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How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships?

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  • How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships?

    An increase in piracy in the Somali waters may one how pirates board the huge vessels? The article describes the various reasons that make the piracy activities "a piece of cake" even on gigantic ships.

    Introduction

    High Seas piracy in Somalia is one of the gravest issues facing the world today. The modern day pirates, especially in the Somali waters, are not only fast but also equipped with high tech weapons and equipment that assist them in their piratical activities. However, it a matter of great wonderment as to how these pirates board gigantic ships that pass though the Somali waters?

    Some of these ships are so huge that it is seems difficult to climb them even through their gangway, forget using any other method. So how do these pirates do this daunting task? Aren?t the pirates visible to the ship?s crew? Isn?t it nearly impossible to climb these huge ships from their sides? The following article will answer these questions and many more? questions which have always made everyone wonder about activities related to piracy.



    Pirates Usually Attack at Night or Early Morning

    Though armed with the most modern weaponry, the modern day pirates still use small motorized fishing boats which are fast and too small to get detected by the ship?s radar system. When these boats are used by the pirates, generally at night, they are literally invisible to the ship?s crew. The pirates wait in these small boats, under the darkness of night, and speed up as soon as they see a big ship coming their way.

    From piracy attacks in the past, it is said that pirates generally attack the ship from its astern side, using ropes attached with hooks at one end. Some of the pirates also use long bamboos to attach the ropes with hooks on the ship?s side. Some pirates have also been seen using light ladders made out of wood and bamboo. The pirates are really fast with these activities and board the vessel way before the ship?s crew realizes and raises the alarm.

    Although all the huge cargo and tanker vessels are basically too high to climb, when fully loaded, these vessels move quite low with a fairly high draught. This makes it even easier for the pirates to board the ships. Moreover, most of the piracy attacks mainly take place near to the shoreline using small speed boats. However, some of the recent piracy attacks have even taken place at a distance of three to four hundred nautical miles from the shore. In such cases, pirates use a bigger mother ship and anchor is near the sea route. When the targeted ship arrives, they use small power boats to attack the ship.



    Use of Modern Weapons

    Present day pirates are using the best of modern technology to assist them in their piracy attacks. Equipped with the most modern and automatic weapons such as AK-47 rifles and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), the pirates mercilessly and aimlessly fire on the targetted ship.

    Though huge in size, the ships are both defenceless and helpless in front of these lethal weapons. In many piracy attacks in the past, the pirates have opened fire on the cargo ships to bring them to a halt. The master of the ship has no option other than slowing down the ship or stopping it, allowing the pirates to come on board.



    Defenceless Ships, Defenceless Crew

    If two dozen pirates attack a particular cargo ship from all the directions, using modern automatic vessels, the ship?s small crew has no other option other than to surrender to the pirates. Pirates are ruthless people with no value for human life. The captain of the ship wouldn?t take any decision that turns out harmful for his crew members and so will easily surrender to the pirates.

    Moreover, the ships don?t have any kind of weapons on board, nor does the crew have any members trained for defending themselves. Also, as pirates generally board at night, when more than half of the crew is taking rest, it is really difficult to keep a close watch on all the areas of the ship by the small number of crew members who are on duty. This makes a merchant ship extremely vulnerable to piracy activities, especially in Somali waters.

    Thus, technically, a merchant ship in Somali waters is a sitting duck, waiting to be hit by the pirates. Unless and until any substantial step is taken to fight the growing piracy activities in Somalia waters, merchant ships will always remain an easy target for the modern day pirates.
    http://www.brighthub.com/engineering...les/64432.aspx
    Emeritus Admin & Founding Member

  • #2
    Re: How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships? Read

    An old friend of mine, her father was in the RAF and his last assignment was dealing with these Somali Pirates.
    I watched a presentation he made and it was very interesting.

    It is such a hard problem to tackle.

    If you know anything about Somalia you will know it is a very unstable country that hasn't had a government for over 20years.

    The pirates (young poor men usually with a drug addiction) are recruited by already 'wealthy' crime lords with promises of lots of money for what has been up until recently quite an easy job (based on hourly rate).

    The thing is pirates are not actually doing anything illegal until they board the ship. So waiting for the right moment to take action is already almost too late.
    Identifying pirates from fisher men is also an issue for us. As the ships sail along, the fish follow the ships, and fishermen follow the fish.. So a pirate vessel can blend in quite well with innocent fishermen.

    There are tell tale sign of pirates tho. AK-47s, lots of Somalis and a ladder are a good way of identifying Pirates.
    But still unless they board they ship they are not doing anything 'wrong'.

    Saying that tho the Somali pirates are not as bad as you think. To date (correct me if I am wrong) not one hostage has been killed by Somali pirates.

    Strategy to tackle piracy has been effective.. although still not good enough.

    I think putting defensive units on ships is the only way we are going tackle piracy. Otherwise they have nothing to deter them. Simply sailing further away from shore is not going to deter them. Remember they are very poor lads with nothing to loose.

    Showing them the wrong side of an automatic rifle may make them think twice about what they are risking.
    I distrust camels, and anyone else who can go a week without a drink.

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    • #3
      Re: How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships? Read

      Thought i would post this dont know if you have seen it before


      [youtube:1afaap0u]Eht0JbS6nVE[/youtube:1afaap0u]
      Maybe I will never be
      All the things that I want to be
      But now is not the time to cry
      Now's the time to find out why

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      • #4
        Re: How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships? Read

        Effing pirate scum bags. GRRR
        I distrust camels, and anyone else who can go a week without a drink.

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        • #5
          Re: How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships?

          Originally posted by nemo

          Use of Modern Weapons

          Present day pirates are using the best of modern technology to assist them in their piracy attacks. Equipped with the most modern and automatic weapons such as AK-47 rifles and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), the pirates mercilessly and aimlessly fire on the targetted ship.

          Though huge in size, the ships are both defenceless and helpless in front of these lethal weapons. In many piracy attacks in the past, the pirates have opened fire on the cargo ships to bring them to a halt. The master of the ship has no option other than slowing down the ship or stopping it, allowing the pirates to come on board.
          http://www.brighthub.com/engineering...les/64432.aspx
          These weapons are not modern at all, the only reason they are used is because they are cheap and reliable, and take little to no training to use.

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          • #6
            Re: How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships? Read

            Originally posted by fernze411
            If you know anything about Somalia you will know it is a very unstable country that hasn't had a government for over 20years.

            .
            They've been run by different clans of revolutionaries and had to deal with famine because these clans were stealing all the food. They prefer to attack American ships as they're always out for revenge on the Americans because of the battle of Mogadishu http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Mogadishu_(1993).

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            • #7
              Re: How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships?

              I also picked up on the 'modern' weapons thing. Technically they are. Even though I agree with what you are saying. Easy to use, cheap yet reliable! Compareable to cars. old cars still go fast.
              I distrust camels, and anyone else who can go a week without a drink.

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              • #8
                Re: How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships?

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaBqHyPu9II i would recomend giving this a watch, Ross Kemp on pirates

                Perhaps this is an ignorant question, and I know their will no doubt be a convention or reason for it but.l... Why can't we arm our merchant ships ( I know this would technically make it a warship) but I Imagine the reduction in insurance premiums would MORE than cover the companies cost of arming ships, and it would also keep the crew safer??

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                • #9
                  Re: How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships?

                  Originally posted by Martyboy
                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaBqHyPu9II i would recomend giving this a watch, Ross Kemp on pirates

                  Perhaps this is an ignorant question, and I know their will no doubt be a convention or reason for it but.l... Why can't we arm our merchant ships ( I know this would technically make it a warship) but I Imagine the reduction in insurance premiums would MORE than cover the companies cost of arming ships, and it would also keep the crew safer??
                  It would be complicated by law to arm ships, and would probably mean more illegal weapons are smuggled into countries under the premise of "arming ships". Most countries will have different laws on firearms so I assume it would get complicated if you're constantly going into different territories. Also I presume ships under the British flags will have the same theory as the police do, in that by arming people they're more likely to be shot.

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                  • #10
                    Re: How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships?

                    Pure and simple... ships are undermanned and unequipped to deal with the pirate threat.
                    Not all Trade Unionists are left wing, socialists or even ugly

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                    • #11
                      Re: How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships?

                      Originally posted by fernze411
                      I also picked up on the 'modern' weapons thing. Technically they are. Even though I agree with what you are saying. Easy to use, cheap yet reliable! Compareable to cars. old cars still go fast.
                      but it's one of the most inaccurate assault rifles ever made with a lot of recoil, especially as it fires 7.62 rounds. The 7.62 round is much heavier and bigger so you can't carry as much as the nato standard 5.56. Saying that it can take off an arm or a leg if it hits you. They call it the idiots gun, that's why its mostly used by unskilled soldiers and henchmen. It will probably still be used for the next 50 years.

                      Going off topic, a much better and more modern version is the Israeli Galil, which fires 5.56 so it has less recoil than the 7.62, the sights were moved so its more accurate and it keeps the advantages like reliability of the other version. It even has a bottle opener on it!

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                      • #12
                        Re: How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships?

                        Originally posted by MEJG
                        Pure and simple... ships are undermanned and unequipped to deal with the pirate threat.
                        I agree, there should be more navy ships out there protecting them, and more done on land to stop piracy.

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                        • #13
                          Re: How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships?

                          Originally posted by Pear
                          Originally posted by MEJG
                          Pure and simple... ships are undermanned and unequipped to deal with the pirate threat.
                          I agree, there should be more navy ships out there protecting them, and more done on land to stop piracy.

                          and the sad thing is nothing will change until it becomes a mainstream media issue.

                          Politicians don't act for the greater good... they act for power and influence. Until it becomes a majority of public concern in there own countries then piracy will continue to have the bare minimum of resources thrown into combating it.

                          One possible solution would be for the large companies to "sponsor" an independent anti-piracy force... akin to the privateer of yore; only carrying the flag of any state that would allow the crew to bear arms and engage hostile forces at sea.
                          Not all Trade Unionists are left wing, socialists or even ugly

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                          • #14
                            Re: How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships?

                            another solution is to stop negotiating with pirates, just like we don't with terrorists.

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                            • #15
                              Re: How do Somali Pirates Attack and Board Huge Ships?

                              Well pirates are economic terrorists, that's pretty self evident.

                              In order to make it a mainstream media issue you have to latch it onto a live narrative with a plausible risk... e.g.: a nice DM headline could be: "Somali pirates claim asylum and get fasttrack council houses in Kensington due to EU law, and getting jobs in nursing homes".

                              If money isn't talking; try fear... it usually works quite well ;P

                              The Al Qaeda thing is twitching with that recent alleged attack of a tanker off Hormuz, but probably the most effective thing to trigger serious action would be the 24 hour global news networks getting stuck into a live Somali pirate hijacking of a luxury cruise ship... that would be so huge that no politician could possibly evade creating a solution.

                              I don't think the Navy alone can really deal with it; you need the works - Air observations; marines attacking pirate lairs; and tight coastal patrols. It's a nightmare, and much like with Af-Pak, Team America really aren't throwing anywhere near enough at it to get control of it. Personally I think they ought to be mobilising WWII style, otherwise this is going to be the status quo for the next 30 years; with pirates steadily stocking up on hardware with their winnings.
                              Emeritus Admin & Founding Member

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