for another year of life with friends, loved ones and memories.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Old U.S. Navy menu from Naval History and Heritage Command.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Somali pirates convicted of attacking US Navy ship

There be pirates - and they are headed to jail!
BBC report: Somali pirates convicted of attacking US Navy ship:
Five young Somali men face life in prison after being convicted of piracy in the April attack on a US Navy ship.

Prosecutors said the men attacked the USS Nicholas after mistaking it for a merchant ship and were out for as much as $40,000 (£24,800) in ransom money.

But the men's lawyers maintained the five only fired their weapons to attract attention and get help.

The verdict is the first in a piracy case in the US in nearly 200 years. The men face a mandatory life sentence.

The five men were convicted of piracy, attacking to plunder a maritime vessel, and assault with a dangerous weapon.

They were arrested in April, along with six others who were captured a few days later in waters near Djibouti after allegedly shooting at the USS Ashland, an amphibious vessel.

Lawyers for the men said they were fishermen who had been forced by pirates to attack the ship.
Now, you know this going to get appealed because another U.S. District Judge in Norfolk has ruled that without a "robbery" component, the crime is not piracy. See discussion here and the links therein.

More on this decision later.

UPDATE: More from the AP here:
John S. Davis, an assistant U.S. attorney, had argued that three of the men were in a skiff that opened fire on the Nicholas with assault rifles, then fled when sailors returned fire with machine guns.

Davis said all the men later confessed to the attack in a confession to an interpreter aboard the Nicholas. He said they expected to make anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 from the ransom.
Other countries have recently held piracy trials, but legal and maritime scholars say one of the last in the U.S. was in 1861 when 13 Southern privateers aboard the schooner Savannah were prosecuted in New York City. The jury deadlocked.

Somali Pirates: Warnings and Activities

First, the warnings from the NATO Shipping Center:
UPDATE: 24 November Warning:
November 24 2010
WARNING Somali Basin,
Latitude: 14°16N Longitude: 056°32E
Alert number 507/ 2010.
At 1509 UTC / 24 NOV 10 / a Pirate Action Group consisting of 2 Dhows armed with small arms and RPG was reported in position 14 16 N 056 32E 194/6 kts E.
November 24 2010
Latitude: 13°33N Longitude: 059°16E
Alert number 506 / 2010.
At 0350UTC 24 November 2010 a Pirate Action Group consisting of a mother ship and a number of skiffs was reported in position 13 33N 059 16E. It is assessed that she is conducting mother ship operations.

Updated 24 November

Weather conditions continue to be favourable for pirate operations throughout the Somali Basin and the Gulf of Oman. The Gulf of Aden has not seen many piracy incidents last week, but is still assessed to be an active area.

MV Polar
Reports of a mother ship have also indicated possible upcoming activity in the shipping lanes off the southeast coast of Oman.

Both whaler type and dhow/ FV mother ships are expected to be underway towards the deep Somali Basin as far as 65-70E (reported from 5N to 18N)

The central Somali Basin has several reports of pirate activity around 5N 56E and towards the Seychelles area.

The pirate activity is still high in the approach from Seychelles south towards Mombasa and Dar es Salam.

MV Hannibal II
The whalers are 10-12 m open boats with internal engine – capable of 6-8 knots. Mother ships are now believed to include various cargo- and fishing dhows, as well as pirated vessels (Prantalay 11/14).

All mariners transiting in the described areas are warned that pirates are active herein. Vigilant watches, early detection of vessels manoeuvring to close, early reporting and the adoption of the Best Management Practices are the keys for remaining safe in the Indian Ocean within 15°S and 78°E.
Tai Yuan 227 / Malaysia 618

Update 24 Nov. 10

MV Polar and MV Hannibal II are both likely being used by pirates as mother ships, the two ships have been reported in the Northern Somali basin or Arabian Sea, it is assessed that they are heading for the shipping lanes between Gulf of Aden and south of India. It is possible that one or both will continue to the north/south bound shipping lanes east of 65°E.

Pirated FV Tai Yuan 227, has been renamed by pirates to “MALAYSIA 618”, she has been reported in pos 13°33N 059°16E at 3050UTC 24 Nov. It is assessed she is used by pirates as a mother ship.
In addition to the NATO warning, a friend in the shipping business provides the following map of a month's worth of activity (not including action of Kenya and or off southern Somalia):

From the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Intelligence, a list though the 18th of November of incidents in the Red Sea/IO:
1. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Cargo vessel (LE CONG) fired upon 18 Nov 10 at 1250 UTC while underway in position 12:25N ñ 066:33E, approximately 704NM east of Socotra Island, Yemen. Individuals in two skiffs chased and fired upon the vessel. (IMB)
2. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Fishing vessels fired upon 17 Nov 10 at 0516Z while underway in position 06:34S ñ 050:01E, approximately 639NM east of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Pirates  operating out of two skiffs fired RPGs at the vessels. Armed security fired warning shots. No damage to ship and no casualties. (Mercury)
3. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: POL Tanker fired upon (SAMURAI) on 16 Nov 10 at 0645 local time while underway in position 05:09N ñ 066:42E, approximately 412NM west of Male, Maldives. Individuals in one skiff conducted the attack. A supporting mother ship was nearby. (IMB)
4. (U) KENYA: Bulk Cargo Carrier (AFRICAN EAGLE) fired upon on 16 Nov 10 at
0642 UTC while waiting for berthing instructions at position 04:35S ñ 039:57E, approximately 17NM east of Mombasa, Kenya. Individuals in one skiff conducted the attack. (IMB and Open Press)
5. (U) GULF OF ADEN: Chemical Tanker (VALERIE) fired upon on 15 Nov 10 at 0805 UTC while underway in position 14:03N ñ 049:08E, approximately 27NM south of Al Mukalla, Yemen. A blue skiff with approximately six people on board fired on the tanker. Security personnel on the tanker fired warning shots and the suspected pirates broke off the attack. (IMB)
6. (U) KENYA: Kenyan Naval Patrol Boat on 12 Nov 10 at 2300 local time illegal
boarded by Somali pirates near Kilifi, Kenya. Four pirates boarded the underway patrol boat. Kenyan navy officers shot dead three of the pirates, one pirate jumped into the water and likely died. (Open Press)
7. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Cargo vessel YUAN XIANG hijacked on 12 Nov 10 at 0701 UTC while underway in position 18:02N 066:03E, approximately 634NM east of Salalah, Oman.(IMB)
8. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: POL tanker fired upon on 11 Nov 10 at 0540 UTC while underway in position 17:12N ñ 065:33E, approximately 660NM east of Salalah, Oman. One skiff with 6 people on board fired on the vessel. (Mercury)
9. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Chemical tanker HANNIBAL II hijacked on 11 Nov 10 at 0433 UTC while underway in position 11:26N ñ 066:05E, approximately 680NM southeast of Socotra Island, Yemen. (IMB)
10. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Cargo vessel BBC ORINOCO illegally boarded on 11 Nov 10 at 0512 local time while underway in position 17:06N ñ 064:57E, approximately 625NM east of Salalah, Oman. Armed pirates operating from two skiffs fired on and boarded a bulk carrier underway. All crew retreated into the steering gear room and engine control room where they controlled the ship until pirates abandoned the ship. (IMB)
11. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Container ship fired upon 9 Nov 10 at 0834 UTC while underway in
position 0603N ñ 065:00E, approximately 525NM northwest of Male, Maldives. Vessel  reported two white-hulled skiffs approached at 20kts with three people on board in each skiff.  Mother vessel was viewed but was not with skiffs. Master reported weapons were fired on merchant vessel and they observed pirate tripwires. (UKMTO)
12. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Chemical tanker (FLOYEN) fired upon 9 Nov 10 at 0500 local time while underway in position 01:01N ñ 052:58E, approximately 350NM north of the Seychelles. Two white skiffs with nine people in each chased a tanker for two hours and fired upon the tanker. (IMB)
13. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Tanker fired upon 8 Nov 10 at 1345 UTC while underway in position 06:43S ñ 051:15E, approximately 750NM southeast of Mombasa, Kenya. One white-hulled, seven meter skiff with six people on board approached tanker from astern and fired RPG, hitting accommodation. Most of crew was in safe room, and four were on the bridge increasing speed and conducting evasive maneuvers. Pirates abandoned attack after 45 minutes. (UKMTO)
14. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Spanish warship (ESPS INFANTA CRISTINA) fired upon 6 Nov 10 at 1725 UTC while underway in position 01:48S ñ 042:31E, approximately 80NM south of Kismaayo, Somalia. The warship was attacked with AK-47 from pirates aboard a previously hijacked general cargo ship (IZUMI) Vessel was escorting World Food Program shipment to Mombasa. Attack was likely defensive in nature because warship got too close. (Mercury Chat
15. (U) TANZANIA: Tanker (TORM KANSAS) chased and fired upon 5 Nov 10 at 1457 UTC while underway in position 05:25S ñ 040:42E, approximately 50NM east of Pemba Island, Tanzania. Heavily armed pirates in a skiff chased and fired upon a product tanker underway. The tanker made evasive maneuvers, contacted the coalition forces, and escaped attempt. The skiff was deployed by pirates from a previously hijacked general cargo ship (IZUMI), which was being used as a mother ship. (IMB, UKTMO)
16. (U) GULF OF ADEN: Fishing vessel hijacked 2 Nov 10 at 1237 UTC while underway in position 13:31N ñ 048:19E, approximately 85NM southwest of Al Mukallah, Yemen. A fishing vessel was reported hijacked by pirates. (IMB)
17. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Merchant ship reported suspicious approach 2 Nov 10 at 1430 local time while underway in position 07:18N ñ 064:10E, approximately 1000NM east of Garacad, Somalia. Merchant vessel observed a mother vessel lowering two skiffs which then approached a tanker at 20kts. Five to six armed persons in each skiff were sighted when the skiffs reached about 500 meters. Security team onboard fired hand flares and warning shots, resulting in the
skiffs backing off. (IMB)
18. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Bulk carrier fired on 2 Nov 10 at 0300 UTC while underway in position 03:58S ñ 043:49E, approximately 285NM east of Mombasa, Kenya. Seven pirates armed with RPG and automatic guns in two skiffs chased and fired upon a bulk carrier underway with intent to hijack. Ship raised alarm. Armed security team onboard took preventive measures and fired rocket flares resulting in the pirates aborting the attempted boarding. No damages to
the ship or injuries to crew. (IMB)
19. (U) TANZANIA: Tanker illegally boarded 31 Oct 10 at 0632 UTC while underway in position 09:57S ñ 042:19E, approximately 300NM southeast of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Armed pirates boarded a chemical tanker. All crew retreated into the citadel where they could control the ship. Unable to take control of the vessel, the pirates left. At 1059 UTC, the master and the crew regained control of the ship. No damage to ship and no casualties. (IMB)
20. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Bulk carrier (GO TRADER) illegally boarded 30 Oct 10 at 0512 UTC while underway in position 15:06N ñ 055:58E, approximately 190NM southeast of Salalah, Oman. Armed pirates boarded a bulk carrier underway. All crew retreated into the citadel where they could control the ship, and pirates abandoned ship. (IMB, EU)
21. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Product tanker (POLAR) hijacked 30 Oct 10 at 0140 UTC while underway in position 12:12N ñ 064:53E, approximately 700NM east of Socotra Island. Armed pirates in two skiffs boarded and hijacked a product tanker. (IMB, TW)
22. (U) KENYA: Tanker fired upon 29 Oct 10 at 1245 UTC while underway in position 04:22S 039:58E, approximately 28NM southeast of Mombasa. Pirates armed with RPG and AK-47 in two skiffs fired upon a tanker with intent to board. Security team onboard took preventive measures, resulting in the pirates aborting attack and regrouping with their mother vessel. (IMB)
23. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Container ship (MSC AYALA) fired upon 28 Oct 10 at 2057 UTC while drifting in position 04:10S ñ 039:56E, approximately 20NM east of Mombasa, Kenya. One skiff with approximately 10 men fired upon a container ship. Crew evaded attack and reported it to authorities, but there was no initial response. (IMB, Open Press)
24. (U) GULF OF ADEN: Tanker (HELLESPONT PROTECTOR) fired upon 28 Oct 10 at 0539 UTC while underway in position 13:08N ñ 049:14E, approximately 95NM south of Al Mukallah, Yemen. Pirates in two skiffs chased a tanker in a convoy and opened fire on it. Warship and other military assets in the vicinity assisted tanker. (IMB)
25. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Tanker (STARLIGHT VENTURE) chased and fired upon 27 Oct 10 at 1930 UTC while underway in position 13:18N ñ 068:56E, approximately 350NM west of Mangalore, India. Two skiffs with an unknown number of people onboard approached tanker from starboard quarter The robbers fired at the vessel, which resulted in 50 bullet holes found on the accommodation doors and broken foremast light fixtures. The ship took evasive action and
increased speed to 16 knots. Pirates aborted attack. An unlit suspected mother vessel was detected on the radar at a distance of 14NM. (IMB, ReCAAP)
26. (U) TANZANIA: Liquified Petroleum Gas Carrier (LPGC) (MAIDO) illegally boarded 26 Oct 10 at 1805 local time while underway in position 08:20.2S ñ 040:42.4E, approximately 175NM southeast of Dar es Salaam. Five pirates heavily armed with automatic weapons and RPG in a skiff chased and fired upon an LPGC underway. The crew contacted the authorities and went into the citadel. Pirates boarded the tanker but could not sail it. Before leaving the vessel, the pirates caused some damage. Later, the crew took command of the tanker and sailed toward a safe port. There were no injuries to the crew. (IMB, Open Press)
27. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: General cargo ship (BELUGA FORTUNE) reported an illegal boarding 24 Oct 10 at 0524 UTC while underway in position 03:29N ñ 059:35E, approximately 850NM east of Mogadishu, Somalia. Pirates armed with automatic weapons and RPG attacked a general cargo ship and boarded it. The crew members entered into the citadel and locked it from inside. They contacted the authorities for assistance. When pirates could not sail the ship, they
damaged the ship and abandoned it. The next day, the master informed a British warship HMS MONTROSE that all crew were safe in the citadel, and MONTROSE verified that all pirates had left. (IMB, LL)
28. (U) KENYA: Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) tanker (YORK) hijacked 23 Oct 10 at 1235 UTC while underway in position 04:14S ñ 041:19E, approximately 98NM east of Mombasa, Kenya. Armed pirates hijacked an LPG tanker underway. Vessel transited to anchorage outside Harardhere, Somalia. (IMB, Reuters)
29. (U) GULF OF ADEN: General cargo ship (MERLIN ARROW) fired upon 23 Oct 10 at 0252 UTC while underway in position 13:09.1N ñ 049:12.6E, approximately 90 NM south of Al Mukallah, Yemen. Five pirates armed with AK-47s in a skiff chased and fired upon a general cargo ship underway. Master raised alarm and increased speed, and crew mustered in safe room. Onboard security personnel fired rocket flares at the skiff and the pirates aborted the attempted boarding. No injuries to crew or damages to ship. (IMB)
30. (U) GULF OF ADEN: Container ship fired upon and chased 22 Oct 10 at 2300 UTC while underway in position 13:08N ñ 048:44E, approximately 115NM southwest of Al Mukallah, Yemen. Five pirates armed with guns in a high speed skiff chased and fired upon a container ship underway. Master took evasive maneuvers, contacted warship and crew activated fire hoses. After 10 minutes of chasing, the pirates aborted the attack. There were no injuries to the crew. (IMB)
31. (U) KENYA: Product tanker (ENDEAVOR I) reported attempted boarding 21 Oct 10 at 1600 UTC while underway in position 04:20S ñ 040:25E, approximately 42NM east of Mombasa, Kenya. Four pirates in a skiff chased and came alongside a product tanker underway. Alert duty officer heard the sound of the boat engine and upon investigation noticed the pirates attempting to board the vessel. Alarm sounded and speed increased. The skiff aborted the attack
and attempted once again after 20 minutes. A fishing vessel suspected to be the mother ship was noticed around 6NM away. (IMB)
32. (U) TANZANIA: Container ship fired upon 21 Oct 10 at 0825 local time while underway in position 09:45S ñ 039:56.9E, approximately 10NM east of Lindi. Eleven armed men in two skiffs chased and opened fire on a container ship underway. Two skiffs, one with five people onboard and another with six people onboard, approached the ship, which was transiting at 19kts. Pirates fired AK-47s and four RPG, three of which hit the ship. The master enforced all counter-piracy measures and contacted the Dar es Salaam port authorities for assistance. The
skiff aborted attempt after 31 minutes. There was damage to two cabins on board but no injuries to the crew. (IMB)
33. (U) TANZANIA: Container ship fired upon 21 Oct 10 at 0825 local time while underway in position 09:45S ñ 039:56.9E, approximately 10NM east of Lindi. Two skiffs, one with five people onboard and another with six people onboard, approached the ship, which was transiting at 19kts. Pirates fired AK-47s and four RPG, three of which hit the ship. The incident lasted 31 minutes. There was damage to two cabins on board but no injuries to the crew. (IMB)
34. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Product tanker (DAPHNE) fired upon 19 Oct 10 at 1830 UTC while underway in position 02:02.0N ñ 050:13.7E, approximately 290NM east of Mogadishu, Somalia. Six pirates armed with guns in a skiff chased a product tanker underway. Master raised alarm, increased speed, and conducted evasive maneuvers. At a distance of 100 meters, the pirates began firing at the tanker. Master continued with the evasive maneuvers and crew started firing with pyrotechnics and hand-held rocket flares. The pirates aborted the attempted
attack and moved away. No injuries to crew or damage to tanker. (IMB)

Which leaves this picture of attacks in the area so far in 2010:

(click on images to enlarge them)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

U.S. Government Confirms that Al Qaeda Linked Group Attacked Tanker in July

 A group linked to al Qaeda has been determined to have been responsible for that tanker attack that took place near the Strait of Hormuz back in July, Reuters reports, based on a U.S. Maritme Administration advisory issued November 19. Earlier posts on this attack here, here, here, here and here and here.

The key portion of the MARAD advisory:
ADVISORY # 2010 -10
More information on AAB at this site

Friday, November 19, 2010

China: Shipyard shake out and consolidation

Jiangnan Shipyard Shanghai
Reported as Chinese shipbuilders to run aground in 2011:
Fueled by vigorous government support and cheap labour, the number of shipyards has grown exponentially in the past decade in China, reflecting its role as the world's top exporter and one of the biggest buyers of foreign oil, iron ore and grains.

But many small shipyards face a bleak year in 2011 as growing numbers of clients cancel orders to avoid floating unchartered vessels, and Beijing tightens credit in its fight to rein in inflation.

'There are too many shipyards. For the next couple of years, a number of them won't be able to survive on their own,' Robert Lorenz-Meyer, president of BIMCO, the world's largest shipowners' grouping, told Reuters. 'There will be consolidation, but hopefully some yards will refocus on scrapping,' he added.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Somali Pirates: Kenya Set Up Anti-Pirate Security Zone

Reported here:
Maritime authorities have created a security corridor for ships entering the Port of Mombasa to counter piracy attacks on Kenya’s territorial waters.

Vessels will be required to wait at the four identified co-ordinates, which according to the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) is a corridor of 10 by 20 nautical miles from the Port of Mombasa.

“The area is a security zone within which patrols by the Kenyan Navy have been enhanced to provide security for vessels waiting berthing at the port,” KMA director Ms Nancy Karigithu said.

Fishing boats, skiffs and leisure boats will be required to keep off the corridor, which will help identify any pirate skiff that approaches the corridor.
While not an ideal solution, at least it suggests that Kenya is going proactive in its defenses against Somali pirates who are increasingly intruding into Kenyan waters.

West African Piracy: Death in the Gulf of Guinea

Arrow points to vicinity of attack
Five killed in Gulf of Guinea attack :
A maritime security alert has been issued after five people were killed in a speedboat attack near an oil rig in the Gulf of Guinea.

Suspected pirates attacked a craft belonging to Cameroonian security forces killing the pilot, a mechanic and three soldiers from the Rapid Intervention Battalion. Cameroon deployed the Rapid Intervention Battalion in April to ensure security in the Bakassi peninsula after a series of attacks.

Pirate activity is spreading outwards from the Niger Delta, with the Bakassi peninsula being an area of particular concern.

Attacks in the Gulf of Guinea are often more violent than other piracy hotspots around the world, including off the coast of Somalia so vessel operators are advised to exercise caution.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Planning for that Zombie Attack: Littoral and "Brown Water" Defenses

Shaun of the Dead zombies
It says something about our modern culture that tales of the dead rising to feast on the flesh of the living remain popular.

Though dating back (Wikipedia says) to African Voodoo cults (and, I suspect, but am too lazy to research, to almost all cultures at some point), for many of us of a certain age, Night of the Living Dead was our introduction to the modern "zombie" world. 
Since then, there are many variations on the theme that have followed, up to and including the "graphic novel" (formerly known as a "comic book") inspired The Walking Dead now a hit on AMC.

I kinda thought Shaun of the Dead was going to blow the top off these things, but .... then came "zombie yoga."

Now many of us have sacrificed hundreds, if not thousands, of electrons to discussing defenses against zombies (see here and here).

Well, naturally, from time to time it is necessary to revisit these defenses against the "Zombie Threat." Most of these take a land-based approach to dealing with the problem.

For example, Chuck Z has some thoughts at here:
Zombie Buster?*
Once the main pandemonium has passed, it's time to consider moving elsewhere. You're going to need a vehicle. Forget about popping by the local Ferrari dealership. Forget about building the apocalypse vehicle, surrounded by flame-throwers, flailing chains, and chainsaws. You do need a SOLID vehicle, one with large fuel tanks, and as few (and hopefully armored) windows as possible. You don't need an RV. You need a panel van, or something with a large enough enclosed space to sleep comfortably and haul supplies. Find a Cargo Van, Short School Bus (lots of windows, but higher up), UPS truck, or even better, an armored van.
I believe that this land-based approach is not as sound as a littoral or brown water zombie defense approach, which maximizes mobility, security and comfort.

Now, in the classic land-based zombie defense posture, as repeated by Chuck, you seek a remote house and board yourself into it, while awaiting the inevitable zombie horde pounding on the windows and doors while you expend your ammo, food and foul water. As Chuck says:
Zombie Combat Building Entry Technique
Speaking of getting away, you are going to need to get away from the city, and preferably away from the suburbs. Too many zombies. Of course, everyone else will be thinking about that, and highways will be ridiculously crowded with the living and the undead. Best to stay away until the situation stabilizes. So you'll need a local place to stay. The fewer windows, the better. Roof access is a plus. Get water catching buckets/tarps/etc up early. Board up the 1st floor windows from both sides, and bar the doors. Haul in the pets (they are your loving family members, as well as an emergency food source.) Blackout curtains (or foil) on all the windows for night time. Keep the family in one room for sleeping, and bar that door too.
Oh, my! This is totally wrong-headed.

How much better to head for the local lake, river or ocean marina and "adopt" a boat on which you load, food, water, ammo, weapons and . . . fishing gear. While the zombies gather on the shore groaning at you, you proceed to open water and drop anchor (Note: water should be at least 20 feet deep - so zombies can't "piggy back" their way on board). While you wait out the zombies, you fish, drink beer and have the comforts of home. Practice "repelling boarders." Should the zombies show or develop nautical skills, weigh anchor and move to another, less infested area.

I do have a few suggestions. First, get a real boat that you can live on for several weeks or months.  Like these:

The helicopter is a nice touch if you can fly it

Low freeboard might make it easy for zombie boardings but this boat has good observation points

Fuel is less of an issue with a sail boat

Wouldn't you prefer this to some rancid cabin in the woods?
Second, make sure that you bring a water purification system with you or that the boat you liberate for littoral use has a "reverse osmosis" system for converting sea water to fresh water. With water, fishing gear and some common sense, you ought to be good to go.

Third, while I am unclear on the amphibious capabilities of zombies, I suggest getting a good fish finder with "zombie location" capability  - just in case.

Underwater zombies detected by fish finder**

UPDATE: Then there are those anti-zombie riverine forces on patrol:

*Photo by Raphael Marchese, HHC 3rd/47th Infantry. vehicle id'd as being a creation of 9th Infantry.
 **Zombie art

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Somali Pirates: Common Sense Needed

Once again, the NATO Shipping Center has posted a revised piracy warning here, containing the identity and locations of probable "mother ships" suspected of being used for Somali pirate operations:
Updated 16 November.

Weather conditions continue to be favourable for pirate operations throughout the Somali Basin and the Gulf of Oman. Activity over the past week has been focused in two main areas, one in the main north south shipping lanes at 65E between 11-16N, the other to the SW of Seychelles.

It is assessed that at least one pirated dhow is acting as a mother vessel in each area. In addition there is assessed to be at least one whaler-based PAG (whaler is 10-12 m open boat with internal engine – capable of 6-8 knots) operating to the north of the Seychelles IVO the equator.

Golden Wave
Pirates continue to make use of already pirated vessels for use as mother ships. The only pirated vessel currently underway and assessed as a threat to shipping is FV GOLDEN WAVE, (image insert) last located at 12.11.2010: 0355 UTC in position 04°01S - 041°12E: This vessel is believed to be heading further to the south. ALL VESSELS ARE ADVISED TO BE CAUTIOUS. Vigilant watches, early detection of vessels manoeuvring to close, early reporting and the adoption of the Best Management Practices are the keys for remaining safe.

Updated 16 Nov. 10

The pirated vessel MV ZULFECAR remains underway and will probably be used as a mother ship for the launching of small skiffs (5m), this vessel has previously been used by pirates as a mother ship. It is likely that she will operate within an triangular area between the Kenyan / Tanzanian coast and north point of Madagascar. All small boats in the area should be perceived as suspicious.

All mariners transiting the area are warned that pirates operate the area, full BMP’s* are recommended in the Indian Ocean within 15°S and 78°E.
OK, why would it not be easy to send a warship or an armed remotely piloted aircraft to "shadow/escort" the suspected mother ships and break up their pirate activities?

You know, start the trail when a "suspect" vessel leaves a known Somali pirate port.

Am I missing something really complex here?

It's not like there aren't 25+ warships bobbing around out there.

Get a little proactive.

*BMP=Best Management Practices

I Want to Know the Rest of the Story: Nigeria reports seized Iranian arms shipment to UN

Things that make you go "Hmmm."

BBC News reports Nigeria reports seized Iranian arms shipment to UN:
Nigeria has reported its seizure of a shipment of arms from Iran to the United Nations Security Council.

The Nigerian authorities discovered the weapons, including rocket launchers and grenades, last month in containers labelled as building materials.
Iran said the weapons were the subject of a "misunderstanding", which had been cleared up.
Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who visited Nigeria last week, said: "A private company which had sold conventional defence weapons to another country in West Africa had transferred the shipment via Nigeria which raised some doubts with relevant officials."
The France-based shipping company CMA CGM which transported the shipment said it was hidden in containers labelled as building materials and attempts were made to send it to Gambia before the Nigerian police seized it.

Iran is under UN sanctions because of its nuclear programme and is banned Iran from supplying, selling or transferring arms. Tehran denies accusations that its programme is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.
Yeah, I always ship munitions hidden in containers labeled as "building supplies."

Reports that the stuff was possibly bound for Gaza here:
Nigeria's secret service said on Tuesday it had intercepted 13 containers of weapons from Iran in what Israeli defense sources believe may be part of a new smuggling route from Iran to Hamas in Gaza.

Rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives camouflaged as building material were seized in the Nigerian port of Lagos after being unloaded from an Iranian ship.

Nigerian media reports said the ship, which came from Iran, docked in Lagos' port for a few hours only, unloaded 13 containers and sailed on.

The bill of lading said the shipment consisted of building materials, Nigerian State Security Service spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar said.

"On opening the first container, the service operatives discovered rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives," Ogar said, adding the weapons were concealed among crates of floor tiles.
According to the Nigerian media, the clearing agent in charge of unloading the containers from the ship offered to bribe the Nigerian customs officers to transfer the containers to an off-dock terminal, where they could be screened outside the port. The customs officials alerted the security services, who ordered the containers opened.
Some interesting thoughts here, which notes that the munitions could just as easily be intended tor African Iranian clients:
There is every cause for concern therefore when arms and ammunitions such as the Apapa cargo find their way into our shores. That is why, every effort must be made to track the importers and identify them for the benefit of the concerned public and peace of the country. The government must resist pressure to enter into a conspiracy to internationalise this episode without first asking for and obtaining credible evidence before embarking on such a position.

There are claims made by Israeli officials that the arms came from the Jewish nation's arch foe Iran, and that they were destined for its implacable enemy Hamas in Gaza. So far, we have not seen evidence to corroborate the claims, and Nigerian officials have made no comment regarding them. Questions as to why such arms would take the tortuous route through Nigeria, if indeed Israel's claims are worth looking into, and why it took three months to bring the facts to the public's attention, should be answered by the ongoing investigation. If on the other hand it is true as being alleged that prominent Nigerians are behind the imports, the government has the bounden duty to expose them. It is only by doing so that it would have a deterrent effect, build a safer environment for the citizens and put a halt to the disturbing trend of easy access to heavy weaponry among dissident groups and militants in the country.

The War with Iran continues.

Photo from AFP.

Monday, November 15, 2010


William McGurn: The Newest Medal of Honor:
On that ridge in Afghanistan, Salvatore Giunta could not save his sergeant. But he did deprive the enemy of its victory—and death of some of its sting. In that same "60 Minutes" segment, a fellow soldier (who earned a Silver Star in the same firefight) put it this way. "The last thing Brennan ever saw was us," says Sgt. Erick Gallardo. "You know, he saw us fighting for him. . . . We fought for him and he's home with his family now because of that." It's a soldier's gift. Because of Sgt. Giunta, the family of Josh Brennan know that when their loved one breathed his last, he did so knowing he was among friends willing to put their own lives at risk for him.
It was not why he was there, but it is the reason he is a hero.

From a review of Sebastian Junger's book War:
An eight-man squad caught in a Taliban ambush suffers 100 percent casualties. Their sergeant is mortally wounded. A team leader named Sal Giunta takes over and saves the unit from annihilation. The action appears chaotic but possesses an underlying choreography that requires each man to make "decisions based not on what's best for him, but on what's best for the group," Junger writes. "If everyone does that, most of the group survives. If no one does, most of the group dies. That, in essence, is combat."

He points out that while all animals defend their young and some their mates, only human beings are willing to die for a cause. And for these paratroopers, as for most warriors, their most cherished cause, maybe their only one, is each other. It is understood that each soldier will give his life for his comrades, if necessary.
It might not be like that in your work place. Sometimes it takes the worst to bring out our best.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Somali Pirates Free Yacht Couple After Over A Year in Captivity

It was a money deal and not a humanitarian gesture, as reported by the NYTimes here:
The British couple who had been kidnapped by Somali pirates and held in captivity in a remote, swelteringly hot patch of central Somalia for more than a year were finally released, Somali officials said Sunday.

The couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, were hijacked at sea last October while sailing in a small yacht in the Indian Ocean in a trip they described to friends as “the trip of a lifetime.”

British media reports indicated that a ransom of several hundred thousand dollars had been paid, and low-resolution video footage posted on Sky News on Sunday showed the couple arriving at the heavily-guarded compound of a Somali-American official who was instrumental in getting the couple freed.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Somali Pirates Hijack Chinese Ship

The Associated Press: China: Pirates hijack ship with 29 in Arabian Sea:
Pirates hijacked a cargo ship with 29 Chinese sailors aboard in the Arabian Sea and told the shipping company they were taking it toward Somalia, Chinese officials and state media said Saturday.

The attack came just two days after another 17 Chinese sailors returned home after being held by Somali pirates for four months. It also highlights the spread of piracy to areas outside the Gulf of Aden, a hijacking hot spot now patrolled by international forces.

An official with the China Marine Rescue Center, surnamed Yang, said the Panama-flagged ship Yuan Xiang was attacked Friday night. The Ningbo Hongyuan Ship Management Company reported the pirate attack to the rescue center just before midnight and said the pirates were taking the ship toward Somalia, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
Xinhua said the attack occurred in an area outside the region where China's navy is part of a multination force working together to patrol the Gulf of Aden — one of the world's busiest shipping lanes — and other waters off Somalia where pirates operate.

Photo from Shipspotting.com by CHN and used iaw that site's terms.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Somali Pirates Take Ship Off India

MSC(HOA) reports MV HANNIBAL II pirated in the Somali Basin:
Early this morning, the MV HANNIBAL II, a Panamanian-flagged vessel, was pirated whilst on route from Malaysia to Suez.

The 24,105 tonne chemical tanker was carrying vegetable oils from Pasir Gudang to Suez at the time. The master of the vessel reported that he had been attacked and boarded by pirates in an area some 860 nautical miles East of The Horn of Africa which is considerably closer to India than it is to Somalia.

The MV HANNIBAL II has a total of 31 crew on board. This number consists of 23 Tunisians, 4 Filipinos, 1 Croatian, 1 Georgian, 1 Russian and 1 Moroccan.

To All Who Have Served -

Thank You!

Laptops for Wounded Servicemen and Women

Over there on the right is one of those thermometers that scores donations made to Project VALOUR-IT which has a mission:
Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss, helps provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptop computers and other technology to support Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries. Technology supplied includes:
  •  Voice-controlled Laptops - Operated by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, they allow the wounded to maintain connections with the rest of the world during recovery.
  • Wii Video Game Systems - Whole-body game systems increase motivation and speed recovery when used under the guidance of physical therapists in therapy sessions (donated only to medical facilities).
  • Personal GPS - Handheld GPS devices build self-confidence and independence by compensating for short-term memory loss and organizational challenges related to severe TBI and severe PTSD.
 learn more
 I know these are some tough times, but it's even tougher if you've wounded and are trying to find a way to enjoy that which you used to take for granted. Please make a donation to this cause.

If you choose to support the "Navy Team," great, but that's a friendly competition - the key thing is to support your troops who have been out there laying it all on the line in your name.

Thank you!

learn more

Sticky - new posts below

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Somali Pirates: UN Report Says Somali Pirates Growing Menace

Entire report here:
The menace of piracy off the coast of Somalia was outpacing international efforts to stem it, B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Security Council today, emphasizing: "Warships alone will not solve the problem."

Briefing the Council on the situation in Somalia, Mr. Pascoe said: "We need to continue to fight this battle in the broadest manner, focusing simultaneously on deterrence, security and the rule of law, as well as providing economic alternatives for Somali youth. We must also make piracy and robbery off the coast of Somalia costly by addressing impunity and building the capacity of the Transitional Federal Government to expand its authority and deal with law and order."

Presenting the Secretary-General's report on the situation in Somalia (document S/2010/556), he described the numbers as "appalling", citing International Maritime Organization (IMO) reports that more than 438 seafarers and passengers as well as 20 ships were held by pirates as of 4 November, an increase of almost 100 kidnapping victims in less than a month. Pirates were also taking greater risks and seeking higher ransoms, he said, recalling that just a few days ago, pirates had "brazenly" attacked a European Union warship escorting supplies for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The assault had been mounted from a large freighter, itself seized about a month ago, he said, pointing out that such actions continued to have serious effects on regional economies and those of the wider world.

He said the problems would be worse if not for the "very considerable" international anti-piracy efforts. Member States had put in place a strong naval presence with an unprecedented level of coordination among naval forces in the area. International naval coalitions off the Somali coast had disrupted more pirate operations and protected more vessels than ever before, amid increasing implementation of self-protection recommendations developed by the shipping industry and the IMO, he said. "But much more effort is required to tackle the root causes of piracy. Fighting piracy demands simultaneous action on three fronts: deterrence; security and the rule of law; and development."
Video is from IMB maps and assembled here.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Meanwhile - Piracy in the Eastern Indian Ocean and South China Sea Area

Some indication of the more traditional piracy (sea robbers taking things from ships and running away) from ReCAAP. NOTE, however, the first incident about 350 miles off India, where Somali pirates are pushing their envelope, again:

ReCAAP Piracy Summary 2010 through September
24 Oct 10:

Low-grade sea robbery will probably never go away. Somali piracy may be an aberration in the normal course of things, but it will endure until Somalia itself is stabilized.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Somali Pirates: Using big "mother ship" to attack Spanish warship escorting food vessel

SPS Infanta Cristina
(Hat tip to D.E. Reddick) As the headline in the telegraph.co.uk website reads: "Pirates open fire on Spanish warship escorting food aid":
Pirates on-board a Japanese cargo ship they had hijacked in October opened fire with small arms against the Spanish frigate as it accompanied an aid ship destined for Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.

The Infanta Christina fired back after speeding up into a protective position between the pirates and the aid ship. The pirates then fled the attack, early on Sunday morning.

MV Izumi hijacked 10 October
"As the attack was carried out by a pirated merchant vessel with hostages on-board, the Infanta Christina had to defend herself and her escort with only minimal force in order not to endanger the lives of the hostages," the EU force said in a statement.

The Spanish warship was alongside the MV Petra 1, contracted by the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia to deliver food to Mogadishu.
Or, as the EU MSC(HOA) site reports:
During the night of November 6, the EU NAVFOR warship SPS INFANTA CRISTINA was attacked off the East coast of Somalia by a vessel identified as the MV IZUMI, a ship that had itself been pirated on 10 October.

MV Petra 1 during a previous escorted food delivery mission
The EU NAVFOR warship had been escorting the MV PETRA 1, which had been chartered by the African Union Military Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), at the time. This is the first ever attack on an EU warship conducting an AMISOM escort.

During the incident, the Spanish warship increased speed and maneouvred immediately in order to place herself between MV IZUMI and her escort. The attack was disrupted and the pirates fled the scene. Thanks to the quick reactions and efficiency of the Spanish crew, the attack was quickly foiled without injury or damage.

As the attack was carried out by a pirated merchant vessel with hostages onboard, the SPS INFANTA CRISTINA had to defend herself and her escort with only minimal force in order not to endanger the lives of the hostages. After the attack, the warship and her escort continued toward Mombasa, Kenya, without further incident.
Well, this is sort of the worst case situation that we've all been waiting for as the Somali pirates begin using captured merchant sailors as "human shields" as the pirates attack other vessels.

I think this is a dangerous turn of events, and I don't think it will end well.

UPDATE: Was this a terrorist-inspired attack on a warship? A Spanish newspaper reports it as a likely "mistaken identity" shoot out here caused by the dark and the "fog of piracy."
The pirates opened fire first against the Petra I. The Infanta Cristina (pictured) immediately accelerated and maneuvered to stand in front and protect the craft and then was also attacked by Kaslahnikov waving pirates, who, probably because it was the middle of the night, did not realise at first they were attaching a military ship of the European Anti-Piracy Operation. The Spanish soldiers responded first with warning shots, and then were forced to open fire with machine guns on the ship that was attacking them, according to sources with the Ministry of Defence.

The crew of the Infanta Cristina realised that the ship they were attacking was a hijacked merchant ship. Afraid that there were hostages on board, they ceased fire and broadcast to the pirates that they were firing on a European warship. The pirates then fled and the Infanta Cristina decided not to pursue them in order not to endanger the lives of the two dozen hostages aboard.

Report of MV Izumi hijacking here. And a reminder of the warning that the Izumi could be headed on a piracy mission here.

Historian H.W. Brands at the Pritzker Military Library

While I found the entire discussion interesting, if you want to hear a great summary of why American economic dominance in manufacturing is not what it once was, go to 66:20 at the video of historian H.W. Brands at the Pritzker Military Library on November 4, 2010 where he spoke on his new book, American Colossus.

For those of you who lack the patience, here's an excerpt:

No special virtue? An anomaly? What happens in a world of trading party equals?

I think we're beginning to find out.

Of course, it's Dr. Brand's view of history . . .

Somali "Pirates?" - Definition issue in new U.S. pirate trials

As set out in Federal courts in Norfolk wrestle over definition of piracy from The Virginia Pilot:
For the first time since the 19th century, piracy suspects will go on trial in a federal court in a case that legal experts see as precedent-setting.

Already there are conflicting rulings in the cases against two groups of Somali nationals charged with attacking Navy ships off the Horn of Africa earlier this year.
U.S. District Judge Mark S. Davis last month upheld piracy and related charges in a 14-count indictment against the five Somalis charged in the April 1 attack on the Nicholas, a Norfolk-based frigate.

Davis' conclusion was opposite the one reached by Judge Raymond A. Jackson, sitting two floors below Davis in the same courthouse, in August in a case involving the April 10 attack on the Ashland, based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek.

Jackson determined that he must interpret the piracy statute as it was meant at the time it was enacted, which was 1819. He found, citing an 1820 Supreme Court case, that piracy is defined only as robbery at sea. Since there was no robbery of the Ashland, he threw out the piracy charge. The government appealed and the case was halted.
Dueling judicial opinions, disagreeing law professors and a bunch of thugs getting ready for trial.

What fun.

You can find the Judge Davis decision in U.S. v. Hasan here. UPDATE:My upload of a less commerical version: Hasan Piracy Op 178!                                                            

And the Judge Jackson decision in U.S. v. Said can be downloaded here.

Lots of good discussion over at Opinio Juris and at the links therein.

UPDATE: And an earlier post on the possible Said case appeal here.