Doing Battle With the Somali Pirates
Can I be real for a moment? I don’t know a thing about what can or should be done about the Somali pirates. It seems as if the unionized crew of the Maersk Alabama can take them one-on-one, but that’s not a systemic approach, and the fact that Capt. Richard Phillips is still held hostage is an indicator of the continued threat.
Luckily, Eagle1 at the U.S. Naval Institute’s blog has a proposed course of action. Here’s a map-heavy series of options predicated on the idea that the United States will not invade Somalia.
One possibility, in use in the Gulf of Aden, is to flood the sea lanes with sea policemen or naval forces who serve to deter or stops assaults on shipping in their beat area. Another possibility, especially when you have limited naval assets, and which is also in use in the Gulf of Aden, is to provide escorts to single or multiple ships as they transit the risk areas during periods when the pirates are likely to be active (low winds, day light hours or during periods of a bright moon) or escort ships that have proven to be at risk (low freeboard ships, slow transit speeds).
Put helicopters and UAVs in the air and learn the local fishing patterns to find the “fishing boats” that don’t act like the others. Use the helicopters to scout routes ahead of merchant ships.