Indian Navy sinks pirate ‘mother ship’
November 19, 2008/Rediff News
In a first major offensive to neutralise the threat of sea piracy off Somalia coast, the Indian Navy has sunk a ‘mother ship’ of a group of pirates during a fierce battle in the Gulf of Aden.
The pro-active operation from the Navy warship INS Tabar comes a week after it saved two merchant vessels from sea pirates in the Gulf of Aden near the Horn of Africa.
The Navy said the stealth frigate, currently deployed there for anti-piracy surveillance and patrol operations, had successfully sorted out the pirates last evening 285 nautical miles south west off Salalah in Oman.
Image: Indian warship INS Tabar rescuing Jag Arnav from pirates in the Gulf of Aden on November 18. The warship was dispatched to the Gulf of Aden in October after a spate of hijackings off the coast of Somalia.Â
Text & Photograph: PTI
Harsh language hasn’t worked. The legal system is ill prepared to deal with it. The UN is worthless.
Military force, however, does work. TheÂ Indian Navy destroyed a mother shipÂ used by the pirates to strike out at shipping around the Horn of Africa.
The skirmish took place Tuesday evening about 525 kilometers southwest of Oman’s Salalah port when the frigate INS Tabar spotted a suspected pirate ship with two speedboats in tow, India’s Defense Ministry reported.
The pirate ship was badly damaged, said spokesman Nirad Sinha, but he could not confirm reports it had sunk.
“This vessel was similar in description to the ‘Mother Vessel’ mentioned in various piracy bulletins,” the ministry said in a written statement.
If you eliminate the safe havens and the means for the pirates to carry out the attacks, you eliminate the threat.Â
It is the only way, and sooner or later the world’s navies and their leadership will realize this. I can only hope that they do so before some kind of mass casualty attack occurs as a result of using the cargo or ship captured as a weapon.
There has been a serious spike in the number of attacks in recent days, as the pirates have become far more brazen and roaming deeper into the Indian Ocean to strike at targets of opportunity. Three other ships were attacked in addition to the supertanker yesterday, including a Thai fishing vessel, a Chinese-flagged Iranian cargo ship carrying wheat, and a Chinese fishing vessel.
From Atlas Shrugs:
It’s at moments like these one wishes for a Thomas Jefferson (and the Marines). I have been reporting on Muslim pirate activity for years. But this is different. This is bolder, bigger, brasher. And oil prices went up on the news of it. They are testing us, we are failing …. they will push harder and take bigger risks and we will sit there texting in our favorite no talent idol pick to ABC.
The price of oil rose by a dollar yesterday as a direct result of the Sirius Star capture.
But the danger of these modern-day brigands goes far beyond a jump in oil prices.
The pirates are closely linked to Islamic terrorists – and this is where the real risk to the West lies.
Pirates have already seized tankers laden with benzene and could easily take a ship loaded with liquid gas.
Floating bomb: Pirates, such as the ones who hijacked the Sirius Star (above) are closely linked to Islamic terrorists
Security experts in south Asia fear that such a ship could be used as a giant floating bomb in the Malacca Straits, reducing a city such as Singapore to rubble or blocking a major shipping route carrying much of the world’s trade.
How long before Al-Shabaab terrorists – the name means ‘The Lads’ – in Somalia countenance such an atrocity?
Everyone would feel the indirect impact as world trade ground to a halt while the price of oil went through the roof.
The Sirius Star joins at least 14 other ships which Somali pirates are currently holding to ransom, along with more than 260 crew members. They come from dozens of nations, many of them poor and Muslim.
The captive ships range from the Ukrainian Faina, laden with guns, ammunition and 32 battle tanks, to bulk carriers, tankers, ocean-going tugs and gleaming luxury yachts.
Although the lives of crew are at risk when the ships are stormed, or when commandos attempt armed rescues, the main objective of the pirates is to extort large amounts of cash from the ship owners, who are insured against this eventuality.
Payment is generally made by former special forces men who hand over the money in sacks and holdalls, since pirates don’t have bank accounts.
The current going rate for release of an ordinary vessel varies between Â£200,000 and Â£1million.
The pirates are a by-product of the murderous anarchy that has enveloped Somalia for decades, reducing its capital Mogadishu to ghostly ruins from which half the population has fled.
There has been no effective government since 1991, certainly not in the coastal north where the pirates congregate.
As a UN spokesman remarked: ‘If you give countries points from one to ten for anarchy and confusion, Somalia gets 20.’
Pirates are of three types: unemployed fishermen who have nautical skills; gunmen from the country’s many armed militias, and technical experts who operate computerised navigation systems to track the target vessels.
Hijacking spate: The Sirius Star is one of at least 14 ships which Somali pirates are holding to ransom
International menace: These eight Somali pirates, arrested for trying to hijack a cargo ship, are the by-product of the murderous anarchy that has enveloped Somalia
The Sirius Star was seized 450 miles off Kenya, twice the range at which these pirates usually operate.
Read it all. And read this too:Â Hijacked supertanker anchors off Somali coast as pirates open talks over their $100m oil haul… and demand a $10m ransom
Posted on November 19, 2008/from StoptheACLU
Somali pirates struck again yesterday, seizing an Iranian cargo ship holding 30,000 tonnes of grain, as the world’s governments and navies pronounced themselves powerless against this new threat to global trade.
Admiral Michael Mullen, the US military chief, pronounced himself stunned by the pirates’ reach after their capture of the supertankerSirius StarÂ and its $100 million (Â£70 million) cargo. Commanders from the US Fifth Fleet and from Nato warships in the area said that they would not intervene to retake the vessel.
The Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, the owner of the ship, condemned the hijacking as an “outrageous act” that required international action.
Here it comes
Pirates pulled the 333m supertanker yesterday to a mooring point off Harardhere, on the Somali coast. Farther north, Italian, Greek, Turkish, British, American and Russian frigates and warships were patrolling the Gulf of Aden under aÂ UN mandate.
Operations undertaken by the coalition fleet are fraught with legal difficulties, ranging from restrictive rules of engagement to rights of habeas corpus, as the British Navy discovered when it detained eight pirates after a shootout last week. Yesterday the detainees were passed on to Kenya, where efforts to prosecute them will be closely watched for precedent.
Here’s an idea: screw the United Nations. Here’s a group that has no military of its own, with leaders who mostly come from countries with tiny worthless militaries, trying to dictate the use of military forces. Those countries with navies who want to be involved should just go and blockade the Somali ports, where the majority of these pirates are coming from, and stop all ships going out. Use those caught as target practice for live fire exercises. And, in the cases where ships are hijacked, let groups such as the Navy SEALS get their live fire, real world practice in.