Moveable crime; shift over the last 10 years from Malacca Straits to Somalia. Moveable crime; shift over the last 10 years from Malacca Straits to Somalia



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Moveable crime; shift over the last 10 years from Malacca Straits to Somalia.

  • Moveable crime; shift over the last 10 years from Malacca Straits to Somalia.

  • 406 attempted hijackings in 2009

    • Somalia:
      • 217 attacks; 47 hijackings; 687 hostages taken
      • Up from 9 attacks in 1998
    • South America: 37 attacks
      • Peru: 12 attacks
    • Nigeria: 28 attacks
    • Bangladesh: 17 attacks
    • Indonesia: 15 attacks
    • South China Seas: 13 attacks
    • Singapore Straits: 6 attacks
    • Malacca Straits: 2 attacks


Somalia is now synonymous with piracy.

  • Somalia is now synonymous with piracy.



Ships that continue to transit via the Gulf of Aden and Suez Canal must purchase a war risk insurance coverage

  • Ships that continue to transit via the Gulf of Aden and Suez Canal must purchase a war risk insurance coverage

    • $20,000 per ship per voyage (excluding injury, liability and ransom coverage)
      • Up from $500 only two years ago.
      • Estimated that increased cost of war risk insurance premiums for the 20,000 ships passing through the Gulf of Aden could reach as much as $400 million. (Source: UNCTAD)


Despite worldwide attention and new strategies for combating piracy, the crime surged 39% in 2009.

  • Despite worldwide attention and new strategies for combating piracy, the crime surged 39% in 2009.

  • While there is no single or simple solution, ten recent events dictate the need for a traditional practice to be readopted.

  • Arming merchant vessels transiting high risk areas needs consideration.





  • First cruise ship attack since 1985 capture of Italian M/V Archille Lauro

  • First use of LRAD against pirates

  • Resulted in recommended exclusion zone 200 miles off Somalia

  • Prior to November 2005, the world knew little and cared less about Somali pirate success in the capture and ransom of U.N. relief shipments and random merchant vessels. With this attack, the tribal Somali pirates brought both unwanted public focus and demand for a solution. It was on account of this event C&McD was engaged to participate in a 2-hour TV special for the History Channel titled “Return of The Pirates.”

  • *Event significance: Pirate ability to widely expand or change shape of the playing field limits prevents effective naval control; self defense is necessary.



RPG after striking vessel

  • RPG after striking vessel

  • LRAD aboard RMS QUEEN MARY 2



  • Cruise ship Seabourne Spirit lesson not learned

  • French Government Partial Ownership (CMA CGM)

  • No passengers, but crew of 30 held hostage for over a week

  • Ransom Paid – then French Commandos Attack

  • *Event Signifance: Vessel type is no concern for the Somali pirates despite the world focus brought about by attack on Seabourne Spirit. If a vessel is unarmed, it will be attacked.







  • Pirates seize arms, munitions, and 32 Russian battle tanks

  • Fears of Al Queda involvement

  • Within weeks, EU and NATO fleets assemble and sail to join U.S. led Combined Task Force 151

  • Vessel and crew held September 2008 – February 2009, while surrounded by Navy.

  • *Event significance: World naval fleets were supposed to squelch the problem, but have failed. Successful naval operations have reduced attacks in the Gulf of Aden and along the east and southern Somali coasts – but the pirates simply move elsewhere.









  • The U.S. awakens – arming the fleet

  • U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Advisories (PSA) 3-09 & 4-09

  • General David Petraeus advocates embarked armed guards

  • *Event Significance: With the closest naval support being 12 hours away, an unarmed U.S. vessel was unable to protect itself.



American Dejavu – “Revenge of Commodore Bainbridge”

  • American Dejavu – “Revenge of Commodore Bainbridge”

    • The U.S.S. CONSTITUTION, launched 1797, was soon thereafter engaged to fight piracy with a fleet of her sister ships along Africa’s Barbary Coast. The effort was effective in reigning in marauding pirate units.
    • Last pirate attack on U.S. vessel prior to MAERSK ALABAMA…
      • 31 October 1803 -- The U.S.S. PHILADELPHIA ran aground off Tripoli and was captured by Tripoli pirates. The captain and entire crew were held for approximately one year. The incident was a humiliation for Commodore William Bainbridge, the vessel captain.
      • 106 years later, it was the guided missile destroyed U.S.S. BAINBRIDGE (DDG 96), named for Commodore William Bainbridge, which sprinted to the scene of MAERSK ALABAMA. The attacking pirates were killed or captured; Captain Richard Phillips of MAERSK ALABAMA, who was held at gunpoint in a lifeboat, was rescued without injury.




The merchant fleet fights back.

  • The merchant fleet fights back.

    • Armed guards embarked
    • Attacked successfully thwarted.
  • *Event significance: Embarked armed guards protect vessels from capture.







1 April 2010: U.S.S. Nicholas (FFG-47) attacked west of the Seychelles.

  • 1 April 2010: U.S.S. Nicholas (FFG-47) attacked west of the Seychelles.

  • 10 April 2010: U.S.S. Ashland (LSD-48) attacked off Djibouti.

  • Beyond reasonable geographic control for patrolling.

    • Looking for an ant in the Appalachians.
  • 13 April 2010: Executive Order outlawing payment and ransom.

  • These pirates face trial at Norfolk and life in prison.

  • *Event Significance: If you can’t pay the pirates, you can’t join the pirates, and you can’t protect the merchant ships – then let the ships protect themselves.










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