Somali Pirates seize super tanker

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  • #2
LowlyPion
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It is time to use some high tech to lower the boom on these criminals.
I'm all for that.

Go in there and shoot first and ask later to any Zodiacs or speed boats far from the coast.

Don't tell me they can't track them back to where they go back ashore and send in some Apaches to alter their waterlines.
 
  • #4
lisab
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How the heck can some ruffians in a speedboat get aboard a super tanker???
Seems that it would be easy to keep them from coming aboard, doesn't it?

Installing some sort of locks on the control panels on the ship would be easy, too.
 
  • #5
mgb_phys
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They're almost a quarter of a mile long with a deck covered in pipework walkways and places to hide. You would need a lot of people to patrol it.
You have a crew contantly going in and out of the superstruture and the bad guys have machine guns so a few door locks wouldn't really help.

Normally the pirates just want the petty cash so there hasn't been a huge amount of effort to stop them - rather like not stopping hijackers before 9/11.
It looks like efforts might be improved, or at least ships provided with escorts.
 
  • #6
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Do you guys even read the articles? The crew was all of 25 people. They probably were not well armed (if armed at all). All it will take is a few people with weapons to take it over, and then threaten the crew if they don't unlock any control panels.

Edit: I mean really, how many people were on board the planes on 9/11, and they were hijacked by a couple of people with exacto knives. Only on one of the planes did the passengers manage to overpower the hijackers.
 
  • #7
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Do you guys even read the articles? The crew was all of 25 people. They probably were not well armed (if armed at all). All it will take is a few people with weapons to take it over, and then threaten the crew if they don't unlock any control panels.

Edit: I mean really, how many people were on board the planes on 9/11, and they were hijacked by a couple of people with exacto knives. Only on one of the planes did the passengers manage to overpower the hijackers.
I am confused how they got on the ship. Looking at super tanker photos, it's not like they dock next to the ship and step on. It looks especially hard if the tanker is moving at a fast click.
 
  • #8
LowlyPion
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How the heck can some ruffians in a speedboat get aboard a super tanker???
In some cases they don't I think.

They just move up alongside a tanker with RPG's. A $100M tanker with a load of crude spewing in the Indian Ocean weighed against a ransom looks like chump change foreign aid to the Saudis.
 
  • #9
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I am confused how they got on the ship. Looking at super tanker photos, it's not like they dock next to the ship and step on. It looks especially hard if the tanker is moving at a fast click.
LowlyPion's suggestion would work, or just match speed and throw a rope up.
 
  • #10
mgb_phys
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You just throw (or fire) a grapnel and climb up the rope. There are also a lot of ladders and gangways for pilot access etc. Because of piracy container ships are being more careful about stowing these but it hasn't been an issue for tankers upto now.
The usual defence is a firehose - large ships have lots of high power pumps and a RIB doesn't do well if you dump a few 1000 gallons of water on it!

It's quite hard to seriously damage a double hull tanker with an rpg or even crashing a speed boat into it, in addition it's not easyto set light to heavy crude.
 
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  • #11
LowlyPion
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You just throw (or fire) a grapnel and climb up the rope. There are also a lot of ladders and gangways for pilot access etc. Because of piracy container ships are being more careful about stowing these but it hasn't been an issue for tankers upto now.
The usual defence is a firehose - large ships have lots of high power pumps and a RIB doesn't do well if you dump a few 1000 gallons of water on it!

It's quite hard to seriously damage a double hull tanker with an rpg or even crashing a speed boat into it, in addition it's not easyto set light to heavy crude.
You'd think that putting a few counter-insurgency troops on board with a bit of weaponry would be a surprise. Imagine if an Apache gunship launched from the deck and hunted then down and just flat destroyed all pirate boats in the area? No surrender permitted. Wouldn't they want to rethink their idea of easy riches?
 
  • #12
Art
You'd think that putting a few counter-insurgency troops on board with a bit of weaponry would be a surprise. Imagine if an Apache gunship launched from the deck and hunted then down and just flat destroyed all pirate boats in the area? No surrender permitted. Wouldn't they want to rethink their idea of easy riches?
You're sounding a lot like GWB :biggrin: jk
 
  • #13
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i would be all for spraying them down with fuel if they get too close to the ship.
 
  • #14
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i would be all for spraying them down with fuel if they get too close to the ship.
For sure, who needs the all those sea creatures anyways.
 
  • #15
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I'm going to withhold the judgment as to whether the pirates are bad guys or not for now.

If you think about it, this new trend may be a side effect of an economic world crisis, and the effects it is having on the people who were already suffering massive crisis and famine.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/17/world/africa/17somalia.html

If you ask how did some ruffians manage to get aboard a super tanker, my answer is that life will find a way. Really for all I know these pirates may be heros. I don't know what they are going to do with the 36,000 tons of wheat that they highjacked, but there certainly are a lot of Somalians who could use it. I hope the pirates do the right thing there. I bet their eyes lit up when they found out that the ship was full of grain. Jackpot

The sad thing is that Somalia's main (almost only) export and source of income is food. The thing is that all of it gets shipped out to other countries who can afford to buy it.

I don't want to pardon the acts of piracy, or intend to know that these pirates are modern day robin hoods, but hey maybe they are.

Somalia is undergoing such horrible famine, but UN and other aids offering food won't go near the place in fear of being kidnapped or murdered. The result is that aid has been cut off.

One main reason that U.N. workers are so threatened is due to a U.S. air strike on one of Somalia's most famine ridden cities in an attempt at killing a terrorist, carried out under GWB.
 
  • #16
Hurkyl
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I'm going to withhold the judgment as to whether the pirates are bad guys or not for now.
For someone opening with this comment, you spend a surprising amount of effort to judge them as good guys.

You know, I don't want to call these guys villains intent on the destruction of all life in the western hemisphere, but hey, maybe they are!
 
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  • #17
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I'm just saying they have the potential to be. When a nation is under the threat of being starved out of existence, you'd expect fearless pirates. This may be a new thing that we will have to lump with terrorism as we watch the results of a free market, globalization, depleting resources, overpopulation and a crumbling world economy.

My main point was that, just that as the we move into the future, it is inevitable that many third world countries are going to increasing suffer.

The second point is that people will do extreme things under extreme crisis, and it doesn't suprise me that people in such an environment would be so fearless about it.

Third point, the irony that the piracy coencides with a world economic crisis, being felt most dramatically in places like Somalia. And the idea that some ruffians managed to hi jack 33000 tons of wheat.
 
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  • #18
Art
One less to worry about
BBC NEWS
India 'sinks Somali pirate ship'

An Indian navy warship has destroyed a suspected Somali pirate vessel after it came under attack in the Gulf of Aden.

INS Tabar sank the pirate "mother ship" after it failed to stop for investigation and opened fire instead, an Indian navy statement said.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/south_asia/7736885.stm
 
  • #19
LowlyPion
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I'm just saying they have the potential to be. When a nation is under the threat of being starved out of existence, you'd expect fearless pirates. This may be a new thing that we will have to lump with terrorism as we watch the results of a free market, globalization, depleting resources, overpopulation and a crumbling world economy.

My main point was that, just that as the we move into the future, it is inevitable that many third world countries are going to increasing suffer.

The second point is that people will do extreme things under extreme crisis, and it doesn't suprise me that people in such an environment would be so fearless about it.

Third point, the irony that the piracy coencides with a world economic crisis, being felt most dramatically in places like Somalia. And the idea that some ruffians managed to hi jack 33000 tons of wheat.
None of those are excuses.

They may be motivating factors, but they are no excuse to abandon civilization. They hijack for personal gain period. These aren't Robin Hoods. They should expect to be dealt with in the harshest terms, as the pirates of any age have been. And not just in Somalia but throughout the world wherever they prey. For instance the Strait of Malacca has been a hot bed for centuries.
 
  • #20
Borek
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Really for all I know these pirates may be heros. I don't know what they are going to do with the 36,000 tons of wheat that they highjacked, but there certainly are a lot of Somalians who could use it. I hope the pirates do the right thing there. I bet their eyes lit up when they found out that the ship was full of grain.
You may be absolutely sure they will not give the grain to those needing it. They will sell it for their own profit.

One of the problems faced by all food programs is that distribution is ineffective, because local warlords do whatever they can to control the food to be sure they can sell it instead of giving for free. This is happening especially in such regions as Somalia, where nation is too week to enforce law and order.

If you ask me - trap ship time. It worked during IWW, it will work this time.
 
  • #21
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Skip the Red Sea and sail around the horn. Somali pirates are crazy.
 
  • #22
LowlyPion
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Skip the Red Sea and sail around the horn. Somali pirates are crazy.
Why go out of the way?

Just hunt them down like dogs and exterminate them.

With pirate heads washing up on Somali shores they would get the message.
 
  • #23
Office_Shredder
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Who's going to hunt them down like dogs and exterminate them?
 
  • #24
LowlyPion
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Who's going to hunt them down like dogs and exterminate them?
Looks like this link that Art provided is a start.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/south_asia/7736885.stm

At $30M in hijackings so far this year that's beginning to be more than nuisance money. And besides that it is the kind of action US technology could easily dominate. Drone planes, sidewinder missiles, satellite surveillance and the symbolism of it all for the US to be doing the right thing in the world again.

Pirates are inevitably ruined by their own success. Threatening the world's shipping lanes puts the pirates down hill from the outhouse.
 
  • #25
mgb_phys
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Who's going to hunt them down like dogs and exterminate them?
Thats why tankers have generally been safe upto now.
If pirates hit a Liberian registered cargo ship carrying Chinese toys to Singapore who is going to pay for a naval escort? Hitting a tanker in the M.E. is a threat to the west's oil supply so is likely to provoke the displeasure of some people with a lot of firepower.
I imagine quite a few navies are annoyed that the Indians got first blood.

A company I worked for make a lot of the navigation and postioning systems used by rigs and tankers. We looked at building security and intruder detection systems but a lot of the areas like the Strait of Malacca or Straits of Hormuz are so busy with small boats that you can't fire missiles at every junk or fishing boat that approaches and even with a warning of an intruder onboard the crews are small, poorly paid and not about to risk their lives in a firefight.
Generally containerised and bulk cargos are difficult to dispose of so the target is usually just the ships operating cash and any personal possesions of the crew. Ironically on boarding a ship with $100Ms of cargo the pirates will typically get away with less than the value of the system thats supposed to detect them.
 
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