Forgotten But Not Gone: Maritime Piracy

While the US (and the world) marvel at the antics of the American political circus, bad stuff is happening and being mostly ignored. Report: Sailors Pay Price as W. African Pirates Shift Tactics

The anti-piracy work of the some of the world’s navies have all but eliminated piracy from the East Coast of Africa. So, the problem has shifted to West Africa.

The Gulf of Guinea has become the world’s most dangerous body of water, with pirates carrying out 54 attacks in its waters last year and causing over $700 million in economic damage, according to the report from U.S.-based Oceans Beyond Piracy.

The tactics have changed from stealing cargoes or entire ships, to kidnap for ransom. (Takes less time per attack.)

There is also a problem in the China Sea, but a few of the regional navies are coordinating efforts to stem that problem.

Maritime piracy may seem like a problem a world away, but it costs you money. In the past it was in the higher prices insurance companies charged to shipping companies. Today it is in the form of US Naval resources being spent on the issue. And insurance premiums.

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Piracy (the high-seas kind) is On the Rise

Though you wouldn’t know it by paying attention to the news, folks are still “sailing on the account.” Maritime Piracy on Increase Again in Southeast Asia.

There is good news, and there is bad news.

The good news is in Somalia, where there have been NO pirate attacks since May of 2012.

The dearth of pirate attacks is attributed to Somalia again having a functioning government, a multi-national naval patrol against pirate mother ships and targeted ships adopting anti-piracy measures, including onboard armed guards.

Armed guards. It took years, and hundreds of hostages being taken, and a lot of people killed before the powers-that-be decided to try self-defense. And to think that it works.

Between that and actually having national navies destroy pirate ships…

The bad news comes out of SE Asia, where pirate raids are on the increase.

The most dangerous waters are in Southeast Asia which accounted for more than half of all attacks since the beginning of 2015 with a small coastal tanker being hijacked by armed pirates in the region on average every two weeks.

Overall, attacks in the first 3 months of the year are up 10 percent and the number of hostages taken is about 140 this year, compared to 50 or so in the same period last year.

Capt. Richard Phillips to Obama….

Capt. Richard Phillips to Obama: Do more to stop pirates – The Washington Post.

This is the guy first made famous by his harrowing capture by pirates and subsequent rescue by US Navy Seals, and then made famous again by the Tom Hanks’ movie named after him.

Phillips met with the president in the Oval Office the following month. But it appears that will only take Obama so far. The captain is coming out in a public relations offensive against the White House’s new counter-piracy plan. It is time for the United States to “zero in on the pirates’ nests and eradicate them,” Phillips said in news release published Wednesday by a maritime officers union.

I am not holding much hope, since I haven’t seen this Administration “zero-in” on anything except a golf-course.

Malacca Straight Sees Renewed Pirate Attacks

Why should you care? Because a whole lot of oil and 30 percent of total world trade moves through that region. Can you say “increased costs?” Southeast Asian pirates on the prowl once again ‹ Japan Today.

The Obama Administration just released (June 20) an updated “Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Plan” which focuses mainly on Africa – the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Guinea specifically. (I can’t force myself to read the whole thing.) But it misses this upswing in Indonesia.

While most of the attacks have been small-scale, one stands out.

In one attack on May 28, the Thai tanker MT Orapin 4 was hijacked north of Indonesia’s Bintan Island.

The pirates reportedly painted over its name, destroyed communications equipment and brought in a smaller tanker vessel to siphon off much of the ship’s 3,700 metric tonne oil cargo. The vessel and crew were later released.

Where there are successful pirate attacks, you will see more piracy. And this attack has been repeated.

It isn’t clear that given everything going on politically in Asia, that the powers have the will to work together, but working together is the only way naval powers have ever gotten people to stop “sailing on the account.”

Maritime Piracy is No Joke – It Threatens Oil Supplies

Think piracy has to do with music downloads or summer movies? Think again. Analysis: West Africa: where navies are not enough – fighting piracy in the Gulf of Guinea | DefenceWeb.

Johnny Depp may be the best-known pirate in theatres, and Somali pirates remain dangerous in the Indian Ocean, but the pirates causing oil companies and Lloyds of London sleepless nights are raiding ships in Africa’s Gulf of Guinea that carry near 30 per cent of all U.S. oil imports.

Not surprising that all that oil – and the ransoms for captured crews – makes for some folks taking up “sailing on the account.”

Piracy on the High Seas is Still a Problem

It may have dropped off the news coverage, but that isn’t because the problem is solved. Regional leaders meet over security in Gulf of Guinea | Fox News.

For those of you who are geographically challenged, the Gulf of Guinea is on the west coast of Africa.

The Gulf of Guinea, which includes waters off Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, has emerged as a new danger-zone with pirates targeting fuel cargo and loading it onto other ships to sell on the lucrative black market, rather than seeking ransom to release ships, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said earlier this week.

With all the attention focused on Somalia, and the east coast of Africa, it seems that the fires have broken out in other places. And gotten less attention.

The year 2012 marked the first time since the surge in piracy off the coast of Somalia that the reported number of both ships and seafarers attacked in the Gulf of Guinea surpassed that of the Gulf of Aden and of the western Indian Ocean

How to Discourage Pirates (The Real Kind, Not the Software Variety)

The old methods work best, even if you rely on new technology to implement those methods. Sea Transportation: How The Seychelles Became Toxic For Pirates.

Toxic: Hazardous to your health.

Over the last year you stopped hearing about Somali pirates attacking ships off the Seychelles islands. That’s because in the last year the UAE (United Arab Emirates), India, and the United States have provided massive assistance to turn the Seychelles Coast Guard into a force that can quickly spot pirates and neutralize (capture or kill) them.

Fast patrol boats. Surveillance planes. Unmanned aerial vehicles. Combine them and you get an area of the world that is no-longer pirate friendly.

The 30 meter boats, although armed only with machine-guns, are fast enough and have sufficient firepower to handle any pirates they encounter. Last year there were several such bloody encounters and the Somali pirates decided that the Seychelles were no longer good hunting grounds.

All of this is very popular with the Seychelles population. Piracy is a bad business and bad for business.