Talk of increasing the use of convoys as a deterrent to pirates has been making the rounds of late. Last week it was reported that Søren Skou, chief executive of Maersk Tankers, was saying his company was in favour of a secure sea lane off the east coast of Africa. And in today's Washington Times, Stephen J. Solarz and Michael E. O'Hanlon are also espousing convoys with naval escorts as a means of reducing the threat potential. This concept is in addition to the existing system in place in the Gulf of Aden (GoA) approach to the Red Sea.
This is all positive, but convoys are not going to be the complete solution to the problem of pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa - or elsewhere, for that matter. It is not a fool-proof system, and there's a great bit of insight into things coming from Kennebec Captain. He's a master mariner who knows those seas well and recently posted some thoughts on the use of convoys that is definitely worth checking out (read it here). It is somewhat disheartening to hear from Kennebec Captain that the situation in the GoA is still lax: A year ago, as I sailed with the crew of a Maersk box ship through these same waters, I thought the silence emanating from various organizations was simply because they were still coming up to speed. Looks like a lot of work still needs to be done, guys.