27 April 2009

Analysis: 10X increase in piracy, year-on-year

The IMB has released a report showing a ten-fold increase in priacy "in the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2008, jumping from six to 61." (AFP, 04/27/09)

We would like to point out that this increase comes with the supplementing of CTF 150 with the new CTF 151; with the dispatch of EU and NATO naval flotillas; and with the arrival on site of Indian, Chinese, Russian, and other independent naval forces.

We notice that some ships under attack are still asking the IMB's anti-piracy center for help rather than to any local military command (clearly a breakdown in communications). We also notice that released ships are not provided for in task force planning (witness the Stolt Strength drifting powerless through pirate waters). We further saw one of the few, precious warships available against the pirates (the Bainbridge) taken off duty in order to steam Captain Phillips of the Maersk Alabama triumphantly back to land - an utter waste of assets expended in for press attention and public adulation. Finally, we notice the Maritime Patrol Zone is still not adequately patrolled: if the attacks map maintained by the IMB is any indicator, the Zone remains a kill zone that concentrates targets for piracy.

The presumption of naval competence must be withdrawn immediately. A display of competence and cooperation has been missing since early last year; it led to the dispatch of all these heterogenous national and multilateral forces to the area; to the marginalization of forces commanded by US. Adm. Bill Gortney; and to the current tenfold increase in attacks.