Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Holidays are over, but piracy never ends

After a few weeks away from the blogosphere, I begin the new year - and the new decade - slowly getting back into things. Not that I've been ignoring what's been going on, merely recharging the batteries, so to speak.

I'd like to first highlight a new online radio show of probable interest to those who read my posts, that debuted last weekend. It's called Midrats and it airs on Blog Talk Radio, Sunday's from 5-6pm Eastern Time (2200-2300 GMT). The focus is naval and maritime issues and it's hosted by three Americans well-versed about what's going on out there on the seas today that should be of concern to anyone of any nation: CDR Salamander, Galrahn (of Information Dissemination) and EagleSpeak. Check it out next weekend, participate - they take calls from anywhere - and listen to the archived shows.

Activity off the Horn of Africa in the last week that has been of some concern to many. The seizure of the pure car carrier (PCC) MV Asian Glory last Friday by Somali pirates is another notable event, given the high freeboard of the vessel. PCCs have been considered among the least likely to be boarded by pirates (not attacked - boarded), because of the high sides they present. Yet the British-flagged Asian Glory was still captured while sailing in the middle of the western Indian Ocean.

Of course no one though a supertanker could be taken either. Point is, the pirates in that region have developed capabilities that allow them to strike at any targets available. Anyone. High freeboard or bulk size are no impediments for these maritime criminals

The BBC is reporting that a Pakistani fishing vessel has been released by Somali pirates, a vessel that may have been used as a mother ship to hijack the Asian Glory. According to the BBC, "[T]his is one of the first known instances of one vessel being hijacked and then used to hijack another."

This is patently wrong. Somali pirates have been using captured vessels to attack other ships for years. While working on my book I met a mariners who had been held by Somali pirates as far back in 2005 who saw their vessels turned into mother ships to successfully seize another merchant vessel.

Point is, this is nothing new. But we're entering a phase in which Somali piracy is becoming boring to the general public and those journalists now covering it are, often, ill-informed about the situation. 2010 will be a crucible year for nations to get their shit together about this (pardon my language). The media is already forgetting what's occurred the last half decade, and they're supposed to be the ones keeping us informed. All the more reason to check out sources like Midrats if you're really interested in the issues.

Or keep your eye on here. Happy New Year.

1 comment:

Sebastian Bruns said...

Welcome back, Daniel, and thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I look forward to the radio show.