Somali pirates struggle against international crackdown

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by SpArK, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. SpArK

    SpArK SORCERER Senior Member

    Oct 24, 2010
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    Somali pirates struggle against international crackdown

    Pirates managed only four hijacks off the Somali coast but were prepared to travel much further afield


    Somali pirates managed only four successful hijacks off the coast of the country last year as a crackdown involving the Royal Navy forced the criminals to travel much further afield to target merchant ships.

    In one failed attack, the pirates went to within 200 miles of India – a trip of more than 1,500 miles each way.

    Their willingness to take more risks is a concern for Nato, which is helping to co-ordinate international efforts to push back against activity that has caused havoc on major sea routes in recent years.

    The pirates have also secured hundreds of millions of dollars from private companies that have often defied government advice by paying substantial ransom demands to free hostages.

    However, newly aggressive anti-piracy tactics appear to be having an effect, with the latest Nato figures showing there was a sharp drop-off in successful attacks in 2011.

    Pirates captured only four vessels off the coast of Somalia last year, compared to 26 in 2010, and the same number in 2009. They launched failed attacks against 52 other ships, 16 fewer than the year before.

    The pirates managed just one hijack further north in the Gulf of Aden, compared to 12 in 2010.

    Instead, the criminals appear to have focused to the east and the distant waters of the Arabian Sea, where they successfully captured 19 ships last year, and attempted to take 48 others.

    But even when they have taken ships, the pirates are struggling to keep hold of them; Nato believes there are only six vessels being held at the moment, with a total of 175 hostages.

    More than 1,100 suspected pirates are now in custody, mostly in the Seychelles or Kenya awaiting trial.

    The Royal Navy has been helping to spearhead the effort – including a dramatic chase last month that ended when a sniper on a navy helicopter began firing at pirates who had attacked a Spanish fishing vessel. Seven Somalis were arrested.

    A small number of British special forces have been operating from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Fort Victoria, which has also helped give more bite to anti-piracy efforts.

    Defence sources said there were three main reasons why the pirates were less successful last year. "Ships are protecting themselves more effectively, by putting up barbed wire to make it more difficult for the pirates to get on board," said one defence source. "Nations like China and Russia are also protecting some vessels by making them travel together in convoys. Thirdly, the taskforce has also been targeting the so-called mother ships. These are the bigger vessels the pirates use to launch smaller skiffs for the attacks."

    A Nato official added: "Our trend lines are improving because our allies and partners are getting better at disrupting attacks. But the piracy threat remains a persistent one."

    That sentiment was echoed in a report by the foreign affairs select committee. It noted average ransoms had risen from $600,000 (£390,000) to $4.7m per vessel over the last four years. In all, $135m was paid to the pirates in 2011.

    The report said this was "an alarming [figure] which should be a matter of deep concern to the British government and to the entire international maritime community".

    Despite the rise in the number of people in custody, MPs said an estimated 90% of suspected pirates were released without charge. It urged the British government to start prosecutions in the UK if necessary.

    A number of Britons have been taken hostage by pirates, including Paul and Rachel Chandler, who were freed in 2010 after being held for a year.

    Last September, pirates murdered a British businessman, David Tebbutt, and kidnapped his wife, Judith. The couple were on holiday at a beach resort in Kenya.

    Tebbutt, 58, died from a single gunshot wound to his chest. His wife has not been seen since.

    Somali pirates struggle against international crackdown | World news | The Guardian
  3. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Jan 9, 2012
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    Akhand Bharat
    is pakistan navy in waters??????:shocked::shocked::shocked::scared2::scared2::taunt1::taunt1:

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