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Old 02-24-2011, 04:28 PM   #1
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This article suggests a couple of answers to the fear of pirates. 1) hire a yacht transport service to ferry your boat 2) take on the Cape of Good Hope (some coastal passages have been suggested elsewhere - they will add time but seem infinitely safer) 3) stay in a large group, if you can join with others and let plenty of authorities know of the effort, can there be real safety in numbers? 4) Don't go(not an option for those intent on fulfilling the round teh globe trip).

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Old 02-25-2011, 02:12 AM   #2
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Boy, can that article start a lot of arguments. The very last sentence got my hackles up -
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Mr. Klabber said his company is reducing its rates to accommodate the desperate. But the solution, he says, is simple: "They shouldn't be there. They should just not be in that zone."
Wow! Here are all these yachts who left home years ago, long before Somalia pirates had been successful enough to acquire sophisticated equipment, who now are looking at increasingly bleak options. You can't say with 20/20 hindsight that "they should just not be in that zone" without showing yourself to be smug, self-righteous, and dense.

Parents know that you can't reward your children for bad behavior and then expect them to know what good behavior is. Well, isn't that what the commercial shipping companies and insurance companies have done with regard to the Somali pirates? The first multi-million dollar ransom went a long way to financing the better faster boats and the bigger badder weapons that are now used. Each ransom after that just made the pirates better-equipped and stronger. And nobody is blowing them out of the water, a tactic that just might make piracy not worth it. Instead, the pirates see a win-win situation. Succeed at piracy and have lots of money. Get arrested for piracy and stay in (relative) comfort in a Western prison until being released and guaranteed a better life in a Western country.

Listen to me! The non-violent, gun-hating knee-jerk liberal! But I do not believe in rewarding bad behavior. since it's such a morass now, I think that with our sophisticated surveillance equipment and weaponry, the nations of the world should quarantine the entire country of Somalia and not allow ANY vessel to leave their shores. Sink them. Each and every one. Transport the survivors of the sinking back to their own land. And keep doing it until all their vessels have been sunk, and the entire country is tired of being under house arrest.

I think I know that what I am suggesting is probably impossible. However, continuing on the present path has made things worse, so why not try it? And make the insurance companies who, by their ransom payments have succeeded in subsidizing the pirates, pay for the embargo.

Anybody have a more outrageous suggestion? I'll listen.
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:42 AM   #3
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I say blockade Somalia. Bring in a couple of trawlers and give them some free fish but no vessel must leave Somali shores. Do it NOW!

This is terrorism and I would not be surprised to learn that some of this ransom money is being used to fund terrorism elsewhere. Why should these Somalians be excluded from being "screened and patted down at airports"? C'mon!!
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:11 PM   #4
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@ JeanneP: perfectly right!

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Originally Posted by Lighthouse View Post

I say blockade Somalia. Bring in a couple of trawlers and give them some free fish but no vessel must leave Somali shores. Do it NOW!

This is terrorism and I would not be surprised to learn that some of this ransom money is being used to fund terrorism elsewhere. Why should these Somalians be excluded from being "screened and patted down at airports"? C'mon!!
Excellent idea!!!*

With today's high tech surveillance techniques *it should be very easy to stop every attempt of a pirate to leave the coastal waters - no matter how small the boats are. And the same waters are protected from foreign fishing vessels that were part of the creation of today's problems!

By the way, do these foreign fishing vessels still intrude Somali waters? Guess not, because there is no fish any more and they fear the pirates... * *

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Old 02-25-2011, 04:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JeanneP View Post

Boy, can that article start a lot of arguments. The very last sentence got my hackles up -
In fact, the whole article agrivated me.

I would have expected an awful lot more from the Wall Street Journal than this commentary which could have been written by any school boy with Internet access. The article comes with no new facts but a lot of old ones that are already very well known.

Let us be very clear about a few things:

1. It is every vessel’s right, enshrined in UNCLOS, to go about its legal business on the high seas.

2. It is the flag state’s obligation to offer the vessels flying its flag the protection necessary for them to go about their legal business on the high seas

3. It is the pirates who are committing the illegal acts and, again according to UNCLOS, it is the right of every state to take action against piracy on the high seas.

So what does all this boil down to? The answer is simple, following the numbering above:

1. The vessels transiting the north western part of the Indian Ocean are doing no wrong

2. The flag states are doing next to nothing other than “showing the flag”. They are not taking their responsibilities, probably for the fear of costly court cases and prison terms thereafter but that should never be part of the equation.

3. Again, states are not taking the action they should to arrest the pirates.

Never mind all talk of money laundering, money going to terrorism, etc. etc. The bottom line is that the pirates are recruited from hungry, desperate people so I do have some understanding and compassion for them (albeit extremely slight) but I have no understanding or compassion whatsoever for our politicians who are the true criminals and cowards. It is they are who not doing what they were elected and have a legal requirement to do. It is they who are not protecting their people nor their vessels and are more concerned with political correctness than the welfare of their ships and sailors. Politicians concerns should stretch further than fiddling their travel allowances and covering their butts!

Aye // Stephen
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Old 02-25-2011, 04:44 PM   #6
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This is a good discussion but it really seems to be the theoretical response. States, politicians "should" do lots of things. But the reality is that no state is flush with resources enough to make the area safe. How do states justify that when even the US is cutting military spending not to mention spending on just about everything else?

Yes, insurance companies would appear to have a vested interest in stronger response. But, to date, I have not heard of any of theme stepping up - after all, it is one thing to fork over $10million to pirates over the course of a year - but it costs many multiples of that to support a military.

Our right to leisure is further down on the list than protecting commercial vessels. The corporations impacted should lobby their insurance companies to come up with a better plan.

Other than creating small, ad-hoc flotillas what other tools or leverage are available to us?
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:16 PM   #7
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Whilst I understand your view that "our right to leasure is further down the list than protecting commercial vessels" UNCLOS does not make that distiction.

As for the discussion being theoretical, I, for one, have difficulties in seeing it become anything else. After all, cruisers may not take the law in their own hands. If we do then we are no better than the pirates themselves but not only that, as you rightly pointed out, the costs of combatting piracy are probibitive and so beyond our meagre budgets.

I am heartily sick of politicians telling the populace at large that you must accept this, you must do that etc. etc. whilst they do not do what they were put in office to do. There is no more reason for us to accept ignorance or apathy from our elected representatives than there is for us to accept piracy.

We, the cruising community, are not going to defeat the pirates. Only our politicians, should they have the determination and integrity, can do so by giving instructions to our navies arrest the pirates and, if necessary, fire at them.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 02-26-2011, 10:08 PM   #8
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„Whilst I understand your view that "our right to leasure is further down the list than protecting commercial vessels" UNCLOS does not make that distiction.“

Agreed. But my government and the public opinion does make a clear distinction: The commercial shipping needs to be protected because of vital national interests (free trade, competitiveness, etc), even though at the end the shipping companies pay the ransom.

But if I'm out there, doing my very private sailing and getting in the hands of pirates, I know that I have to pay for all effords my country has to undertake to get me out of there, if they succeed. Our foreign office has a travel warning out for Somalia... Well, they can't issue travel warnings for the high seas but I bet, the officials won't be amused at all if the Navy and/or the diplomatic machinery has to get me out. It would not be the first time, that a „tourist“ - here a tourist on his yacht - (and this is what I am in the eyes of the officials and the public opinion: somewone who has the money for the boat and a life without work, inconciderate enough to sail in todays most dangerous waters...) has to pay back a very big share of real money to the state if they should be able to get me out of there...

But realistically seen, they won't even try , because they have more important duties to do like escorting commercial ships or hurrying to hijacked ships – and even that unsecessful, not being able to help a crew within two and a half days with its terrible results, as already mentioned earlier...

It's a wrong world. There are international agreements of high values, like the UNCLOS(... signed in 1982... but did not come into force bevor 1994...), but there is noone at the moment, to guarantee it (maybe it needs another 12 yedars...). And the nations that try to live up to these values and are desperately helping as good as they can, don't have the ways and means to be successful and on top of that these coutries individuals are threatened to be killed rightaway, because their nations don't stick to the rules set by the pirates...

Obviously, the „problem“ is not yet big enough. An over all econimical damage is still comparably small, politicians and the media react or commend on a new act of piracy for a day or two and then loose the topic out of sight... until the next incident happens. And they only react, when own ships or crew of the own nationality is affected. I can't see any determination and integrity on the politician's side. Even worse: They are not amused about the 20 Somalis sitting here in court at the moment... at the end they cost tax payer's money!

Our media did not print a single line on the four US-citizen killed... I know it from this forum. Maybe yachting magazins will have a small note in the next issue in two weeks or a month from now. Piracy off the coast of Somalia has not been a topic in yachting magazines – maybe it disturbs the positive image of our most loved leisure time activity: boating. National Blue water cruising forums work on the topic, but as helpless, as we do here...

Uwe

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Old 02-27-2011, 06:01 AM   #9
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I certainly understand what you are saying Uwe and have respect for the economics of the entire situation but there is a fundamental issue at steak here:

Politicians make the law. This they do by either ratifying international conventions, as is the case with UNCLOS, or by passing acts in parliament.

The police forces, coast guard and customs organizations etc. are the bodies that enforce the law.

The judiciary is the body that interprets the law, attributes guilt and pronounces sanctions.

If politicians are allowed to say that this issue we will avoid because the cost of enforcement is too high then they are actually putting themselves above the law as they are then deciding which parts of the law should or should not be enforced. We have seen examples of what happens when politicians do this and they are not always good.

If politicians pass a law they cannot afford to enforce the law becomes ridicule and it makes life for the enforcement agencies extremely difficult. It would be better not to pass that law or ratify that agreement in the first place.

Returning to the cost-benefit issue, things should be put in perspective. Countries are today paying the enormous costs of having ships and aircraft patrolling the waters off Somalia. The running costs of keeping a single frigate at sea are at least €4,000,000 per annum and that includes neither investment costs nor crew costs. That, given the fact that there may be about 30 such ships at any one time on patrol, is a huge sum to pay to do little more than “show the flag”.

Whilst on the subject of costs, last year “Somali pirates collected an estimated $18 million to $30 million in ransom payments for captured ships, crew and cargo.” (source: The Real Cost of Piracy, Catherin Holahan) Less, the author claims, than half a percent of the total value of cars stolen in the US during the same period. However, the real cost of piracy comes in increased insurance costs which push up the cost of all goods, including oil, transiting Suez and, of course and never to be forgotten, in terms of the suffering of the men and women captured by the pirates as well as their loved ones anxiously waiting for news of the captives. One should also be aware that it is you and I, the consumer and taxpayer, who ultimately pays all the monetary costs.

We can analyse possible scenarios that could have taken place had the rest of the world observed the requirement to ensure the legality of their fishing operations in the first place or to have made early and responsible efforts to correct the failure of the Somali state but this will not change a single thing. What needs to be done now is for countries to stop throwing millions away - millions which could be better used in schools and hospitals or many other areas – and either pull their ships and aircraft out and declare the NW Indian Ocean a no-go area or stop messing about and get the job done.

Looking again at the economics of the issue, let us say, very conservatively, that the cost of surveillance operations in the area is €120,000,000 per annum. Add to this the cost of increased insurance which runs into very many millions, the cost of ransom payments; say €25,000,000 and the cost of human suffering. What is the total sum? Who can say? It is impossible to calculate but one thing is absolutely certain, it is a very, very considerable sum and is far, far more costly than locking away a few hundred pirates in a very nasty place for the rest of their natural lives remembering that this does not have to happen in Europe or the US but they could just as well spend their time pondering their crimes from a dank cell in a third world country which would happily incarcerate the pirates for a relatively small fee.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:18 AM   #10
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Having spent over 6 years with relevant special forces and authorities in designing safe passages specifically for cruisers wishing to either return to Europe or to transit the Gulf of Aden to complete part of a circumnavigation.

A strategic change has occurred :- The Navies, the Coast Guards and other Forces are doing very little different to what they were doing 6 years ago. The simple former nomadic peoples who around 8 years ago when the then Somali Government brought 12,000 of them to the coast to take up fishing. The problem was that they knew little about fishing -- tending goats and cattle and moving them to new pastures YES --- and raiding other peoples for whatever and good looking women. These simple folks are the ones who have changed - new strategy - new tactics. They have now the upper hand.

In designing a new strategy and consequential tactics - one of the 1st questions might be "Do pleasure craft and cruising yachts need to make passage in the North Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden ???"

If the answer is No! - then BAN all pleasure craft from those waters until further notice - IF these vessels ignor the ban - then make NO effort whatsoever to rescue any hostages.

For Commercial Merchant Ships wishing to make passage - every single ship to take on sufficient security forces for them to transit safely any where in the Indian Ocean , the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. . Failure to employ such Security Forces to nullify their insurance and negate any calls for help.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:37 PM   #11
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I wish I did not agree with your suggestions, Richard, but they make a whole lot of sense. How tough on the private yachtsman, but......

In the minds of many cruisers the real hardships of going up the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal seem minor compared to the perceived risks of going via the Cape of Good Hope. Yet if a yachtsman has managed to get as far as the middle of the Indian Ocean it should not be so dangerous a trip. Uncomfortable, perhaps. If they wanted comfort, though, they'd be traveling on a multi-thousand-passeger cruise ship, wouldn't they?

I think that my greatest disappointment with the entire pirate issue is the absence of full and factual history of the areas involved. "Fished-out areas along the coast of Somalia created the pirates." But nobody is asking why Somalia's neighbors aren't ridden with pirates as well.

This subject is so conducive to producing long rants, so I'll hush up now.
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Old 02-27-2011, 01:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
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In the minds of many cruisers the real hardships of going up the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal seem minor compared to the perceived risks of going via the Cape of Good Hope. Yet if a yachtsman has managed to get as far as the middle of the Indian Ocean it should not be so dangerous a trip.
Thank you JeanneP for pointing out what has seemed pretty obvious to me: If a yacht has made it as far as the middle of the IO, it should be sufficiently well-found a vessel to go via the Cape of Good Hope. A cruiser with the goal of circumnavigation should have boat and crew up to the task of sailing involved.

If one doesn't wish to get into those waters of the Cape and S.A., there are still many, many years and many, many miles of sailing that can be had worldwide without ever dealing with getting past Africa

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Old 02-27-2011, 03:11 PM   #13
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I was planning a cruise to the Red Sea for many years but have canceled these plans because of the danger. I cruise for pleasure and the there is plenty of less dangerous water elsewhere. Nevertheless I am very upset about the pirates and even more so about the navies of many countries who cannot protect our pleasure or commercial craft.

I think that the US and France are at least doing something.

I read an interesting article on yesterday's New York Times.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:12 PM   #14
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I was planning a cruise to the Red Sea for many years but have canceled these plans because of the danger. I cruise for pleasure and the there is plenty of less dangerous water elsewhere. Nevertheless I am very upset about the pirates and even more so about the navies of many countries who cannot protect our pleasure or commercial craft.

I think that the US and France are at least doing something.

I read an interesting article on yesterday's New York Times.
G'day yachties all. Challenging times eh. The original threat here was "An Answer To Pirates". Interesting to note that with 13,414 members & many more visitors - there has not been one single - majority consensus agreement - offered as yet & few alternatives. This matter is very complex & not easily solved it would seem. Vasilis, thanks for the 'NYT' thread. Very informative however there was not conclusive solution offered in all those many articles, IMHO. We are pleased you have 'flexible goals' & don't have a death-wish. Wise decision, wish others had been so. As we have come to expect - wise words from Richard. As I understand the heart of his advice was 'Avoid this whole area'. Hope I got that right? Why would anyone not take such valuable advise & act accordingly? For the 'life of me' I can't understand anyone being so inflexible as to not take all steps to avoid the whole area at all costs. One can't make it 'around' if they are dead!!! The solution is a long way off & I have no 'death-wish' just want to go cruising.

To you 2 girls (sincere compliment intended) - JeanneP & Brenda - Thanks for 'Ladies logic'. If yachties are capable of sailing long distances &/or around the world then they are more than capable of going 'the long way round'. CaptDinghy, the round the world cruising yacht(ie) 'must' review their options, as they do everyday with the weather & other obstacles, & change their course or fail to make it 'all way round' & for sure that is not an option in any way. IMHO. Please keep safe, well & healthy - all of you. Ciao, james

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