Feeds

Follow the Somali pirate scourge via Google mashup

Indian navy sends buccaneer mothership to Davy Jones

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The world's media continues to follow the long-running piracy problems in the Gulf of Aden, with interest stimulated by last week's fatal shootings by Royal Marines off the Yemeni coast and the reported sinking of a buccaneer "mothership" by the Indian Navy yesterday evening. Meanwhile, other seaborne raiders in the region successfully hijacked five merchantmen including a 300,000-ton supertanker loaded with crude oil.

Coalition naval intel photo of suspected pirate 'mothership'

Ten fathoms deep on the road to hell

According to the International Maritime Bureau's weekly piracy summary, eleven ships were attacked in the Horn of Africa area in the week up to Monday. There were only four incidents in other areas around the world.

Ships were successfully seized in five of the reported pirate attacks in the region surrounding Somalia. These included the MV Sirius Star, the Saudi-owned Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) captured by pirates on Friday and now reported to be at anchor off the Somali coast. Hijacked ships, cargoes and crews are generally released unharmed after shipowners and insurers pay ransoms to the pirates.

A further four pirate attacks, according to the IMB, were unsuccessful due to evasive manoeuvring by merchant captains and other measures such as the use of fire hoses against boarding attempts. Two further attacks were repelled by international naval forces operating in the area, in one case by a helicopter launched from a warship and in the other by the warship itself.

Raiders normally make use of small, fast speedboats for actual attacks, in some cases operating directly from the coast. However, merchant ships are nowadays seldom foolish enough to come close inshore if they can avoid doing so. The region's main maritime chokepoint - the straits of the Bab-el-Mandeb ("The Gate of Tears") at the southern end of the Red Sea - is now intensively patrolled, and there have been no reported attacks there since July.

The majority of the attacks this year have in fact been seen nearer to Yemen than Somalia, as shipping hugs the Yemeni coast to the north of the Gulf of Aden in order to avoid passing near the lawless horn of Africa, where the main pirate base ports are.

Operations across the Gulf of Aden require the pirates to strike more than a hundred miles from their home bases. Even this is now a risky activity, with warships from most of the world's major navies now patrolling in the area, and there has been a recent trend for pirates to go even further afield, out into the vast expanses of the Indian Ocean. The Sirius Star was taken 450 miles out to sea, more than halfway to the Seychelles, and another big ship was unsuccessfully attacked the same day nearby.

Long-range operations like these can't be done using speedboats alone, and the pirates normally operate from mother vessels - usually large fishing craft or tugs. Such a mothership was apparently intercepted by the Indian warship INS Tabar two hundred miles out in the approaches to the Gulf of Aden yesterday. The pirates reportedly refused a command to stop and be boarded, and fired on the Indians with handheld weapons. The Indians returned fire, causing fires and explosions aboard the mothership sufficient to sink her.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
'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'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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 Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?