Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pirates in the News, October 2008

The biggest news out there in piracy coverage right now is still the MV Faina, that saga justified it's very own entry.

But it's not the only story in piracy this month, not by a long shot. Oil Tankers are under increasing attack in the Suez Region, ( view here and here where one ship fends of 5 attacks in one day )and they are being increasingly repulsed by the increased Naval might protecting them.
The U.S. Navy said ... it appeared pirates had tried to attack one of its big military oil tankers.

A security team aboard the vessel opened fire on two small boats near Somalia after they ignored warnings and pursued the ship, a U.S. Fifth Fleet spokesman said.

"From all appearances it does look like it was a pirate attack and the incident is currently under investigation," he said by telephone from Bahrain.

He said the Military Sealift Command (MSC) oil tanker, the John Lenthall, which usually carries a range of fuels for the U.S. armed forces, was transiting outside Somalia's territorial waters when the incident took place.

In a statement the navy said a whole range of warnings were given before the security team opened fire on the small open skiffs which came within 400 yards (370 metres) of the tanker."

And as you can see in the MV Faina entry, the military presence in the area is increasing daily in response to the call for greater shipping security.
Did you know that Blackwater is starting a Navy? Now you do:

The mercenary outfit--founded by former Navy SEALs in 1997 and heavily involved in U.S. military efforts in Iraq--has tentative plans to build a small fleet of two or three anti-piracy vessels, each able to carry several dozen armed security personnel, according to reports in Lloyds List Maritime. Although the Blackwater vessels will not be armed, the crew will be. Unlike official military personnel, they may have fewer qualms about using those arms against pirates.

Now, Mercenaries and shipping security have always gone together like peanut butter and jelly, but as always, when private armies gain increasing scope it's something to keep an eye on, even if it isn't a particularly shocking turn of events.

Remember the Iran Dianat? I reported on the mysterious ship that was giving most observers the heebie jeebies and most aboard it the mysterious radioactive or biological disease? Iran paid its ransom and it was released. Fnord.

Finally to wrap up this installment of Pirates in the News! Here's an article about an Indian man who was held hostage in Somalia, it's informative and pretty interesting.

"The governments have to act very fast to save hostages," says Vijayan of the estimated 250 sailors of many countries now suffering hostage trauma. "Having experienced what it is to be held captive by pirates, I know what the victims must be going through." He says the Indian government and navy must get involved as thousands of Indian workers sail the Gulf waters.

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