25 April 2009

Analysis: Roundup

Armed merchants - Gen. David Petraeus has testified before Congress suggesting that merchant shipos need to arm themselves. Petraeuscommands the Iraq and Afghanistan theatres of operation and is echoing statements made by Vice Admiral Bill Gortney, the highest ranking USN commander in the region. (Journal of Commerce, 04/25/09)

Weather against piracy - Reuters is predicting seasonal changes in the regional weather will diminish the number of pirate attacks in summer. "
The sea is calm now, but it will be terrible to sail especially in the Indian Ocean by May," pirate Farah Hussein told Reuters by telephone. Pirates have made millions of dollars seizing ships and taking crews hostage. After a brief lull earlier this year, gunmen continued their onslaught.

"Once we go into June, the south west monsoons will come in and that affects the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, and we may see a reduction in attacks," said Pottengal Mukundan, director of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

Weather analysts say the June-July-August season has the worst weather for pirates while December-January-February is less extreme, but still bad. (Reuters, 04/25/09)
Readers of our Somali Piracy Yearbook 2008 will have noticed the same thing. Note the attacks/hijacking figures for these months last year (from page 15): April - 17/7; May - 15/3; June - 8/1; July - 4/1; August - 12/7; September - 36/8.

Conferees pledge aid - An international conference on Somalia organized by the EU has seen donor nations pledge $213 million in aid characterized as "anti-pirate." news stories gave no details available. (CNN, 04/24/09)