05 April 2010

Pirate Season is Heating Up

Link to Article

U.S. Navy ships have had two clashes with pirates in less than 24 hours.
Most recently, the destroyer Farragut disarmed pirates and sank the mother skiff off the coast of Somalia after responding to an attack on a Sierra Leone-flagged tanker.
That was after the USS Nicholas crew came under fire by a group of suspected Somali pirates just before 12:30 a.m. Thursday morning.
The Nicholas incident took place hundreds of miles west of the Seychelles Islands, and the Farragut response was approximately 800 miles northwest of the Seychelles.
Navy sources tell Fox when monsoon season ends off the coast of Africa, pirate season heats up. It becomes easier for the pirates to maneuver and choose their targets.
Pirates typically target commercial ships hoping that companies or governments will pay ransom. As one expert put it, “for the pirates, it’s a business.”
Jim Arkedis, a former counterterrorism and security analyst at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service who now works at Progressive Policy Institute, says clashes with the U.S. Navy are either bad timing or a case of mistaken identity.
“A lot of these pirates who are a long way from home off the Somali coast are potentially under the influence of alcohol and drugs. That's how their leadership back in Somalia gets them to engage and be so aggressive,” Arkedis told Fox.
A Naval commander dealing with the piracy issue also warns the attackers are also becoming bolder and targeting ships much farther away from the Somali shores.

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