Piracy produces miracles… sometimes
Six U.S. warships circled a hijacked ship off Somalia and a Russian frigate headed toward the standoff Friday, while Russia called for naval forces gathering in the area to coordinate their efforts against piracy.
The Somali government has given foreign powers the freedom to use force against the pirates holding the MV Faina and its 20 crew members, including two Russians. The Ukrainian ship is anchored near the central Somali town of Hobyo, with the American warships within 10 miles of it.
Russia, whose warship is not expected for several days, has used commando tactics to end several hostage situations on its own soil, but hundreds of hostages have died in those efforts.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that Russia “aims to prevent pirates from causing mayhem,” according to Russian news agencies.
Lavrov said Russia and other nations will act on the basis of a U.N. resolution that authorized countries to enter Somalia’s territorial waters and use “all necessary means” to stop piracy, and said nations with naval vessels in the area should work together against pirates.
BBC continues: Piracy off the coast of Somalia has cost up to $30m (£17m) in ransoms so far this year, a report has said.
The Gulf of Aden is not a sea route ships can avoid. Situated at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula between Somalia and Yemen, the 2,500-mile waterway is strategic for the world’s economy. It connects Europe and North America with Asia and East Africa via the Suez Canal. About 1,500 ships, ten percent of global shipping traffic, pass through it every month, including four percent of the world’s daily crude oil supply. The only alternative route, around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, is thousands of miles longer and much more expensive, considering larger ships cost about $20,000 daily to run.
(…) The IMB estimates that about 1,000 pirates are active in the gulf. One sailor, a pirate prisoner for 174 days, said his captors are well-organized in groups of 15-20. Armed with Kalashnikov rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and scaling ladders, they operate hundreds of miles off shore from two or three larger “mother” ships, from which they launch their attacks in speed boats against unsuspecting victims. Naval officer Winstanley said there was a degree of organization in their attacks, “Which is why we are taking action.”