June 05, 2007

More on the New Barbary Coast

 Eaglespeak has been doing a sterling job of covering the growing problem of modern Piracy.

 

  Recently the Danish MV Danica White was seized by pirates of Somalia, the USS Carter Hall attempted to engage them but was unable to prevent the capture as she apparently arrived too late. Carter Hall is now monitoring what has become a hostage situation...similar recent events have ended badly.
(BBC sneer quotes notwithstanding)

Eaglespeak is on this like ugly on a moose.

More info on the Somali Pirate situation is available here.

This is the kind of problem that has been caused by the deterioration of both law and order in the "third world" and the deterioration of European navies which traditionally stamped out this sort of thing. Additionally, it is badly exacerbated by gun control initiatives...

For example, in at least one recent incident Somali pirates siezed a ship using homemade cutlasses and sharp pointy sticks....the crew were...of course....unarmed...not even shotguns.

Disarming  crews reduces the potential costs to pirates considerably.  The shrinking numbers of big warships that  the western navies have can't be everywhere at once.

Most of what the US navy has is overkill in this situation, though, the Coast Guard/Navy Cyclone class PCs and ships like Carter Hall are fairly good.

What is really needed is several patrol vessels like the Coast Guards cutters, and indeed the CG has been doing some counter-piracy ops in the Persian gulf and there is often a cutter near the horn of Africa.

Pirates are any navies prey, but the first world Coast Guards are likely better suited to this sort of thing....especially those of the US, Japan, and India. Piracy, though it frequently has ties to the larger war, is a maritime law enforcement matter albeit a paramilitary one. The Island class patrol boats cost less than many Navy Harbor tugs....and if they stumble on a suicide boat, or an innocent looking  vessel with an "inexplicable" missile or torpedo mounted on it, it is far better to lose 24 Coasties and a cheap boat than 400 sailors and an Aegis equipped ship of the line. Even the larger cutters with good endurance are vastly cheaper and more lightly manned than even a frigate or LCS.

Astonishingly....I'm not actually busting on the Navy...the Navy historically has had gunboats and used them well....but the danger of the USN "wasting" hulls on these sorts of 4th rate vessels is that congresscritters will see hulls and tout them as frontline ships....The vessels needed for this would die quick in a general war with, say China....they are warships in name only (except for specialized auxiliary roles).  Better to have a second navy that doesn't count against the Navies totals...and is trained primarily for ops short of war and winning hearts and minds....course a few loaner leathernecks couldn't hurt either.

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