Piracy off the coast of West Africa has now overtaken Somali piracy, a report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) and other seafarers' groups says.It says 966 sailors were attacked in West Africa in 2012, compared with 851 off the Somali coast. West African pirates mostly steal fuel cargo and the crews' possessions, often resorting to extreme violence. Five of the 206 hostages seized last year off West Africa have been killed, the document says.
BBC News Africa
Hands up, who thinks patrolling to suppress piracy is a sensible idea?
To those who raised their hand(s): So patrolling the Western Indian Ocean, the Eastern South Atlantic, the strait of Malacca and probably soon the entire of Southeast Asia? Think about the cost (in)efficiency of this.
Now hands up who thinks that facing the Somali pirates by either accepting armed crews or by grabbing them directly at their (initially few) coastal villages would have been more sensible.
I know, my stance on piracy is not exactly in synch with my general stance on interventions, but I consider piracy mostly as a policing issue anyway. Piracy without official support or tolerance could be traced to bases with intelligence and police investigations in order to enable the relevant country to act against the pirates itself.
It is a topic for the military only if substantial piracy is being supported or tolerated by a harbouring country and it should then be treated as an aggression by the UN as if that country's navy had committed the piracy. This means substantial organised violence against pirate bases would be OK within my framework as national / collective self defence.
In the case of Somali pirates, some country should have raided the initially only three or four pirate villages early on. Even the Portuguese navy was an overmatch to them. Additionally, no country should have paid ransom money and any company which paid ransom money to pirates should have been seen its ships (including chartered ones) banned from our harbours for supporting organised crime.
2008-11 "Mission Atalanta" or: How to demonstrate incompetence
2009-04 Somali piracy, a comprehensive approach