Saturday, 4 October 2008

Piracy off the Somalia coast

Piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean has spun out of control in recent months, threatening to disrupt international maritime trade and further isolating an already agonising country.
According to the International Maritime Bureau, as of October 2, 61 attacks by Somali pirates have been reported since the start of the year.
More than a dozen are currently being held, including a Ukrainian cargo carrying 33 battle tanks.

A Kenya-based maritime organisation estimated the number of pirates operating along Somalia's coast at around 1,100, split into at least four groups.
Most of them are former coast guards.
The Gulf of Aden commands access to the southern entrance of the Suez Canal and is one of the world's most important trade routes.
Some 16,000 ships transit through it each year and around 30 per cent of the world's oil.
'Mother ships'
The pirates use powerful speedboats operating from "mother ships".
They have been known to attack with automatic weapons and RPGs and are believed to hold shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles.

They also have satellite phones and GPS systems.
Ransoms vary between several hundred thousand dollars and several million depending on the nature of the cargo and the identity of the hostages.
A recent report estimated that pirates have collected up to $30 million so far this year.
Somalia has the longest coastline in Africa, with 3,700km. The waters are patroled by between 12 and 15 ships belonging to the Combined Taskforce 150, a multinational anti-terror naval coalition.
The hundreds of seafarers taken hostage by Somali pirates include French and German hostages, but mainly Asian cargo crews. Close to 100 Filipinos - who account for a third of the world's shipping manpower - are currently being held.
Threat to trade
The London-based think-tank Chatham House has warned that world trade faces major disruption if Somali piracy is unchecked and allowed to be co-opted by extremists.
The Gulf of Aden commands access to the southern entrance of the Suez Canal and is one of the world's most important trade routes.
Some 16,000 ships and around 30 per cent of the world's oil transits through it each year.
The danger has caused insurance premiums to rise tenfold in a year.
Danger too great
"If the cost of extra insurance becomes prohibitive, or the danger simply too great, shipping companies may avoid the Gulf of Aden and take the long route to Europe and North America around the Cape of Good Hope," the Chatham House report said.
"The extra weeks of travel and fuel consumption would add considerably to the cost of transporting goods" at a time when the price of oil is already putting the squeeze on world trade.
The report also warned that the threat of a major environmental disaster resulting from an attack by pirates should be considered.
Chatham House has argued that the ransom collected by pirates is perhaps used to fuel the war in Somalia and passed to the Shebab, a Muslim group listed as a terrorist organisation by Washington.

1 comment:

USpace said...

Being Muslims, they must be peaceful pirates at least. These Somali Buccaneer monkeys are out of control. They go out for weeks in little rickety boats with just weapons and water and eat raw fish they catch and keep hijacking bigger then bigger, then bigger boats.

These terrorist monkeys must be exterminated with extreme prejudice. Sending several drones into their camps when they're fat and happy celebrating their new money should do the trick.

Lots of great Pirate coverage over at Dinah Lord:
Somalian Gov't Charges Pirate Negotiator Andrew Mwangura
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
don't exterminate pirates

seizing ships for ransom
everybody gets rich

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
let pirates operate

you will get cut of ransom
and maybe some weapons too

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