Feeds

Retro piracy - Should the Royal Navy kick arse?

Tackling the freebooters of the 'Gate of Tears'

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Ms Purves tells us that the Ministry of Defence has "finally" agreed to deploy HMS Northumberland, a Type 23 frigate, to Somali waters "after years of pathetic indecision". But that doesn't satisfy her and her unnamed source:

The Royal Navy that once cleared the seas of pirates (and before that, of slave ships) has until this meagre deployment been made powerless ... the Royal Navy has been cut savagely in recent years anyway, and is currently crippled by supplying half the manpower and airpower for landlocked Afghanistan ... For all the ignorant sea-blindness of this island nation, the cold fact is that without sea trade we would have little food, fuel, or goods ... Our force of destroyers and frigates has - in ten years - shrunk from 35 to 22 despite promises that it would not slip below 25. The number of smaller vessels, minehunters, decreases annually (they could be handy in this work) ... air cover is crippled, with one lot of planes gone and the next not ready.

There are some grains of truth there - it's a fact that the Royal Navy far more than any other organisation in the world was responsible for wiping out the seaborne slave trade in the 19th century, for instance. It's also a fact that the number of destroyers and frigates has fallen as described.

Royal Navy boarding team practicing

This gets you there a lot quicker

It's true too that HMS Northumberland is now off the Horn of Africa, and patrolling against the Somali pirates is part of her mission. Actually, though, she was sent on that task two months ago - well before the current media rumpus. The RN has been routinely taking part in the CTF 150 international security taskforce in those waters ever since 9/11, in fact. The ship's website makes much of its armed boarding team, all set to pile aboard a suspect vessel - and in the event of any resistance from scurvy buccaneers "armed with automatic weapons", more than ready to "return fire and take down the aggressors".

Also in the area is HMS Cumberland, another frigate, patrolling as part of a NATO taskforce. Again, Cumberland's presence was planned months ago. The Marines who dealt with the buccaneer dhow crew so briskly on Tuesday were based aboard the Cumberland, in fact.

As Ms Purves and her unnamed puppeteer suggest, Blighty can't spare any more frigates for this sort of work. But one thing the Royal Navy is never ever short of is admirals - so we've decided to send one of those instead. According to MoD spokesmen:

UK Defence Ministers have recently offered to provide the EU with a British Rear Admiral and an Operational Headquarters to lead a European mission to counter piracy.

Presumably someone else will provide the actual ships. (Good luck with that - other European countries mostly make our navy look massive. The only exception is the French, and they have plenty of admirals of their own.)

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators
Democrats needed just TWO more votes to keep alive bill reining in some surveillance
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.