Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Timing Thing: What Has Taken So Long?

Nothing puts fear into pirates like a submarine torpedo. Blow enough pirates out of the water without any forewarning of presence, and pirates would have to put much more planning into their stinking (as in kickbacks to corrupt officials) raids.

While there has been at least one precedent for using a nuclear sub to help subdue pirates, the greater purpose may have been to generate positive PR.

There are distinct hindrances to using submarines for pirate control. First, subs are so heavily tasked with priority missions they just cannot be spared. Next, torpedoes carried by subs are great for blasting aircraft carriers, but would be expensive overkill for expunging shallow draft, lightweight assault craft.

The next best thing would be SEALs or Marines. Again, none to spare for pirate combat and potential legal issues may prohibit unrestricted use.

A highly informative, pirate-related blog, EagleSpeak, long ago reported use of private security contractors to protect merchant shipping. The contractor, Asia Risk Solutions, included former Australian Defence Force and police specialists are employed by Background Asia Risk Solutions, a Singapore-based company that provides armed escorts for tankers and oil platforms in the seas north of Australia.

Well, EagleSpeak also told us who was blocking use of private security to protect shipping in the Strait of Malacca: Malaysia in May 2005.

Three years later, Galrahn reports Blackwater Worldwide today announced that its 183 foot ship, the McArthur, stands ready to assist the shipping industry as it struggles with the increasing problem of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and elsewhere. As Insurance and Pay Rates Soar for Gulf of Aden-bound Shipments, Blackwater offers Shipping Industry a Solution (Galrahn's source):

As a company founded and run by former Navy SEALs, with a 50,000-person data base of former military and law enforcement professionals, Blackwater is uniquely positioned to assist the shipping industry in the Gulf of Aden and elsewhere. The International Maritime Bureau estimates that more than 70 ships have been attacked off Somalia since January. As of October 15, 2008, 11 ships and 200 crew members were still being held for ransom.

The question is, What has taken so long? Molten Eagle originally suspected (July 2005) that: use of private security escorts offered a legal avenue for special ops resources of unnamed countries to go after troublesome pirates in large vessels under the guise of rendering assistance or training. A few Mk-37 torpedoes (newer types would be much too costly) could take out the larger pirates ships. Several countries stock the Mk-37s.

Was Malaysia's Pirate Protection Program ('P3' Legal Initiative) copied by other Islamic states (i.e. Somalia, Gulf of Aden)? That could be a good assumption, but something else seems afoot. Sticking with my original assessment (HINT: Was that a SEAL, an ex-SEAL, or a native trainee? Hmmm.)



Post a Comment

<< Home