Thursday, November 20, 2008

Terror On The High Seas

The only sort of pirates that i was familiar with, were the types that sell/download pirated software and movies ( No wait... the other pirate i know is Captain Jack Sparrow... Ahem ). But then, all of a sudden, the Somalian sea pirates ( some prefer to call them terrorists ) are all over the news and in the Gulf of Aden...!
And they have a quite a crafty racket set up. Their modus operandi involves using fast motor boats to get near merchant ships, clambering onto them, holding a gun to the crew's head and demanding ransom from the owner of the ship. And this plot of their works, as some of the demands for money were met by the shipping corporates. In fact it worked so well that it has begun to happen a lot more frequently than one could ever imagine. Eleven raids in ten days, and a about seventy five ( and constantly rising ) in this year alone, seems like a desperately frantic attempts by the Somalian pirates to make a quick buck.

Equipped with a few large Russian-built "mother boats" trawlers, a fleet of smaller fast speed boats, and armed with automatic weapons and RPGs, these pirates are as deadly as they come. They also have radar and other communication equipments. Most merchant ship's crew, have no option to put up any kind of resistance. Currently there are several ship crews held as hostage, and some lives have also been lost in the past. It must be terrible for the crew who are stuck in such a predicament.. Such is the notoriety of these pirates, who are quite deadly and well organized. Of course, the ransom money is used to buy more arms, and to fund the struggles and conflicts within Somalia.
So bring in the big navy big boys, on their big boat, with their big guns. Many warships, including an Indian stealth frigate - INS Tabar, are in the Arabian sea to check the rampage of these pirates. I don't know much know about the success rate of the other nation's navies, but the Indian ship has been able to repel a few raids and even managed to sink a "mother ship" vessel. Many in the Indian media claimed that sinking this pirate vessel is the biggest success of the Indian navy since the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. I say that such comments are really silly and embarrassing, and even the navy shrugs it off as being a very minor accomplishment. After all it was a pathetic old pirate ship that was sunk, and not some big armed warship of sorts. Nevertheless, it was a big breakthrough. But that didn't deter the pirates too much, who managed capture a merchant ship on the same day. Its not the strength of the pirate ships, but rather the sheer number of them in the open seas and their operative success, which is scary.

Anyway, this is now a serious international issue, that can go out of proportions, if left unchecked. Soon, other desperate organizations, in a bid to raise funds for their cause will begin to resort to such "lucrative" measures. Hence this menace has to be nipped at the bud as soon as possible. This can be achieved only through co-operative measures among the various navies to combat the pirates. As for the family members of those currently held hostage, need to keep their spirits up and pray for a quick resolution of the crisis.

2 Comments:

Philip Kingsley said...

Thought piracy couldnt happen these days with the advanced satelite imaging... looks like am wrong

Aslam said...

Well yes.. technology is there, u can watch them from satellites, but you cant have a naval vessel protecting each and every merchant ship in the vast oceans...

And those guys are smart too.. they perform fast attacks, which are difficult to detect and repulse...