Somali Pirates

This is a discussion on Somali Pirates within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; [quote=Associated Press Writers Todd Pitman And Lara Jakes] NAIROBI, Kenya Navy snipers on the fantail of a destroyer cut ...

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    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Somali Pirates

    [quote=Associated Press Writers Todd Pitman And Lara Jakes]

    NAIROBI, Kenya Navy snipers on the fantail of a destroyer cut down three Somali pirates in a lifeboat and rescued an American sea captain in a surprise nighttime assault in choppy seas Easter Sunday, ending a five-day standoff between a team of rogue gunmen and the world's most powerful military.


    What really happened -

    One Navy Seal with a paper-clip and a rubber band, after 5 days of swimming underwater, needed to take a dump and the closest bathroom was on the ship.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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    Banned ಠ_ಠ's Avatar
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    I'd been considering applying to work for Maersk too.
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    For Narnia! Sentral's Avatar
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    Somali pirates.... lol. Crazy world.
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    I'd been considering applying to work for Maersk too.
    Do they give you combat pay?

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    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Thats the root of the problem, they don't provide onboard security forces. A 24 hour a day security detail with heavy weapons would be able to hold off the priates long enough for the Navy to respond. Oh wait, but then they couldn't use the Merchant Marines as infantry.
    Last edited by abachler; 04-13-2009 at 06:30 PM.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Isn't Bob McGee a sailor or something. Perhaps he could shed some light on this.

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    >> They don't provide onboard security forces

    I heard it argued this morning that the reason they avoid arming ships is because the pirates are generally non-violent, and so arming the crew or providing security forces escalates the situation to a point where more pirate attacks would be stopped, but there would also be an increase in casualties for the crews.

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    >> the only other option
    Why do you say that?

    I've heard several other options. For example, do nothing, it's not that big of a deal at the moment. Or invest money in the Somali coastal towns in an effort to reduce the benefits to those communities that are obtained from the pirates' ransom monies.

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    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    There's nothign to invest in, they have no natural resources to harvest, and no industrial capacity to produce goods or services. There is no stable governemnt which would make investing in infrastructure feasible or in any way sustainable. So what you are basically proposing is that we once again derail the natural political evolution of a stable system of government by imposing outside command and control systems on the local populace. I suppose that is only natural given our phenomenal success at such measures in Iraq Afghanistan and countless other countries.

    No, any measures must be entirely external. Protect our interests, but do not interfere with their internal conditions.

    Quote Originally Posted by wikipedia
    While millions of Somalis receive food aid,[59][60] according to a study by the UNDP and the European Commission, it is estimated that as much as $1 billion USD is annually remitted to Somalia by Somalis in the diaspora via money transfer companies—far more than the amount of development funding flowing into the country.[61]
    Last edited by abachler; 04-13-2009 at 07:51 PM.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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    In my head happyclown's Avatar
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    Here are some of my thoughts on the matter:

    1. The ships carrying expensive cargo should hire a team of armed guards for passage through the pirate zone. If there are tens of millions of dollars of cargo, $10K-50K for armed guards for the few days it takes to pass through the pirate zone is better than dishing out 3 million in ransom. Then drop the guards off at the nearest port and buy them a ticket home. Or put them onto another ship. The small boats/ships-that-don't-want-to-pay-for-armed-guards can tag along in a military convoy.

    2. Attack the pirate coastal bases.

    3. The pirate zone is too big for military ships to patrol, so use drone spyplanes.

    4. Pay the warlords to suppress piracy in areas they control, like in Iraq. Sometimes you got to use the local thugs to enforce control.

    5. Where possible, use lethal force to stage a rescue, like in the past few incidents. Sometimes the pirates win some, sometimes they lose some. A better mix than just automatic negotiation for ransom.
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    Do they give you combat pay?
    Depends on the company and nature of work. Hazard pay is offered when you transport cargoes through a conflict zone and/or transport things like ammo, jet fuel, bombs, etc. The ships that pull up along side aircraft carriers are manned mostly by civilian crews (making assloads of money because they're near lots of things that go boom).

    Thats the root of the problem, they don't provide onboard security forces. A 24 hour a day security detail with heavy weapons would be able to hold off the priates long enough for the Navy to respond. Oh wait, but then they couldn't use the Merchant Marines as infantry.


    Well, USMMA graduates are actually in the Navy, whereas when I graduate I just get a U.S. Coast Guard license, but I'm not technically in the military. Students at Mass. Maritime Academy are currently getting small arms training. Even on my school's training ship we've got 12 ga shotguns for skeet shooting, yet officially we're not supposed to not fight back were we to be boarded (same policy with the company I worked for in the Gulf of Mexico last summer). We've had stowaway-wannabes climb the mooring lines of our training ship in south Africa, but we shot them off with the fire hose.

    The argument against arming merchant ships is that doing so will spur an arms race between pirates and the merchant ships. Such an escalation might become more expensive to contain when it gets to the point that every engagement will yield substantial loss of life, more intervention by the navies of the world, damaged equipment, etc. Basically, the cost of downtime, ransom, the insurance the companies pay, and the occassional death, is all peanuts compared to what would basically amount to a small war. That war would only end with troops re-attempting to control Somalia.

    My take: the companies ought to only bring arms outside on deck when they are far offshore, sink the pirate skiffs that attempt to board, but publicly claim they are not arming their vessels. That way it'd just look like pirates backed off.
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    l'Anziano DavidP's Avatar
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    On a lighter note:

    1. I read that article today in the paper. It seems like something straight out of 24!

    2. Pirates of the Caribbean 4 anyone? (Even if it's not happening in the Caribbean...hey Pirates 3 hardly took place in the Caribbean at all).
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    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobMcGee123 View Post

    My take: the companies ought to only bring arms outside on deck when they are far offshore, sink the pirate skiffs that attempt to board, but publicly claim they are not arming their vessels. That way it'd just look like pirates backed off.
    Or just a few of the "containers" are really big machine gun nests .

    As far as I understand, isn't the hardest part about pirates working out whether or not they're on your ship? At least that's what I remember from a documentary.

    Personally I think the idea of not arming yourself because "then they'll look for better guns" is rather silly :-). Perhaps they should make all container ships into submarines?

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    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacs7 View Post
    Perhaps they should make all container ships into submarines?
    Cargo subs are only cost effective for extremely value dense cargo or critical war-time supplies.

    Ultimately any solution will involve denial of profit for the pirates. Killing them obviously denies them profit, but making it illegal to pay ransoms will also deny them profit. In fact for US companies it is already illegal to support terrorist organizations. I would say paying a ransom is clearly supporting ongoing terrorist activity.
    Last edited by abachler; 04-14-2009 at 03:54 AM.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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