Feeds

Retro piracy - Should the Royal Navy kick arse?

Tackling the freebooters of the 'Gate of Tears'

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Analysis As everyone knows, runaway piracy is a terrible threat. Unchecked, pirates might destroy the very business models which underpin much of our economy, bringing legitimate commerce to a halt - with devastating consequences both for those who make things and for those who use them.

That may or may not be true on the internet: but just lately, a headline featuring the word "piracy" has actually been more likely to refer to the hijacking or looting of ships at sea, as in the pre-digital era. Specifically, most of the recent coverage has been focused on modern-day freebooters operating from the lawless coast of Somalia.

Royal Marines on boarding ops in the Gulf of Aden

This is one way of chasing pirates

Just this Tuesday, in fact, Royal Marine Commandos* in seaboats got into a gunfight with the crew of a small pirate dhow which had previously attempted to seize a Danish merchantman not far away. Having been fired on by the foolhardy freebooters as they approached, the Marines killed two of the pirates and the rest surrendered smartly - but this doesn't signal the end of piracy in the area. Indeed, the following day, even as the news of the success broke, a Turkish tanker was seized in the very same waters.

Somali and Yemeni buccaneers are a particular problem for international trade as they are ideally situated to prey on traffic passing through the Bab el Mandeb ("the Gate of Tears") - the narrow strait at the southern end of the Red Sea, which carries all the traffic between the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean. Wherever there's a maritime chokepoint like that, and a poor or lawless region nearby to act as a safe haven, you get piracy. Another well-known hotspot, for instance, is the Singapore Strait.

So the Bab-el-Mandeb has been a somewhat risky area for peaceful mariners time out of mind, and riskier still since the collapse of any effective government in Somalia. Nowadays piracy off the Somali coast is endemic, with gunmen in speedboats seizing entire ships as often as once a week - then often holding them for ransom in the infamous pirate port of Eyl. (So far there isn't all that much reselling of ships and cargoes, apparently. Ransoms are seen as simpler and more profitable.)

There's been a good deal of arm-waving about all this in the British press lately. For instance, this remarkable effort from Times columnist Libby Purves, headed: "It's time to take on the gangsters of the sea - We run down British naval power at our peril. Without it we would have little food, fuel, or goods - or safety". (Emphasis mine.)

Purves has plainly been having a chat off the record with a serving or former Royal Naval officer or two - as also seemed rather likely in the case of the recent Lloyds List piece which sought to place the blame for the Navy's failure to stamp out piracy in the region on political-correctness-gone-mad at the Foreign Office.

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.