The problem of Maritime piracy or armed robbery at sea has existed for a very long time. And though modern pirates already got rid of the peg leg, parrot on shoulder and a bandage on the eye, but is still the same – attacks on ships and captures sailors hostage. The last case is associated with the Norwegian vessel Ugland, which was attacked on 2 November in the Gulf of Guinea. Then the pirates kidnapped 9 crew members.
And though the number of pirate attacks is gradually reduced, the world still remained marine areas, which represent a potential danger to navigation.
Somali pirates – horror story or a threat?
In today’s world the word “pirate” many people associate it with pirates who are operating off the coast of Somalia. Somali pirates are renowned for their cruelty, they are well armed and organized. It was noted that from 2008 to 2012, Somali pirates hijacked 170 ships with 3400 crew members. Killed 25 sailors, 37 more died of starvation or committed suicide in captivity.
In 2013, it was reported that losses of world economy from Somali piracy amounted to 18.2 billion dollars. a year.
To ensure the safety of navigation in the zone of action of the Somali pirates had taken a number of measures, in particular running combat patrols forces of countries – members of NATO, the EU, India, Russia, etc. While March 2012, the EU vessels received the right to attack ground targets. This mandate allows warships and helicopters to strike fuel depots, trucks and other facilities in the coastal zone. The transport operators also took a number of measures to ensure safety. Now merchant ships escorted military convoys, crews are trained to conduct in case of attack, and on ships is an armed guard.
It should be noted that such measures give their result: beginning in 2013, the Somali pirates gave leading positions in the number of assaults and hijackings of their Nigerian colleagues, and for the first 9 months of 2019 in Somalia, there was not a single attack of pirates. It is noted that the probability of attacks by Somali pirates on ships are still there.
Photo from open sources
The troubled Gulf of Guinea
According to the International Maritime Bureau of the International chamber of Commerce (ICC IMB), the epicenter of modern piracy is the Gulf of Guinea. Initially pirates here mostly hunted for the oil tankers, but with the falling prices for “black gold” they switched to kidnapping people for ransom. This region now have 86% of the hostages and about 82% of the abductions of sailors worldwide. So, in this area in July, the pirates kidnapped 10 crew members from the vessel. And in August the number of hostages has increased by 17.
The largest number of attacks recorded in the district of Nigeria, where for the third quarter of 2019, there were 29 attacks on vessels. It is noted that the attack by Nigerian robbers are characterized by their violent modus operandi, which frequently involves kidnapping, torture and executions of members of the crew. Brutal methods are used by these groups as part of a conscious “business model”, where violence and intimidation play an important role. Since 2011, pirate attacks have become a global problem.
“Despite the fact that the number of incidents is decreasing, the Gulf of Guinea continues to be of concern over piracy and armed robbery, and the magnitude and frequency of kidnapping of crew members increase,” – said the Director of the ICC, the IMB Pottengal Mukundan.
Piracy in 2019
According to the report, ICC IMB for the third quarter of 2019, the world has witnessed the decrease in the number of pirate attacks. So, for 9 months of the current year (January-September) know about 119 cases of piracy and armed attacks on ships. At the same time in 2018 over the same period of time was recorded 156 pirate attacks.
Three quarters of this year, the pirates managed to get aboard 95 ships, ten they opened fire, even as many tried to capture four vessels were hijacked.
Held hostage by invaders in 2019 were 49 sailors (one was killed) vs 112 (in 2018). In 24 cases, sea robbers, the attackers in this year of the peace court, they threatened crew with knives, in another 35 cases, firearms.
As previously reported, the leader of the pirates is the Gulf of Guinea. Another dangerous place – the waters around Indonesia. There for the first nine months of this year, there were 20 attacks on ships. However, over the last five years the number of pirate attacks in the area of Indonesia decreased by more than 4 times (in 2015, it was reported 86 cases of piracy). In addition, the cases of pirate attacks were recorded in Malaysia and Central and South America.
The fight against piracy
It is noted that the fight against piracy should be conducted through active and passive of counter force operations and application of organizational and legal measures.
An example of the active power counter-piracy operations in Somalia or outside of the capture and destruction of pirates, ensuring control over the territory in conjunction with government forces conducting a humanitarian intervention, the blocking of the pirate ships, the use of traps.
Passive opposition is characterized by the security in a particular area of the World ocean by patrolling naval forces, the creation of the safe corridor escort convoys, support of individual vessels by the Navy, escort vessels with security groups.
Also note that on November 16, 1994 entered into force the UN Convention on the law of the sea, under which all States, to the extent possible needs to cooperate to suppress piracy on the high seas or any other place outside the jurisdiction of any country. In addition, in 1991, Malaysia established a Center to combat piracy.
At the same time, in California (USA) has a training center of training of specialists to combat the pirates. He trains anti-piracy units of the naval forces of Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.