Posts Tagged piracy

Film: The Project, By Shawn Efran And Adam Ciralsky

Now this looks like a cool documentary and it will be interesting to see the reaction to this film? It definitely has an interesting cast of characters that were interviewed for the film or were actual participants. Specifically, the folks from SCS and the good work they did to train and stand up the PMPF. Here is a quote from below.

Cast: Roger Carstens, Erik Prince, Lafras Luitingh, Rudolph van Heerden, Michael Shanklin, Matthew Bryden

What will really be cool is if they were actually able to capture some of the hostage rescue missions that the PMPF performed, with the help of Roelf van Heerden and his men. -Matt

 

The Project

The scourge of Somali piracy has been devastating the Middle East and North African shipping industries for nearly a decade. As a country with no functioning central government for over twenty years and no military training permitted under UN sanctions, Somalia has been largely powerless to curb the increasingly bold and violent actions of the pirates. Enter the Puntland Maritime Police Force, a secret paramilitary group of mercenary pirate hunters. Initially so undertrained and malnourished that members broke their own legs during marching exercises, the PMPF grows its numbers and hones its tactics under the watchful eye of former U.S. Army Special Forces operative Roger Carstens. It ultimately faces mutiny, death and political infighting in a dangerous quest to pull off the impossible: waging an epic battle on the high seas to rescue dozens of innocent hostages.

Featuring interviews with controversial Blackwater founder Erik Prince and the UN’s arms embargo monitor Matt Bryden, along with shocking firsthand footage from filmmakers embedded within the PMPF, The Project is a gripping, real-life war thriller exposing an unknown, anything-goes battle for control of the seas in one of the most dangerous places on earth.
—Cara Cusumano
Film Information Collapse
2013 | 90 minutes | Documentary Feature
Directed by: Shawn Efran and Adam Ciralsky
Language: English

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Martime Security: ’20 Floating Armories’ In The Red Sea, Gulf Of Aden And Indian Ocean

About 20 ships stocked with assault rifles and other small arms as well as ammunition, body armour and night vision goggles are scattered around the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, the EU naval force has confirmed.

It is not perfect, but floating armories are what companies have had to turn to in order to accomplish the task. Where as I agree that some standard should be applied to how these armories function, on the other hand, thanks to this practice, ‘armed guards on boats’ has become a success. We are getting closer to achieving ‘Expulsis Piratis–Restituta Commercia’.

As for these armories being vulnerable to attack? Why would they? The operators of these vessels have every interest in the world to protect their precious and lethal cargo–and they have the tools to do that. If a pirate group wants to take on one of these floating armories, they will have to contend with the idea that the vessel is armed. But either way, some sort of standard for the defense and operation of these armories would be a good call.

I also was not aware of how many of these things were out there, and thanks to this article, that was identified. -Matt

 

Piracy fears over ships laden with weapons in international waters
Private security companies rely on unregulated ‘floating armouries’ in Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean
By Oscar Rickett
10 January 2013
Private security companies guarding ships against Somali pirates are increasingly storing their weapons on so-called “floating armouries” in international waters, to avoid arms smuggling laws when they dock in ports.
About 20 ships stocked with assault rifles and other small arms as well as ammunition, body armour and night vision goggles are scattered around the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, the EU naval force has confirmed.

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Maritime Security: Piracy Plunges As More Ships Start Carrying Armed Guards

“In 2011, the numbers of private armed security teams went up significantly and that has been a big game-changer as well, though not the only factor,” Olive said. “If that pressure is taken off it can all start to be unpicked relatively rapidly,” he added, referring to industry and military measures to combat piracy.

It’s nice to see some recognition going towards the efforts of armed security out there. They have been a ‘big game-changer’ and the statistics speak for themselves.

Although one looming iceberg that can really mangle the record of private armed guards are shootings that result in innocent people being killed. I have to imagine that we will see private maritime security industry involved in such a thing, and an example of how that might turn out can be seen with the shooting accident that happened last February between some Italian Marine vessel protection guards and an Indian fishing vessel.

In that accident, one innocent person was killed, and it is the type of deal that has been all over the news in both India and Italy. This kind of international incident would literally destroy a security company and absolutely embarrass the client. But it would also be the kind of incident that would put some extreme negative attention on the maritime security industry as a whole. The question is how do you prevent something like that from happening, and can you?

Logically speaking, it is bound to happen. So the prudent thing for companies is to actually prepare your legal strategic defense for such an event. To study how this specific event between the Italians and Indians, and learn from it to get a good game plan together. Of course you always want to refine your rules of engagement and enforce it with training and good management/leadership, but in the realm of combat, unfortunate things happen and companies must be prepared.

One final point is the use of the Letter of Marque (LoM) or a similar licensing system. This could be used as a form of protection for those armed guards on the high seas. If the ship’s captain carries a LoM for that vessel, issued by the same state the vessel is flagged under, then in that case the state can identify through that license what they are legally willing to support when it comes to the defense of that vessel. Under the terms of the LoM, you can list all sorts of requirements of the vessel’s protection team, and you can write up legal protections for that team and vessel.

The main point of this type of LoM is to get the state back into the game of regulating armed force on these vessels and provide some kind of legal protections and accountability. If states are willing to put their flag on a vessel, then why not go the whole way and allow them to issue a LoM or similar license for this kind of ‘warfare on the high seas’? -Matt

 

Piracy plunges as more ships start carrying armed guards
November 30, 2012
By Michelle Wiese Bockmann
Pirate attacks on merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean fell 81 per cent this year as the use of armed security guards on ships acted as a “game-changer,” according to the European Union’s naval force.
There were 34 attacks by Somali pirates, with five vessels hijacked so far in 2012, compared to a record 176 assaults in the whole of last year that resulted in 25 ships seized for ransom, according to Peter Olive, the EU Naval Force’s chief of staff.
Ransom payments to Somali pirates totaled $36 million so far this year, compared with $147 million last year, he said Thursday at a briefing at the EU’s naval force headquarters at Northwood, England. As well as more aggressive military operations, the increasing deployment of private guards over the last 18 months on vessels transiting high-risk areas contributed to the declines, Olive said.
“In 2011, the numbers of private armed security teams went up significantly and that has been a big game-changer as well, though not the only factor,” Olive said. “If that pressure is taken off it can all start to be unpicked relatively rapidly,” he added, referring to industry and military measures to combat piracy.

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Funny Stuff: Party Seems Over For Somali Pirates–Prostitutes Lament

There they found pirates who once owned vast villas living in darkened, unfurnished rooms, hiding from their creditors.
Prostitute Faduma Ali longs for the days when her pirate customers had money. As she smoked a hookah in a hot, airless room in Galkayo last week, she sneered as she answered a phone call from a former customer seeking some action on credit.
“Those days are over. Can you pay me $1,000?” she asked. That’s what she once got for a night’s work. “If not, goodbye and leave me alone.”
“Money,” she groaned as she hung up.

Too funny. If you want to know the health of an illicit industry like piracy, then turn to the prostitutes as a way of gauging that. lol

I also love that Faduma Ali pictured below is a prostitute, but still wears what looks like the niqab or veil. I really don’t know how she is viewed upon by Islamic scholars or other muslims there in the city she lives in, and I am surprised the extremists haven’t killed her or made an example of her yet?

But back to the big point here. This is just more proof that the current strategy of getting armed guards on boats–and I mean all vessels going through GOA–is the right path. Congratulations to all involved with the effort, to include the navies of the world and the private armed guards on boats.

On that note, just because the Somali pirate industry is suffering, does not mean that they are out of the picture or that other pirates from around the world won’t do their thing. For example, Nigerian pirates seem to be really upping their game and increasing their use of violence. The truly desperate and dangerous pirates are out there, and they are committing atrocity in order to achieve their goals. It is these wolves, that continue to hunt and seek weakness, that we need to be on guard for.

I would hate to see armed guards on boats get over taken by better armed and highly determined pirates….. But the realist in me just assumes that it will happen, and all we can to is to continue to press for the entire industry stay one step ahead. Both in planning/intelligence and in optimum weapons for that voyage. -Matt

 

$1000 a night no more: Prostitute Faduma Ali, who longs for the days when her pirate customers had money, chews the stimulant khat and smokes a cigarette at a house in the once-bustling pirate town of Galkayo, Somalia. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh) Source: AP

AP IMPACT: Party seems over for Somali pirates
By ABDI GULED
09/25/2012
The empty whiskey bottles and overturned, sand-filled skiffs littering this once-bustling shoreline are signs the heyday of Somali piracy may be over. Most of the prostitutes are gone and the luxury cars repossessed. Pirates while away their hours playing cards or catching lobsters.
“There’s nothing to do here these days,” said Hassan Abdi, a high school graduate who taught English in a private school before turning to piracy in 2009. “The hopes for a revitalized market are not high.”
Armed guards aboard cargo ships and an international naval armada that carries out onshore raids have put a huge dent in piracy and might even be ending the scourge.
While experts say it’s too early to declare victory, the numbers are startling: In 2010, pirates seized 47 vessels. This year they’ve taken five.
For a look at the reality behind those numbers, an Associated Press team from the capital, Mogadishu, traveled to the pirate havens of Galkayo and Hobyo, a coastal town considered too dangerous for Western reporters since the kidnappers have turned to land-based abductions over the last year.
There they found pirates who once owned vast villas living in darkened, unfurnished rooms, hiding from their creditors.
Prostitute Faduma Ali longs for the days when her pirate customers had money. As she smoked a hookah in a hot, airless room in Galkayo last week, she sneered as she answered a phone call from a former customer seeking some action on credit.

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Maritime Security: Piracy Off Africa Has Plunged, With A ‘Great Deal Of Credit’ Towards Armed Guards

The decrease in attacks appears to be a result of increased security measures taken by commercial vessels and of sustained antipiracy patrols by the navies of more than a dozen nations, including the United States.
Admiral Fox said the shipping industry “can take a great deal of credit” for the trend. More commercial vessels are carrying “embarked security teams” of armed guards, he said, and no vessel with such a team on board has been hijacked.

Excellent job to all security teams out there for producing these results. It is proof that ‘armed guards on boats’ is a crucial element of the overall strategy of countering piracy. Now hopefully every company and team out there doesn’t drop their guard, and they only continue to improve upon their operations and effectiveness.

That, and the industry must pay close attention to the changing tactics of the pirates. Off the coast of Nigeria, pirates seem to be more willing to take the chance of a gun fight with security forces in order to accomplish the task of taking a boat or kidnapping folks. The fear here is that other pirate groups will learn from these types of assaults and attempt the same.

Pirate action groups will also experiment and game the armed security systems of vessels. It will either be the  application of lethal surprise, overwhelming fire power, or the use of well coordinated/organized swarms. All of these tactics will be mixed together and combined by hungry and determined criminals willing to take that risk and try new methods. ‘Risk takers’ in that part of the world are not in short supply, and there is no telling how many smart and innovative criminal leaders/entrepreneurs there are. But they are out there, and we must stay one step ahead of them. -Matt 

 

U.S. Reports That Piracy Off Africa Has Plunged
By THOM SHANKER
August 28, 2012
Acts of piracy in the treacherous waters around the Horn of Africa have fallen sharply in 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease.
Data released by the Navy last week showed 46 pirate attacks in the area this year, compared with 222 in all of last year and 239 in 2010. Nine of the piracy attempts this year have been successful, according to the data, compared with 34 successful attacks in all of 2011 and 68 in 2010.
Even so, senior Navy officers have been careful not to declare victory.
“The pirates are very adaptable, and they are very flexible,” said Vice Adm. Mark I. Fox, the Navy’s deputy chief for operations, plans and strategy. “We are watching carefully.”

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Maritime Security: IMO Guidance Calls For ISO Certification For Companies

This is a good move. The ISO standard has been the goal of a number of groups and this is one step closer to giving legitimacy to this sector of the industry.

It is also cool to see the statistics mentioned in regards to pirate attacks. An increase in attacks, but a decrease in successful ones. Bravo to all of the security teams out there doing such a fantastic job in beating back these heathens. It really is impressive and armed guards on boats is definitely proving it’s worth.

But the statistics also show that pirates are not giving up and their industry continues to grow and expand. So they definitely have the greed and determination to keep going after their prey. Especially when they are expanding into new hunting grounds, and using mother ships and swarm type attacks. At this rate, there will not be any patch of ocean devoid of these thugs. -Matt

 

IMO Guidance Calls for Certified Private Maritime Security Companies
This is interim guidance from the International Maritime Organization’s Maritime Safety Committee that applies to privately contracted armed security personnel on vessels transiting off the east coast of Africa.
Jun 05, 2012
New interim guidance adopted by the International Maritime Organization’s Maritime Safety Committee calls for companies supplying armed security personnel to seek certification with national and international standards, once those are established. The IMO committee decided ISO is the organization best suited to develop an international standard.
The committee met May 16-25 in London, and IMO posted details of its guidance May 31. The guidance applies to vessels transiting what IMO called “the high risk area off the east coast of Africa.”
During their meeting, committee members discussed the 544 acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships that were reported to IMO in 2011, which represented an 11 percent increase from 489 reported the previous year. The areas most affected in both years were East Africa and the Far East, in particular the South China Sea, followed by the Indian Ocean, West Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. (East Africa alone was responsible for an increase from 172 incidents in 2010 to 223 in 2011.)

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