A342
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How To Fight Pirates?

Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:59 pm

The recent developments around the Horn of Africa got me thinking: What is the best way to combat pirate ships/boats?

IMO the large "motherships" are relatively easy to fight: They have a big radar signature and conventional anti-shipping missiles or large caliber guns (mounted on warships) can be used.

But what about small boats such as zodiacs? Their radar and IR signatures must be very small, so they are hard to find. If they are within visible range of a warship, small guns (20 - 30 mm) can be used effectively. But can they be detected over large distances? And once you find them, how do you sink them? Most anti-shipping missiles are way to large and unpractical for these small, maneuverable boats. Using guns mounted in combat aircraft / helicopters can't be a very good solution either.


What are your thoughts concerning this issue?


A342
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curlyheadboy
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:41 pm

Interesting thread A342,
I agree that sinking larger vessels should be relatively easy with anti-ship missiles, those can be launched directly from navy ships, helicopters, fighters and anti-submarine aircrafts. Getting an Harpoon hit on a large target, with no counter-measures should be very easy and a single hit should sink or at least permanently disable the opponent vessel.
When it comes to small boats that are not within visual range and cannot be detected or fired upon with small guns, I think you're kinda forced into considering them targets of opportunity: Once you can get a positive ID that the particular boat is a legitimate target, you send what you have.
Every navy has its own weapon systems, needless to say. I think the US Navy can launch AGM-65 missiles from the F-18... and the AGM-114 from SH-60s, that's what I would use if the target was offrange (but you must have a carrier in the theatre and that's not always the case). Other than that, everything would work on a small boat, yet it's very difficult to get there in the first place, that's a reason why piracy is such a pain to fight.
IMO the ideal would be having UAVs armed with AGM-114s patrolling the area from the sky but the operating range of current versions make it difficult to put this into practice...
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pelican
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:44 pm



Quoting A342 (Thread starter):
Using guns mounted in combat aircraft / helicopters can't be a very good solution either.

Why? While I can imagine that detecting zodiacs isn't easy I don't see any problems why hunting zodiacs with choppers shouldn't be a good solution. Choppers could be used to find them in the first place, too.

pelican
 
MCIGuy
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:52 pm

The best defense is a killer offense.  Wink
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Areopagus
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:24 pm

Equip the tankers with Phalanx close-in weapons systems.
 
Flighty
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:27 pm

How to fight pirates... India will enjoy using them for more target practice.
 
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STT757
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:44 pm



Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 3):
The best defense is a killer offense

Absolutely, hire some rival pirates to harass pirates. It worked in Anbar Province in Iraq, the Marines brought the local Sunni insurgency into their payroll and rolled Al Qaeda out of Abhar.
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Lumberton
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:54 pm

A couple of considerations.

1.Just like fighting an insurgency, good intel is paramount.
2. Given the huge swath of ocean these criminals are capable of operating, the few warships available must be augmented by effective maritime recon aircraft, who can vector the nearest naval platforms to make the intercept.

Of course, the problem with this is gathering actionable intelligence and who will contribute the necessary assets?
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
osiris30
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:12 am



Quoting A342 (Thread starter):
But what about small boats such as zodiacs? Their radar and IR signatures must be very small, so they are hard to find. If they are within visible range of a warship, small guns (20 - 30 mm) can be used effectively. But can they be detected over large distances? And once you find them, how do you sink them? Most anti-shipping missiles are way to large and unpractical for these small, maneuverable boats. Using guns mounted in combat aircraft / helicopters can't be a very good solution either.

Take out the pirates before they get into the little boats.. ala air strike.
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474218
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:54 am

Just how do they get on board the Tankers from those Zodiac's?
 
TGIF
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:37 am



Quoting A342 (Thread starter):
But what about small boats such as zodiacs?

Tankers around Thailand and Indonesia have had trouble with pirates before this Somalian crisis. From what I'm heard, deck lighting during night and water canons have worked out quite well. A zodiac will fill-up quite fast...  Smile
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:05 am



Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 3):
The best defense is a killer offense.

I agree, use the AC-130s  bigthumbsup 
 
LifelinerOne
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:08 am



Quoting 474218 (Reply 9):
Just how do they get on board the Tankers from those Zodiac's?

The large oil tanker hijacked this week was entered with ropes, just like the old days. The crew of the tanker was found surprised, because the pirates were operating miles away from their normal territory. The tanker was going along near Mombasa, Kenia.

Cheers!  wave 
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curlyheadboy
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:39 am



Quoting Pelican (Reply 2):
Why? While I can imagine that detecting zodiacs isn't easy I don't see any problems why hunting zodiacs with choppers shouldn't be a good solution. Choppers could be used to find them in the first place, too.

I agree, but the main point is that you need to be there at the right time. Once they seize a ship with all the crew you're done, they win. I don't think you can effectively fight them at sea, you should rather find their land bases and JDAM the living daylight out of them.
But, then again, if the discussion is about how to sink a zodiac, I agree a simple machine gune on a helicopter can do the job.
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osiris30
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:28 pm



Quoting CURLYHEADBOY (Reply 13):
you should rather find their land bases and JDAM the living daylight out of them.

Yep.. At this point the whole piracy thing is a very low risk venture for these pirates. A couple of airstrikes would go a long way to changing that mindset.
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GST
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:49 pm



Quoting CURLYHEADBOY (Reply 13):
you should rather find their land bases and JDAM the living daylight out of them.
But, then again, if the discussion is about how to sink a zodiac, I agree a simple machine gune on a helicopter can do the job.

That is all well and good but in a lawless country such as somalia there is no reason to suppose the pirates are not operating from busy ports used by fiishing fleets and the population at large. AIr strikes would in these cases achieve a huge ammount of human suffering for relatively low odds of seriously damaging the pirates ability to put to sea. I suppose you could get boots on the ground but that seems hellishly likely to bring us back to the 1993 scenario.


I agree however that helicopters are the best means of dealing with them, perhaps the USMC cobras are the ultimate, a navilised gunship with weapons capable of cutting zodiacs in half and crippling fairly large base ships.

Is there any reason why chinooks couldnt deploy boats like they already can recover special forces zodiacs? On clam water days I'm getting an image of a cobra and chinook being vectored to pirate speedboats by maritime patrol aircraft, the cobra firing warning shots and being generally ready to hose the target whilst the chinook puts marines in their own zodiacs "feet wet" to make a stop and search on the target, with the possibility of taking prisoners if weapons are found. Perhaps a fantasy but it makes me smile.


Regardless any serious attempt to stop piracy in the region requires massive cooperation. Effective maritime patrol aircraft are required, to communicate with naval units and other assets, all if possible backed up by boots on the ground giving info like where the bases are and when pirates put to sea etc.
 
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par13del
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:13 pm

I posted this option in the political forum, will add it to this thread. My theory is to harden the target, as no one right now has any desire to correct the problem within the country - Somalia -, it has been lawless for years and no one really cares, UN, EU, US, etc. so my options are:

1. Establish bases with troops and helicopters in the friendly countries neighbouring Somalia, essentially at the northern and southern end of the shipping lane.
2. When vessels are about to enter the shipping lane, fly armed troops out to the ship with the intent of repelling boarders
3. When the vesseles are leaving the shiping lane, helicopters go out and pick up the troops.
4. This venture would be paid for by the insurance and shipping companies who are presently paying ransom

This would be much cheaper than invading Somalia and attempting to establish a functioning govt. Navy ships can continue to patrol the lane, when the zodiacs are repelled and contact their mother ship for help, those on the target ship would do the same, who would get their first? Navy ships also have helicopters, so if the mother ship comes to the rescue they would have to expose themselves which presently they do not want to do, India got lucky and caught one, the first so far in the months since international navies have been on the scene

Pirates made one fatal mistake and got unlucky on another, the ship with weapons and the tanker. The school of thought who say that everything is done for oil will now have to stand up and be counted as they are now attacking tankers.
 
A342
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:19 pm



Quoting Pelican (Reply 2):
I don't see any problems why hunting zodiacs with choppers shouldn't be a good solution.



Quoting CURLYHEADBOY (Reply 13):
But, then again, if the discussion is about how to sink a zodiac, I agree a simple machine gune on a helicopter can do the job.

I'm no expert, but I think this is only feasible if the guns/canons are moveable. Aiming at a zodiac with fixed weapons must be a nightmare.
We should also consider the need to minimise the risk for aircraft / ship crews. It's better to fight the pirates from a distance where they can't use machine guns themselves.

Quoting Osiris30 (Reply 8):
Take out the pirates before they get into the little boats

If possible, that's the best option of course. But in many cases, you can only see them when it's too late.


But the question how to find them over long distances is still largely unanswered. Does anyone know the typical detection range of a maritime radar for small boats with little metal content?
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
Alessandro
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:34 pm

Well, it´s a wast area, I´m not too convinced about an military solution. I think a creation of
Somaliland which could jail pirates (and keep them in, the recent jailbreak shows that these
are well organized) and it would shrink the coastline with 25% which the pirates can operate from. A functioning government in Hargeisa recognized by all but Mogadishu would be the ultimate.
Pic from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/95/Saaylac.jpg
Showing how the coastline can look in Somaliland, not all of Somalia is a desert, the impression you easily get by the media coverage from the Mog.

[Edited 2008-11-21 10:45:07]
From New Yorqatar to Califarbia...
 
11Bravo
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:01 pm



Quoting A342 (Reply 17):
If possible, that's the best option of course. But in many cases, you can only see them when it's too late.

But the question how to find them over long distances is still largely unanswered.

Excellent points, and frankly points that have no easy answer. On any given day, the waters off the Somali coast are populated by hundreds of small boats and ships any one of which might be a pirate vessel. I don’t think the problem is detecting ships, or the range at which that can be done, the problem is determining which boats are actually pirate “targets” and which are not.

I support the notion that it is appropriate to attack and destroy these pirates using naval and/or air assets, but I suspect that is much easier said than done. If we blow up some fishing boat by mistake, and kill a bunch of civilians, that would very likely be viewed as unacceptable by the international community.
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osiris30
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:51 pm



Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 19):
If we blow up some fishing boat by mistake, and kill a bunch of civilians, that would very likely be viewed as unacceptable by the international community.

I know I'm going to get flamed for this but.... if we did do that, perhaps said citizens wouldn't be so quick to support the pirates anymore. Sadly Somalia is a mess these days and something is going to have to give or it won't stop any time soon.
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DfwRevolution
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:07 pm



Quoting Par13del (Reply 16):

1. Establish bases with troops and helicopters in the friendly countries neighbouring Somalia, essentially at the northern and southern end of the shipping lane.
2. When vessels are about to enter the shipping lane, fly armed troops out to the ship with the intent of repelling boarders
3. When the vesseles are leaving the shiping lane, helicopters go out and pick up the troops.
4. This venture would be paid for by the insurance and shipping companies who are presently paying ransom

This would be much cheaper than invading Somalia and attempting to establish a functioning govt.

It's still a huge recurring cost compared to other options, though. This is a costly nuisance for sure, but I think it's important to avoid getting drawn into a prolonged police action.

I think the best solution was hit upon right here:

Quoting Curlyheadboy (Reply 1):
IMO the ideal would be having UAVs armed with AGM-114s patrolling the area from the sky but the operating range of current versions make it difficult to put this into practice...

This option would allow the most aggressive pursuit of pirates for the manpower cost or risk. The U.S. Navy is already operating an advanced decedent of the Predator known as the MQ-9 Reaper, which as the Wikipedia article states is bigger, longer-ranged, and carries more weaponry.

With a claimed endurance of 36 hours and a 220 kt cruise speed, that's essentially a range of 7,000 miles. That should be plenty of endurance to base patrol missions from an existing USAF air field.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MQ-9_Reaper
 
MCIGuy
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:06 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 11):
Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 3):
The best defense is a killer offense.

I agree, use the AC-130s

You read my mind! Big grin

Quoting GST (Reply 15):
I agree however that helicopters are the best means of dealing with them, perhaps the USMC cobras are the ultimate, a navilised gunship with weapons capable of cutting zodiacs in half and crippling fairly large base ships.


A few Hellfires near the water line and/or into a magazine and it's game over for the mother ship too.  Smile
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TIMC
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:14 am



Quoting STT757 (Reply 6):

Absolutely, hire some rival pirates to harass pirates. It worked in Anbar Province in Iraq, the Marines brought the local Sunni insurgency into their payroll and rolled Al Qaeda out of Abhar.

I'm sorry but I think that is a particularly naive way to go about things. If you empower a rival group of pirates, once you've got rid of the original problem, you've then got the people you hired to deal with.

This has happened time and again throughout history. A lot of the problems in Afghanistan can be traced to various countries arming the population there in the late 70s and early 80s against the Soviets and that has led to rival factions becoming the al-Qaeda we know today. Arming a group of unaffiliated people is a very dangerous road to go down as you don't know how many other groups it will splinter off into and what will come back to bite you later on.
 
Lumberton
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:30 am

Quoting GST (Reply 15):
AIr strikes would in these cases achieve a huge ammount of human suffering for relatively low odds of seriously damaging the pirates ability to put to sea.

Agreed. As for striking their ships, terrorists in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan have learned to (skillfully) exploit the media by using non-combatants as cover. When casualties occur, the initial reports are generally not favorable and inflame public opinion in the Islamic world. The pirates could take a page out of the same play book and use a "human shield" approach, only the non-combatants would be children. What then? That's why intelligence is vital.

Quoting Par13del (Reply 16):
1. Establish bases with troops and helicopters in the friendly countries neighbouring Somalia, essentially at the northern and southern end of the shipping lane.

Yes, but who is going to provide the assets?

Edit: Well, the Saudis want to play now.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...7&sid=af9WnV_oByg8&refer=worldwide

[Edited 2008-11-21 16:40:20]
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MCIGuy
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 1:05 am

CIA and/or Special Forces on the ground, buying intelligence.  Wink
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cloudy
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:39 am

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htseamo/articles/20081119.aspx

This seems like a good summary. The reason the problem has grown....


....The pirates are smart enough to avoid major violence where possible, and they treat their captives well. This gives them a low profile and avoids attracting a strong response, and even gives them a kind of "Robin Hood" appeal.
......A lot of people benefit from the earnings of piracy.
.....Shipping and insurance companies find it easy to just pay the ransoms and pass
on the costs.
....The pirates are now capable of attacking in a much wider area.

Now that the total ransoms paid and loot stolen is starting to hurt, the problem is finally attracting attention.

Perhaps there needs to be some sort of agreed upon procedure for dealing with states that have fallen into a state of anarchy. Sending guarded aid shipments and paying off extortionists may ease short term pain. But in the long term we could be "enabling" such conditions to continue with such policies. There arn't any easy answers....
 
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par13del
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:11 am



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 24):
Yes, but who is going to provide the assets?

Since they will only be travelling on the ship for a day or two you probably don't need special troops, regulars should be ok, as you are only hardening the target, the Red Sea nations should be able to provide the troops.
The helicopters are the more expensive option, but since they won't be doing any combat, the UN, EU or even the Russians may be able to provide a transport helo.

The predator sounds easy but who is going to approve the killing of pirates in a speedboat? Lets look at the situation, a predator spots a speed boat a mile or so away from a commercial vessel, who is going to appove the shot, persons right now have a problem with the US strikes in Afghanistan, so who's going to approve this one on suspects who have not yet opened fire on the ship? Once they do open fire and attempt to board, the predator no longer has a target as the ship is now in the way, so back to square, you have to shoot first and ask questions later, I do not see the EU, UN or the Russians approving this type of action on behalf of someone other than themselves. The US probably would, but since they are getting grief for their handling of the war on terror they seem content to let the Europeans take the lead on this one, so????
 
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:30 am



Quoting A342 (Thread starter):
IMO the large "motherships" are relatively easy to fight: They have a big radar signature and conventional anti-shipping missiles or large caliber guns (mounted on warships) can be used.

I think sinking the motherships will solve most of the problem. With their little zodiacs they can't go that far out so their effective operating range will be drastically reduced. It should then be possible for commercial shipping to avoid the areas they can still operate in.

And the few places where they do have to go within range of the pirates could then be easily patrolled by naval warships.
 
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cpd
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:23 am

I also believe that getting rid of the mother vessels will sort most of the problem out.

Most ships can then venture as they wish, staying out of range of the pirates in their little fishing boats and other small craft.

Another possibility, why not have some razor wire around the perimeters of these large ships? Powerful water cannons might also be a nice idea.

If all else fails, bring in the helicopter gunships...
 
GST
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:45 am

Perhaps the freighters could learn a thing or two from the Japanese whaling ships and how they defend themselves from protesters.
 
Ozair
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:55 am



Quoting Cpd (Reply 29):
Another possibility, why not have some razor wire around the perimeters of these large ships? Powerful water cannons might also be a nice idea.

Are you brave enough to fire a water cannon at a guy in a boat while he is aiming an AK or RPG at you?

Quoting Curlyheadboy (Reply 1):
I agree that sinking larger vessels should be relatively easy with anti-ship missiles, those can be launched directly from navy ships, helicopters, fighters and anti-submarine aircrafts. Getting an Harpoon hit on a large target, with no counter-measures should be very easy and a single hit should sink or at least permanently disable the opponent vessel.

Settle down there....popping off a radar guided cruise missile is not a simple matter. What happens if there are other ships in the area? SSMs usually target the first or largest target visible which may not be the vessel your interested in. What happens if the missile malfunctions?

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 21):
This option would allow the most aggressive pursuit of pirates for the manpower cost or risk. The U.S. Navy is already operating an advanced decedent of the Predator known as the MQ-9 Reaper, which as the Wikipedia article states is bigger, longer-ranged, and carries more weaponry.

With a claimed endurance of 36 hours and a 220 kt cruise speed, that's essentially a range of 7,000 miles. That should be plenty of endurance to base patrol missions from an existing USAF air field.

These aircraft have a far more important mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. No point wasting them chasing pirates when you have navies around the world looking for something to do.

There are a large number of nations that could easily provide one vessel for use here. Base a few P-3 aircraft in the area for identification, seize and secure the vessels and the problem is solved.
 
curlyheadboy
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 11:44 am



Quoting Ozair (Reply 31):
Settle down there....popping off a radar guided cruise missile is not a simple matter. What happens if there are other ships in the area? SSMs usually target the first or largest target visible which may not be the vessel your interested in. What happens if the missile malfunctions?

If the missile malfunctions, it could either just dive into the sea, and that's just a miss, or sink a cargo ship or blow a fishermen's boat into the heavens. Then it's big trouble. However, as far as I know from my readings, modern anti-ship missiles make a radar-INS (sometimes even GPS) crosscheck between the target they're homing onto and the coordinates they're given, so if it doesn't actually malfunction, it should hit the right target.
In effect, as someone correctly stated above, if you pick the wrong target in the first place, the missile can't tell you were wrong.

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 24):
Quoting GST (Reply 15):
AIr strikes would in these cases achieve a huge ammount of human suffering for relatively low odds of seriously damaging the pirates ability to put to sea.

Agreed. As for striking their ships, terrorists in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan have learned to (skillfully) exploit the media by using non-combatants as cover. When casualties occur, the initial reports are generally not favorable and inflame public opinion in the Islamic world. The pirates could take a page out of the same play book and use a "human shield" approach, only the non-combatants would be children. What then? That's why intelligence is vital.

Yes, good point both of you... I apologize for sounding a bit too much trigger-happy in my statements above, but those people attacking defensless civilians doing their hard work on the sea just really piss me off!
If God had wanted men to fly he would have given them more money...
 
r2rho
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:01 pm

A ver interesting thread with no easy answers!

Lots of interesting thoughts, but many of them not realistic given current conditions: the US are fighting more important conflicts in Irak and Afghanistan, so they will not (and should not) divert valuable assets to fight off pirates. So the question here is: how can we fight off pirates in a relatively cheap and simple way that doesn't divert assets from more important conflicts?

One way would be to bring in the neighboring Arab and African countries. The EU should take the lead on this and engage themselves fully in the matter. The US should help out but stay primarily concentrated on its two wars.

As for the operational side:

Quoting Curlyheadboy (Reply 1):
Getting an Harpoon hit on a large target, with no counter-measures should be very easy and a single hit should sink or at least permanently disable the opponent vessel.

I think we all agree that sinking the motherships is relatively simple, especially compared to sinking the zodiacs. I believe it's the most effective way to go about this since by eliminating the mother ships you drastically reduce the pirate's range and capabilities.

Quoting Pelican (Reply 2):
I don't see any problems why hunting zodiacs with choppers shouldn't be a good solution. Choppers could be used to find them in the first place, too.

Problem with choppers is that they lack the range and endurance to do combat patrols over large areas of ocean, which makes them unfeasible for this task. While they would be effective at the moment of engaging them, the problem is having enough fuel to get to them, fight, and make it back to your ship.

Quoting Par13del (Reply 16):
1. Establish bases with troops and helicopters in the friendly countries neighbouring Somalia, essentially at the northern and southern end of the shipping lane.

Already done in Djibouti by some EU countries - should be reinforced and extended.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 31):
Base a few P-3 aircraft in the area for identification, seize and secure the vessels and the problem is solved.

I know that Spain already has a P-3 in the area for this task (there may be others too).

In fact, of you look at all the things that have been said in the thread, the ideal means to fight the pirates would be a sort of "P-3 light gunship", which unfortunately doesn't exist....
 
okelleynyc
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:22 pm

Interesting thread...

I don't have a clue as to how realistic this may be, but I'm reminded of the strategies used during World War II to protect troop and supply ships crossing the Atlantic.

In a word; Convoys. Couldn't "trains" of container ships move en masse through the region and be protected by a littoral combat frigate? Coordination and staging of the ships may be too problematic for this idea, but who knows? Actually I bet someone on this board will point out the flaws.

In other words, what I'm suggesting, is rather than having the pirates dictate the time and place of their attacks, make them come out to meet the armed convoy.

Rgds
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Lumberton
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:36 pm



Quoting Okelleynyc (Reply 34):
but I'm reminded of the strategies used during World War II to protect troop and supply ships crossing the Atlantic.

Let's back up one war...WW1.

Remember "Q" ships? These were very armed merchants, masquerading as unarmed ships. The idea was to bring a U boat to close quarters and open fire.

Perhaps this would throw an element of uncertainty in the pirates' planning?
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
r2rho
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:55 pm

The region is worth a google maps visit to give you an idea of the kind of places these guys operate from:

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=1...631&spn=0.036296,0.055275&t=h&z=14

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=1...607&spn=0.009048,0.013819&t=h&z=16
 
Max Q
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:24 am

Q Ships are a great idea Lumberton, I would love to see the look on their faces when they realise the 'lamb' is a Wolf !

Just the uncertainty they would introduce would be quite a deterrent.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sun Nov 23, 2008 9:30 am



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 35):
Perhaps this would throw an element of uncertainty in the pirates' planning?



Quoting Max Q (Reply 37):
Just the uncertainty they would introduce would be quite a deterrent.

My guess is the pirates are not useing much preplanning. I believe they set sail for open waters, and attack targets of opportunities.

A lot of people don't seem to understand this and point to the Saudi super tanker recently taken off Kenya. What most don't understand is the Somlia/Kenya boarder is only 100 mn south of Mogodisu. These guys have been operating up to 500 nm from shore for a long time, using very basic navigation techniques (wind, tides, drift, compass, speed, sun lines, maybe something like a sextant). It is not difficult to navigate on water, as long as you know where your destination is.
 
GST
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sun Nov 23, 2008 10:50 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 38):
These guys have been operating up to 500 nm from shore for a long time, using very basic navigation techniques (wind, tides, drift, compass, speed, sun lines, maybe something like a sextant). It is not difficult to navigate on water, as long as you know where your destination is.

These days GPS systems are dirt cheap too, so there is no reason they don't know exactly on the face of the globe they are, positioning themselves exactly where they want to be.

Quoting Max Q (Reply 37):
Q Ships are a great idea Lumberton, I would love to see the look on their faces when they realise the 'lamb' is a Wolf !

Just the uncertainty they would introduce would be quite a deterrent.

I agree Q ships would be a deterrent...for a while. Modifying a freighter to carry guns, especially hidden ones is not an inexpensive process. Add to that the possibility many nations would now consider your vessel a warship and deny you docking, how many captains run the horn gauntlet that frequently to inconvenience their operations this much? Besides, when a ship is converted in this day and age its identity would be on the Internet before the work is even started, what is to stop the pirates satellite-phoneing (another relatively cheap gadget in this day and age) someone on land to check up on the identity of any ship they see on the horizon before making the go/no go call?
 
Lumberton
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sun Nov 23, 2008 12:42 pm

Quoting GST (Reply 39):
many nations would now consider your vessel a warship and deny you docking, how many captains run the horn gauntlet that frequently to inconvenience their operations this much?

And there would be insurance considerations as well....

I threw it out there though as an alternative. Without dedicated intel assets to vector scarce assets to the pirates, wouldn't it be better if the pirates came to the assets?

Our imaging assets are a tad busy at the moment. Don't know about the Russians, Chinese, or the rest of NATO, but without intelligence, one is forced to (1) convoy; (2) patrol and hope to get lucky; (3) react to an attack; (4) blockade.

Making the criminals think twice about attacking a seemingly unarmed vessel has a certain appeal....

Edit: The Russians are advocating offensive action on land. However, they are not volunteering their forces for the effort. Very generous of them.
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/

Quote:
But Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's envoy to NATO, said this week: "It's up to the European Union, NATO and others to launch a coastal land operation to eliminate the pirates," adding that this "should be coordinated with Russia."

[quote]

[Edited 2008-11-23 04:49:43]
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
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par13del
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sun Nov 23, 2008 1:49 pm



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 40):
And there would be insurance considerations as well....

I threw it out there though as an alternative. Without dedicated intel assets to vector scarce assets to the pirates, wouldn't it be better if the pirates came to the assets?

And thats the reason why I think it will be difficult to get rid of the mother ships, under what laws are you going to board and search them, whose flag do they fly under, and would you have to get permission from the flag country's govt. first, take all these under consideration then figure out how easy it would be to let loose a missile, that would only happen if the mother ship first attacked a naval ship which seems to be the case with the Indian navy.

As mentioned earlier, intelligence is the key, but whose going to fund air patrols, which is what is needed, as ships do not cover ground fast enough. I fear nothing more than what is taking place now will get done, only if more super tankers are attacked or some company decides to place a high value target in the region to draw more attention, this will go on until something happens on land, and presently, we all have to wait for the Somali population to do that.
 
MCIGuy
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:58 pm



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 40):
Edit: The Russians are advocating offensive action on land. However, they are not volunteering their forces for the effort. Very generous of them.
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/

Quote:
But Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's envoy to NATO, said this week: "It's up to the European Union, NATO and others to launch a coastal land operation to eliminate the pirates," adding that this "should be coordinated with Russia."

If we have to do it ourselves then "coordinate this"!  Wink
Airliners.net Moderator Team
 
bennett123
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:45 pm

Personally , I favour Phalanx rather than missiles, (you have a better idea where your projectiles will end up).

Helicopters, (even armed UHI/Lynx) would also be excellent. I prefer armed transports to Gunships as they are more flexible.

Frankly, I regard AC130 as overkill except for the largest targets.

I agree that the motherships are the first priority.

Has anyone considered the use on some sort of Convoy system.

Finally, if we start arming cargo ships, and the pirates still succeed in seizing your ship, no more Mr Nice Pirate.
 
Woodreau
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:44 am

There's one other place (well two) other places that I am aware of that are similar but not the same in terms of interdicting pirates.

You'll have to go back to the forgotten war on drugs that is still being waged in the Eastern Pacific and the Caribbean, where there may be 6 warships that patrol against drug smugglers that are using motherships, go-fasts and submarines to smuggle narcotics from South American into North America.

The key to any naval operation is maintaining what is called a Relevant Maritime Picture (or RMP) as they call it and the related RAP (relevant air picture) - it involves using intelligence, and building a surface and air picture so that you know who is out there - both blue (friendly), red (enemy), and white (neutral) shipping - and what they are doing. Until then you can't do anything as you will never have enough resources to defend/interdict everything.

The difference in the narcotics war is that instead of trying to destroy go-fasts that are carrying the narcotics, we are trying to capture them intact so that we can capture evidence. But the end result is the same, we are trying to detect small vessels that do not easily show up on radar.

The easy part is destroying pirate vessels once you find them - the hard part is finding them in the first place and being in the right place at the right time to do anything about it.
Once you have a RMP/RAP and know who's out there and where they are, it becomes a much easier task deciding where to position your limited assets to be in the best position to defend against a pirate attack or to intercept a go-fast.

One advantage a larger vessel has against a small motorboat is if there is any significant sea state, the speed advantage the motorboat has over a large containership/tanker is reduced and if the large ship has the sea room to maneuver, it can attempt to run away and make it a stern chase, giving the crew time to rig the defenses that others have mentioned - the water hoses or small arms if they are available.

Even aboard a large vessel though, unstabilized machine guns are hit or miss - they not very precise in their application of fire against a small maneuverable motorboat. The Phalanx is not much better, even the models equipped to engage surface targets - it's manual aiming at best.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
PPVRA
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:08 am



Quoting STT757 (Reply 6):
Absolutely, hire some rival pirates to harass pirates.

http://www.blackwaterusa.com/

Unlike Iraq, the Gulf of Aden shouldn't be a controversial place for them.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:01 am



Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 43):
Personally , I favour Phalanx rather than missiles, (you have a better idea where your projectiles will end up).

Up close and personal.

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 43):
Frankly, I regard AC130 as overkill except for the largest targets.

I agree that the motherships are the first priority.

The AC-130 may be considered overkill by some, but I see it as a highly efficent weapons platform that gets the job done, over a fairly large area, fast.

Actually, the Motherships are not much of a problem, once they have been identified as a pirate ship. The first priority has to be the pirate bases, then the motherships.

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 43):
Has anyone considered the use on some sort of Convoy system.

Yes, they do use convoys now. Unfortunately, many cargo ships and tankers cannot convoy, because they slow down the convoy, because they cannot go as fast as the other convoy merchants want them to. Time is money in the merchant marine. Others don't convoy because it takes them to far off their intended course, again slowing their deliveries.

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 43):
Finally, if we start arming cargo ships, and the pirates still succeed in seizing your ship, no more Mr Nice Pirate.

I doubt there is a Mr. Nice Pirate, now. Pirates are nothing more than criminals. They operate only against defenseless shipping, as they usually do not want to fight (except the stupid ones who shoot at the RN and IN). You don't go into a gun fight unarmed, which is what the pirates want you to do. Most of these pirates have aborted their attacks against shipping that has put up a fight with manuvers, speed changes, non-leathal weapons, or returned fire from on board "passengers" (armed guards).

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 45):
Quoting STT757 (Reply 6):
Absolutely, hire some rival pirates to harass pirates.

http://www.blackwaterusa.com/

Correct, balskwater recently put their refit MV McArthur available for this, and other types of work.

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http://www.blackwaterusa.com/tech_inno/TI_maritime_platforms.html
 
SP90
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:12 pm

This is becoming the mess it is right now because up until now no one really gave a crap since the actions were low profile and ransom demands low. Right now the situation on the ground in Somalia is so bad that it worth it for those guys to go out and take the risk. Putting extra security on the cargo ships is definitely a good first step. Moving the shipping lanes further out to sea is should also be consider. The problem is getting the captains of the various ships to actually follow the sea lanes. They should treat it like the iceberg exclusion zone or something. Go beyond the line and you risk your ship and crew. Hopefully this $25 million ransom demand for the supertanker will change things and the UN can get their collective thumbs out of their backside and do something.
 
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Mortyman
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:26 pm

A Norwegain captain of a tanker fought the pirates off using a powerful water cannon. after 30 minutes they pirates had had enough. There was another Norwegian captain who took the same approach ona cruiseship.

So

1. Fit all big ships ( cruise ships, tankers and cargo ships ) with water cannons

2. special forces is put on the ships at the beginning of the journey into the area and left off at the end of the area. Some specialforces with granate launchers, harpoons and other weapons will do the trick.
 
bennett123
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RE: How To Fight Pirates?

Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:45 pm

KC135TopBoom

IMO Self Defense is generally up close and personal, (so are RPG's). I think that it is important to remember that there is a distinction between Merchant Ships and Warships.

I still think that an AC130 is overkill for small boats, (but could be useful against identified Motherships). IMO if you start engaging land targets, you are in danger of a repeat of "Blackhawk down".

Overall, I feel that as far as possible, Somalia needs a Somali solution. Solutions imposed from outside generally do not work.

I do not mean to suggest that pirates are not criminals. I was simply pointing out that if we escalate the use of lethal force, then this will mean someone's brother or son getting blown to fragments.

A lot of sore pirates could lead to some or all of the crew of the next tanker being sent back in very small pieces.

IMO we want to stop this problem with a few casualties as possible.

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