Monday, April 14, 2008

Fighting Pirates: Things that work

Since the successful negotiation with the pirates holding La Ponant, France is taking the reigns in the political arena in countering piracy. While countries like Indonesia have always managed piracy with the other countries it shares waters with, France is one of the first Western powers in recent years to bring piracy to the forefront in political discourse.

"This is one of the first times a military operation has been conducted in this region against acts of piracy," French Prime Minister Francois Fillon told a news conference during a two-day visit to Tokyo.

"We will ask that under a United Nations mandate, an international force, in which France would naturally be ready to participate, could work to secure the waterways of this region as well in the Malacca Strait (between Malaysia and Indonesia)."

With a perception that piracy is on the upswing despite a drop in attacks in recent years, and the growing availability of commercial endeavors to prevent and counteract piracy, fighting pirates is becoming big business. Coupled with the global War on Terror and Muslim extremism, joint task forces, Governments and Commercial interests are constantly finding ways to protect shipping from piracy, here are some examples from the news of initiatives that seem to be curbing piracy in some areas.

The Jamaica gleaner reports that the government of Guyana plans to fight piracy with GPS:

Authorities in Guyana are installing submersible radios and GPS systems on fishing boats to fight an increase in pirate attacks off the country's southeastern coast.

Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud has urged fishermen to register for the voluntary programme, saying it would help authorities find them in an emergency. He also says the government will soon create a fund to help them replace any stolen equipment, with fishermen contributing an undetermined sum each month.

An ISN report here discusses the future of Maritime Security. Groups such as Blackwater have been capitalizing on the need for maritime security for years.

Warnings of increased pirate activities are always important, but usually, the areas where pirates frequent are as impossible to avoid as they can make them.

According to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia three vessels have been attacked in the Indian port of Kandla since February.
ReCAAP report
Joint military ventures are currently the most effective method of countering piracy, last week the New York Times reported that the Dutch Navy has thrown its hat into the ring of maritime policing along Somalia's coast.

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