Feeds

Retro piracy - Should the Royal Navy kick arse?

Tackling the freebooters of the 'Gate of Tears'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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.)

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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'
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
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
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
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.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.