American Officials Address Piracy

Friday, November 21, 2008

On Nov. 19, 2008, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell today defended the military effort to deter piracy in the Gulf of Aden and called on commercial ships to do more against this scourge of the sea.

The U.S. 5th Fleet forms the core of the American effort in the Maritime Security Patrol Area, but other nations are involved. “Any number of countries are out there now, patrolling and having a deterrent effect in a huge body of water,” Morrell said. The Gulf of Aden – where recent attacks have occurred – has about 1.1 million square miles of open water.

More than 20 nations – under command of a Danish flag officer – are coordinating their efforts in the region.

The increasing level of piracy is having an impact on commercial shipping. Insurance rates for ships transiting the area went from $900 a year ago to $9,000 today, officials said. The criminal activity also affects the safety of mariners and has slowed delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia – the ungoverned area from which the pirates are operating.

The United States is working with the commercial shipping industry and the International Maritime Organization to ensure that crews employ reasonable self-protection measures -- proactive look-outs, evasive maneuvers and embarked security teams, for example -- to discourage pirates from attempting to take their vessels.

Though the overall number of successful pirate attacks has decreased, numbers of attempted attacks have risen, Pentagon officials said. Of 95 reported attacks on merchant vessels in 2008, 39 have been successful. The pirates have kidnapped 330 mariners, representing seamen from 25 nations.

Some attacks are thwarted by the presence of coalition military forces, while simple defensive measures have thwarted others. Embarked security teams are one way to foil these attacks, and U.S. officials are working to convince shippers to have these teams.

“Companies don’t even think twice about using security guards to protect their goods on shore,” said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman. “Protecting valuable ships at sea shouldn’t be any different.”

Though naval forces have the duty to protect international shipping lanes, shipping companies also have an obligation to secure their ships and to help prevent piracy incidents, Morrell said.

“There are shared responsibilities here,” the press secretary said. “I think we are stepping to the plate -- doing more than ever, for that matter. I think it's incumbent upon the companies to look more and more at what they can do to try to prevent these incidents from happening.”

The problem also includes a governance aspect, Morrell noted.

“This problem emanates not at sea. … It starts onshore, and clearly the Somali government needs help,” he said.

Somalia has no functioning government, and the warlords in the various regions do not have the capacity to deal with stopping piracy. Somalia needs more help from the United Nations and the African Union “to try to deal with some of the economic and governance problems that lead to the pirates,” Morrell said.

(Source: American Forces Press Service)


Maritime Security

Indian Warships Visit Port Victoria

In a demonstration of India’s commitment to its ties with Seychelles and maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region, Indian Naval Ships Kolkata, Trikand and

White House: Iranian Ships' Actions in Gulf Increase Risk of Miscalculation

Actions by Iranian vessels in several encounters with U.S. warships in the Gulf this week are cause for concern and increase risks of miscalculation, the White House said on Friday.

Australia Warns DCNS after Security Breach

Australian defence officials warned French naval contractor DCNS to beef up security in Australia, where it is preparing to build a A$50 billion ($38.13 billion) fleet of submarines,

News

Coast Guard Foundation Awarded 128 Scholarships

The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that

Keppel to Deliver First North Sea FPSO

Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M)'s wholly-owned subsidiary Keppel Shipyard Ltd (Keppel Shipyard) is on track to deliver a Floating Production Storage and Offloading

NASA May Send Submarine to Titan

NASA has unveiled plans to send a submarine into the depths of the largest ocean of Saturn's biggest moon, Titan in a bid to explore the depths of its largest ocean.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0852 sec (12 req/sec)