Published on February 23, 2012 by Mark Lowe · No Comments
This excellent Reuters article by Peter Apps examines the rise in violence during acts of piracy and the ever greater recourse to armed security. Although private armed security and the tougher approach by international navies is working, many worry they may be fuelling a growing arms race, ramping up the conflict and producing a rising human and financial cost.
Out of sight, Somali piracy fight gets rougher
(Reuters) – When tanker master Miro Alibasic takes one of his company’s vast ships across the Indian Ocean, he likes to have all the firepower he can get on board.
Having seen last year how Somali pirates treat their captives, the 61-year-old is in no hurry to experience it again.
“It was hell on earth,” he told Reuters by telephone from his home in the Croatian port of Dubrovnik.
The number of ships seized in the region by Somali pirates fell last year, industry data shows, but the overall number of attempted attacks continues to rise and the raids have become increasingly violent.
Breaking the piracy “business model” and tackling Somalia’s onshore problems will be among the aims of a major international conference on Somalia in London on Thursday. But few are optimistic of a solution any time soon, and shippers say they must take matters into their own hands.
Greater use of private armed security guards on ships and a much tougher approach by international navies is beginning to work, some mariners, officials, contractors and military officers say. But others worry they may simply fuelling a growing arms race, ramping up the conflict and producing a rising human and financial cost.
In March last year, Alibasic was transporting a cargo of crude oil from Sudan to Asia when his tanker – the 100,000 ton United Arab Emirates-registered Zirku – came under attack. For 90 minutes, the pirates poured heavy machine gun and rocket propelled grenade fire into the vessel.
Then they were aboard, swarming over……….[access full article here]