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Old 06-14-2009, 12:25 PM   #1
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According to the Piracy Reporting Centre - True piracy (as to opposed to robberies in various anchorages) in the last 10 days is still infesting the Gulf of Aden - that is, despite the presence of additional Coalition forces from many countries.

10.06.2009: 1420 UTC: Posn: 18:41.8N - 058:01.0E, Off Ras Al Madrakah, Oman.

Ten pirates armed with guns and RPG in two speed boats chased a bulk carrier underway. Master raised alarm, increased speed, took evasive manoeuvres, sounded ship's whistle and crew activated fire hoses. Pirates attempted to board the ship using portable ladder. Master continued with the evasive manoeuvres and crew threw wooden and iron pieces to deter the pirates from boarding. The pirates showed hand signals to stop the engines and fired at the accommodation. After 50 minutes of attempted boarding, pirates aborted the attack and proceeded towards their mother vessel. Incident reported to Oman coast guard and coalition warships.

07.06.2009: 0025 UTC: Posn: 13:03.2N - 048:54.0E, Gulf of Aden.

Four pirates armed with guns in a speed boat fired upon a bulk carrier underway. Master increased speed, took evasive manoeuvres, contacted coalition warships and crew activated fire hoses. Pirates made several attempts to board the ship and later aborted.

07.06.2009: 0035 UTC: Posn: 13:05.0N – 048:53.7E, Gulf of Aden.

Five pirates in a speedboat armed with guns approached a tanker underway and fired upon her. Master increased speed, took evasive manoeuvres, ship's whistle sounded continuously, contacted coalition warships and crew activated fire hoses. Pirates aborted the attempt due to the evasive action taken by the tanker.

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The cost must be enormous! Would it not be more efficient (and a lot less expensive) to position well armed, well trained elite marksmen on each ship traversing the Gulf ?? - If there are 30 ships from each direction each day - surely a team of 12 on each x 30 = 360 one way x 2 = 720

Would it be much more efficient to deal with the pirates attempts to seize ships and

VERY MUCH CHEAPER - than the cost of just 1 single destroyer ?????
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:19 AM   #2
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I have traveled through the Gulf of Aden many times without any problems.. OK this was last 'century' ;-) but all the same there was no piracy what so ever.

Did you know that the majority of these 'PIRATES' were fishermen up until a few years ago?

They became 'pirates' out of necessity to feed their families.

Why don't they go fishing now, you may ask..The answer is that the big Mediterranean fishing companies used purse-seine nets with very small mesh, to round up 95% the fish on this coast and export it to countries like the US and in Europe.

Hence these guys have to go out to sea, much further than what their boats are designed for and can catch only a fraction of what they used to catch. They barely have enough to eat, let alone selling their catch at the local market to make a few bucks to pay for fuel.

So with their livelyhood gone, who can blame theme for becoming 'pirates' ?? I am not condoning what they do, but I can't blame them either.

Just ask yourself: What would you do, if you and everybody around you, lost their jobs and could not afford to pay the mortgage and feed the family anymore ? Stealing money from the "fat cats" is one way out.

Some call it 'piracy' others call is 'survival' Have a good look around your neighborhood.. Food for thought.... You bet!
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Old 09-12-2009, 12:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pendragon View Post
The answer is that the big Mediterranean fishing companies used purse-seine nets with very small mesh, to round up 95% the fish on this coast and export it to countries like the US and in Europe.
NO. You are seriously mistaken.

European companies have fished heavily in the Indian Ocean but for highly migratory species of high value such as bluefin tuna.

Small mesh nets are used to fish, well, small fish. These are almost entirely low value species such as anchovies , sand eels, sardines and caplin. There is an abundance of such small pelagic species in European waters and therefore, as they have little value in comparison to the highly migratory species, are not usually fished elsewhere by European boats.

The fundamental problem around the Gulf of Aden is that governments there, particularly the Yemeni government, has tried to resolve unemployment issues by subventioning the building of small fishing vessels and granting anyone who applied for it a license to fish. Also, fishermen on both sides of the Gulf have used beach seines, which are illegal almost everywhere. These nets trap the small species but also the juveniles of larger species with a resulting juvenile mortality which causes a reduction of the breeding stock.

Further, as the continental shelf is very narrow, almost non-existent in places, the fishing of has been restricted to a very narrow strip; again with the exception of highly migratory species and some others which are fished even on the high seas.

By all means blame the European fishing industry for the many mistakes it has made but don't make it the universal scapegoat.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:06 PM   #4
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To substantiate my statements above, please find the attached graph which indicates catch statistics for Yemeni waters. The statistics are from the FAO FIGIS database.

And incidentally, the over use of small mesh purse-seine nets could explain a serious depletion in pelagic stocks but how would it account for the depletion of demersal or benthal stocks?
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Old 09-12-2009, 09:50 PM   #5
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I don't believe that piracy and criminal behavior is the actions of poor fishermen. With approximately $80 million in ransom paid to the Somali et al. pirates in the first 5 months of 2009, this is not hardscrabble poor fishermen trying to survive. This piracy is big business protected by a country with no laws ruled by a bunch of sociopathic warlords.

We've been to many poor countries and haven't been approached by hoodlums carrying automatic weapons. Oftentimes we found the poorest to be the most welcoming and gentle.

Yet I do have an issue with foreign fishing boats exploiting poor countries' resources, but my experience is in the Pacific, and the Japanese tuna fleet. When we were in the Solomon Islands, the villagers in one of the islands were complaining that the politicians in Honiara, Guadacanal, had sold fishing rights to the Japanese tuna fleet. This was for pelagic fish, but the fleet were coming into the island lagoons and coastal areas to net the small fish to use as bait. It was these small fish that were the mainstay for the villages, and the Japanese nets were stripping all the fish out of the coastal areas. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing is happening in Africa.

I also attribute the increase in the incidents of piracy and violence in the Malacca Strait to the implosion of Indonesia's government and economy in the late 90s.
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Old 09-13-2009, 01:34 AM   #6
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In a way Jeanne you are right. The mainstay of coastal, artisanal fishers in eastern waters was small fish, to be found amongst mangroves, in reefs and in shallow coastal waters in general. The Japanese have had a serious impact on these fisheries but so too has aquaculture.

Aquaculture was seen as a remedy for over-fishing. In fact, in many instances, it is not. What we have seen is aquaculture, particularly in the Far East, producing species for the markets of North America, Europe and, to a lesser extent, Australia and New Zealand. The classic product is so called king prawns. If I remember rightly, it takes 22 kg of fish (as food) to produce 1 kg. of prawns. In Asia 22 kg of fish would feed a family for a couple of weeks. In the First World 1 kg. of prawns would be a nice meal or a supplement to the main course for a braai (BBQ). So, it is not really rocket science to work out that we have gone wrong here and all we have succeeded in doing is making a few rich people happy in rich countries, made the relatively speaking very rich producer in a poor country very happy and made a few indigenous workers relatively happy whilst depriving coastal communities of their traditional source of protein.

In Africa, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and West Africa, the situation is different. There European boats together with those from Asia have trawled illegally right up to the beech. They have done this because African countries, South Africa and Namibia excepted, have not had the capability to patrol and police their waters. However, whilst coastal states have a responsibility to patrol their territorial waters and EEZ it is also the responsibility of the flag state to monitor the activities of their vessels, even outside their own waters. There we have not shouldered our responsibility and this is reflected in the FAO International Plan of Action to counter Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishery. I know it sounds great but, believe me, this is all smoke and mirrors. It is a political smoke-screen and illegal fishing by first world vessels will continue as long as there is a profit to be made.

This, however, and as you rightly pointed out, does not cause piracy. It may be a contributory factor but it is not the cause.

I am going out on a limb here but I would say, after a good few years experience in the fisheries sector in Africa and Yemen, that the main reason for the lack of good fisheries management in these countries is bribery, corruption, nepotism and bad management in general.

Aye // Stephen
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