Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pirates, They Be Everywhere, Harrrr!!

One could have mistakenly thought that the recent crack-down on these pirates by U.K and U.S. military forces would scare them off.

Not so.

Drudge reports a whole new rash of pirate attacks...

- 80 ships targeted this year

- 12 of those are still being held!

From Breitbart:

The top US military officer said Monday he was "stunned" by the reach of the Somali pirates who seized a Saudi supertanker off the east coast of Africa, calling piracy a growing problem that needs to be addressed.

But Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there were limits to what the world's navies could do once a ship has been captured because national governments often preferred to pay pirates ransom.

Hmm, more piracy after craven national governments hand over money to them. Heads up, you liberals who prefer to not understand economics and human behavior - when you provide a strong financial incentive for something, you usually get more of it. Just a lesson as we watch the coming administration pass out goodies to its supporters and punish investment and business creation.

Here's a close-up of a map of the Horn of Africa (on its east coast)...

And here is a snapshot of a live piracy map. No kidding. From these guys:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One wonders whether any navy has considered bringing back some old concepts to fight the increased piracy, particularly around the african coast:

[1] Convoying. This is a tried and true method for blunting the power of an enemy targeting one's merchant shipping.

[2] Q-ships. Convert some merchantment to armed vessels with hidden weaponry, e.g. gatling guns or anti-tank missiles, to destroy the lightly armed pirate speedboats.

Convoying has a long history, dating back at least to the 18th century, with almost universal success. Basically you make the pirates come to the navy by gathering all the merchantmen into groups which are escorted by naval vessels, so the only way to get to the merchantmen is through the escorts. Particularly with the current disparity in firepower between a lightly armed speedboat and a modern naval vessel, the result of a conflict would generally be disadvantageous to the pirate.

Q-ships as such date back to the first world war, and had some success against submarines. At that time they usually had cannons hidden behind drop-away walls. Variants of this approach with more modern, lethal, and lightweight weaponry might be useful.

If one combines convoys for the majority of the merchantmen, with a sprinkling of Q-ships in the unescorted merchantmen, then you make the job of the pirate much more dicey.