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The world's media continues to follow the long-running piracy problems in the Gulf of Aden, with interest stimulated by last week's fatal shootings by Royal Marines off the Yemeni coast and the reported sinking of a buccaneer "mothership" by the Indian Navy yesterday evening. Meanwhile, other seaborne raiders in the region …


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  1. Nick Palmer

    So...these pirates...

    ..."The pirates reportedly refused a command to stop and be boarded, and fired on the Indians with handheld weapons." Against a Talwar class (as I understand it a heavily Indianised, messed with and upgraded Krivak III) frigate...with a few AKs and the odd RPG? That's Talwar-class as in "4,000 tons of the Subcontinent's finest death-tech..."? *facepalm* As Zaphod'd say "OK, so ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking, yeah? "

  2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    I still back Q-ships

    or Q-containers. Load an old merchantman with containerized 20-40 mm guns, and any pirate trying to board is in serious trouble

    Thumbs up to the Indian Navy (and no jokes about outsourcing please) anyway.

  3. Dan Collett
    Paris Hilton

    I've got it!

    Look at the live map. They all sail round the equator why not just sail the long way round?!?!?!

    Paris because she knows what its like to be boarded by a load of seamen!

  4. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    So tell me 'cos I'm confused

    How have they infringed the copyright of the tanker owners?

    That's what piracy is, isn't it?

  5. MattW

    Ah, but.....

    "In the meantime, fear not - the Reg will not be bulking out its coverage with any more non-digital piracy stories unless something out of the ordinary happens."

    I like the pirate stories, especially when we have at the scurvy dogs and give them a jolly good thrashing.

    Bring back the Somali pirates.

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    The Indians returned fire...

    I dunno, where's the seventh cavalry when they're needed?

    Yeah, yeah, mines the one with the arrow-holes...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it me being stupid or what?

    If the estimated mothership count is right, they can all be taken out in 2-3 weeks using one AWACS and the existing frigates in the area. Observe, record, retrace and shoot a harpoon at the miscreant... Trivial data handling task.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stoned on Khat

    Only the deranged, deluded or doped would think it's a good idea to attack a modern (by which I mean post-1900, and the Indian Navy is significantly more advanced than that) *warship* (ship, not boat...) with small arms.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Otto Sump presents: Gunge

    Perhaps the authorities could bring back the Q-Ships of WWII - armed vessels dressed up to look like merchantmen, with hidden guns, hidden flags etc, filled with cork and Italian prisoners of war (an irresistable magnet for U-Boats). When the German submarines moved in for a surface attack, the Q-Ships would pop out their flags, wheel out the guns, and shink the shub.

    It would be easy to modify an oil tanker so that it has a giant opening mouth at the front - I have seen this in The Spy Who Loved Me, and that was 1976 or 1977, years ago. Perhaps the tanker could open itself up and swallow the pirates.

    Or perhaps a whaling ship could be modified in such a way that it opens up, swallows the pirates, processes and cooks them, and decants them into cans. That would help solve the food crisis in that part of Africa. There would be no need to say what was in the cans, just put a Justice Department Approved stamp on the side.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Lethal deterrent?

    "Naval commanders in the area have stated that they will never be able to wipe out piracy in the area with any reasonable level of effort"

    It would seem naval commanders these days aren't made of what they use to be. Would they not simply consider actually killing all pirates they come across? When it's understood that piracy doesn't pay but rather gets you killed, they'll stop doing it - simple as that. What's the big flipping problem?

    We really are a bunch of big fluffy pussies.

  11. Stephen Hunt


    Me hearties!

  12. Thomas Baker

    Something fishy going on.

    With the might of the world's combined navies, and the sheer supremacy of the technology, knowledge, history, experience and weaponry on hand, how is this happening and how are they getting away with it repeatedly? Are you honestly telling me that the US gubmint won't send in Navy Otters for this kind of thing? They've started wars for less. And why, all of a sudden, the media attention? And why this story and not other events, non-pirate related? Always makes me wonder nowadays when a story starts getting picked up by all the press, who's pushing it? Who benefits? Who's agenda is being punted?

    So, I reckon this is a prelude to the US wanting to establish military bases somewhere in East Africa, perhaps not Somalia but somewhere close, and in the press the reason will be to "stamp out piracy (yarrrgh!)". But the real reason will be to further strengthen their ability to toss metalwork into the Middle East, just up the road, at a moment's notice.

    If various deals and hand-overs in Iraq go down and Obama keeps good on his promise to pull all the US troops out of there soon, how will America keeps its grip on the region? This amount of press looks to me like America laying the groundwork for another large military presence in East Africa thus maintaining their current agenda.

    Whenever the MSM punts the "something to fear/fight" card, always look up, into the rafters, beyond the blinding spotlights of sensationalism to see who's pulling the strings.

    Some detective or other said it once: Cui bono? This phrase, for me, is applied to pretty much all news I read these days.

    Man in goggles, with filtered lenses.

  13. Jon Kale

    re: Lethal detererrent

    "When it's understood that piracy doesn't pay but rather gets you killed, they'll stop doing it - simple as that. What's the big flipping problem?"

    Um... that it doesn't work?

    Proof by contradiction:

    * if the world worked the way you claim, no-one would ever commit a capital crime.

    * people commit capital crimes

    * ergo the world doesn't work the way you claim


  14. Michael

    Small, lightly armoured submarines!

    Just think, they can follow the odd merchant ship around, wait for an attack, then torpedo the shit out of something!

    It'll be like a WW2 convoy in reverse.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to impose serious pain on the Pirates

    It's time to start blowing Pirate ships out of the water. It won't take but the sinking of more than a half dozen Pirate ships for the scum to get the message.

    Now that worldwide military ships are moving into the area, they should just bomb these Pirate ships one after another and kill every single Pirate onboard. Take no prisoners. These scumbags are attacking innocent, defenseless mariners. There is no place in the world for these scumbag Pirates, so take them out now.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    re: Something fishy going on.

    They are already allowed to share what France has a base in Djibouti. So as a matter of fact USA does have a base there, bang in the middle of the pirate belt. Diego Garcia is also not that far out from there. Add to that all the other bases they have in the Middle east and after a second thought we should probably ask the black helicopters to stand down.

  17. Mark

    re: Small, lightly armoured submarines!

    Good until George Bush is out on his yacht on an unscheduled (so that terrorists can't get him) cruise in the area.


  18. Graham Jordan

    Sword fish

    I'm down with the Sword Fish way of thinking. Kill em all, storm the seiged boats and pop a cap in their ass. Any hostages get wiped out in the process, collateral damage.

    Of course I'm also in a broken relationship where I don't love my girlfriend any more and every day I fight the urge to rip my arm off and beat her with it.

    Ha, she has a parrot to! What are the odds!

  19. oldsparks

    Pussy-footing with pirates

    It is time we stopped pussy-footing around with these pirates. Zim Lines ships (Israeli) are never attacked because they have heavy machine gun mountings on the bridge wings and down aft, and the crew know how to use them.

    When I was at sea in the 60s just about every British ship carried some sort of arms (although possibly not sufficient to deal with half a dozen pirates armed with RPGs and assault rifles). Where is the British spirit of yesteryear, when all of our deep-sea merchant vessels were armed, and fully expected to have to fight-off pirates on every voyage?

    We really have gone soft when we consider pirates' "human rights" are more important than our own and are not prepared to kill the bastards.

  20. mario
    Thumb Up

    way to go india

    take the fight back to the pirates.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    @ Jon Kale re: Lethal deterrent

    "if the world worked the way you claim, no-one would ever commit a capital crime."

    Come on, I'm not asking for 100% success rate. You're trying to tell me having a good chance of getting a hot chuck of shrapnel ripping though your chest isn't a powerful deterrent ?

    By your reasoning, any form of punishment (e.g. prison) has no effect on the number of crimes committed because people still commit crimes.

    When 9 out of 10 boats don't come back pirates will start to look to other activities.

  22. Philip Kroker

    What ever happened to the good old days?

    Back during the pirates hayday most if not all merchant ships were outfitted with cannon, why not do the same now? I realize that the official navies of the world can't prevent all attacks due to the volume of shipping and the fact that the pirates don't exactly fly the Jolly Roger, and I wouldn't approve of blowing every suspect ship out of the water because chances are you'd guess wrong. So arm the merchant vessels and I imagine the insurance companies might even give a discount if you outfitted your ship with a few 20mm autocannons, maybe a 5" deck gun or two and handed out assault rifles to the crew to deter pirate attacks. I'm fairly certain that after a few disasterous encounters all but the most hardened pirates will go home.

  23. Daniel B.

    Bring back the U-boats!

    I'd go for undercover subs "escorting" the merchant ships. When the merchants identify an approaching ship as a pirate, they just signal the sub, and let the torpedoes do their job. ;)

    Anyway ... does this mean global warming will stop? With this surge in pirate activity, I'd think so; all hail the FSM!

    Arrrr, mateys!

  24. davcefai

    Shades of Commander Crabbe

    What's wrong with a scuba attack, in harbour, with limpet mines? I believe the British perfected this technique in WW2.

  25. davenewman

    Live map isn't piracy

    The incidents mapped on the so-called live piracy map are often trivial, and not piracy, e.g.

    07.01.2008: 0235 LT: No. 5, Beira, Mozambique. Duty seaman onboard a, berthed, chemical tanker noticed one robber on the forecastle deck. Duty officer informed, and crew alerted. When confronted, robber threatened the duty seaman with a knife. Noticing the alert crew the robber jumped into the water and escaped. Ship stores stolen. Port facility informed.

  26. Dave Bell

    Full Marks to the Indian Navy

    It's nice to know that the traditions of the Royal Navy are being maintained by somebody.

  27. Pierre

    Too many PC wargame players here

    Killing pirates will never put an end to piracy. Sinking their "expensive" motherships might help though. The average pirate is desperate enough to take this kind of risk. As long as there will be people ready to pay ridiculous amounts of money and die while trying to immigrate from Africa to Italy, you won't be able to stop pirates by killing them.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Spot on about Q ships mate, thats exactly what I have been thinking.

    We need to tkae the fight up to these scumbags, and sink a few of their vessels.

  29. Tim Hogard

    It could be stopped

    The trick is to sink the motherships and any captured speed boats insight of land in the areas where the pirates recruit their members.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Will nobody think...

    ...of the effect on global warming this is having?

  31. Anonymous Coward

    re. Is it me being stupid or what?


    You can't use over-the-horizon weapons against an unverified target; any suspicious vessels must be visited first to prove wrong-doing. What are you, Merkin or something?

    The cheapest solution is to outsource. India could field more of the right kind of bang-per-buck than western navies so pay them to do it. Go India!

  32. TeeCee Gold badge


    200 miles out?

    Presumably the reason they abandoned one speedboat was to put all the available fuel into the other to stand a chance of getting to shore.

    Let's hope they don't make it.

  33. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Good on the Indian Navy

    Kudos to the ship commander for upholding a long-standing naval tradition in the proper manner and giving the pirates an honest chance to turn themselves in.

    And I fully approve of sinking pirate ships, be they motherships or speedboats.

    However, even though the thought of eradicating piracy with extreme prejudice makes no never mind to me, it must be said that maybe, just maybe, if we tackled the root of the problem (ie the desperation that drives these men to piracy in the first place) and allowed or even encouraged third-world nations to have a proper economy and become stable and prosperous, then perhaps these problems would go away by themselves ?

    If a man has a choice between a legal job that sustains himself and his family, and an illegal, life-threatening "job" that does much better, I believe most men will choose the legal job with relief, and leave the illegal one to the rabid nutters.

    When rabid nutters are the only ones left doing piracy on the high seas, THEN we can blow out of the water on sight without remorse.

    Meanwhile, could the other warships in the zone at least do things the Indian way ?

  34. Hollerith

    Woodes Rogers

    Piracy was pretty much eliminated in the Caribbean by Woodes Rogers in the early 1700s. Concerted efforts in the early 1800s sorted the Corsairs in the Mediterranean. It takes a No Tolerance attitude and persistence, but finally the cost/pain equation tips in favour of 'lets find another illegal way of earning a living' for those in Somali.

    @Thomas Baker -- one of Al Qaeda's demands is US troops out of Saudi Arabia, ie infidels out of the land of Mecca. The USA just wants a big base in the region. It doesn't have to be Saudi Arabia. Somali is also reasonably close and they could have a big win throught the Middle East, and ease tensions (of which Al Qaeda is simply an extreme expression) if they vacated Saudi and moved south.

    Another thought: British and American arms manufacturers are constantly selling Saudi vast billions of pounds worth of fighter planes, military helicopters, naval vessels, etc etc. Aside from Gulf War I, have the Saudis ever used any of this kit in battle. Could their navy perhaps try out those pointy-machine-gun looking things towards pirates? Just a thought?

  35. Pete James


    While the idea of having a shoot on sight policy for piracy in the area sounds just fine to the simple folk here, perhaps it is worth reminding you all that these pirates already have a sizeable number of captured vessels and crew under their control moored off the Somali coast around Eyl.

    The first concern should be to release the hostage merchants seamen otherwise there will be a very real risk of the pirates adopting a tit-for-tat shootings policy and raising their ransom demands for the captured cargos.

    Additionally the country has been without any effective government for years. The piracy has been bred out of a completely lawless state and won't be stamped out until this is resolved - and even then there may be a long struggle to stamp out this menace with groups forming to resist any new authorities attempt to deliver law and order to communities that have enjoyed some considerable cash payments to date.

    Alternatively all the armchair Rambos out there who spout off about simply killing the pirates could club together, buy a boat and sail out to the region themselves. That's if they can tear themselves away from their porn and JCvD videos of course.

  36. Mad Mike

    Same as terrorists

    Piracy is basically terrorism of the seas. Most of the developed world has a standard policy for terrorism. You never deal with them and if the opportunity arises, you send in the armed forces. Iranian Embassy etc.etc. The reason is not to stop it entirely; you never will. The reason is that to deal or do nothing will simply encourage them more and more and the incidence will rise. So, you either keep it ticking along at a low rate by taking a firm stance, or you give in and see the numbers rise exponentially.

    The US has various naval units specifically tasked with retaking ships and sea platforms of various types. There's no point maintaining forces if you're not prepared to use them. So, in you go..................

    With the average pirate ship having no more than RPGs and light weapons, it doesn't actually take that much to deal with them. RPGs are of no practical use beyond a very short distance and the heavy structural steel used in ships (at least any of a decent size) maken them pretty useless at causing anything but light damage. Additionally small arms fire is not very effective against the steel either.

  37. Olly Molyneux


    For the love of Blackbeard where did all you pirate experts appear from??!

    Were you all born in the 17th Century or something, or have you just been playing too much Monkey Island or whatever it was called?

    Anyway, I think Johnny Depp in a Disney-themed dingy using the twin swords of wit and repartie would sort all this piracy-cafuffle out nicely.

  38. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    @ Shades of Commander Crabbe

    Just don't get the French to help - the last time they sunk a boat this way their agents got banged up in an Auckland jail, at least until some dubious economic strongarming got them moved to sunnier climes in French Polynesia. Somalia doesn't have a lot of exports to the EU, I don't think they'd have the same leverage here.

  39. W

    @ Anonymous Coward - Thursday 20th November 2008 08:22 GMT


  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to get real, Pirates included.

    The bleeding hearts of the world are deeply appreciated by all Pirates. I'm sure when they fire their RPGs at ships, they have no intentions of injuring anyone. These poor Pirates are just looking to EXTORT money through kidnapping and threats of blowing up the ship and crew - as they have stated in their extortion DEMANDS.

    Time to get in touch with reality. If these scumbags really wanted to change their lot in life they'd work like everyone else or move to a place where life is easier and get a frigging job. Piracy is not the answer, it's a despicable crime against innocent people and these criminals should die for their crimes. You don't negotiate with terroriists including Pirate terrorists. You vaporize their worthless arses.

  41. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    re: Live map isn't piracy

    If he swam to the ship with the knife in his mouth he was a pirate.

  42. Mark

    re: Time to get real, Pirates included.

    So, in the interests of not having a bleeding heart, I have decided not to give a fuck about the people on this cheap-ass trade boat.

    Let them die.

    (is that better?)

  43. Andus McCoatover


    <<I like the pirate stories, especially when we have at the scurvy dogs and give them a jolly good thrashing>>

    What's wrong with giving them a Jolly Good Rodgering (ducky)? ;-)

    Limp Wrist icon, please!

  44. Andus McCoatover

    Jolly (Tadger) Roger

    Last time I thought the JR was flown was on the submarine HMS Conqueror, in the Falklands "dispute" when she launched 3 torpedoes at the Gen. Belgrano, and sank it.

    I remember watching her on TV coming into Faslane, flying the flag. I must admit, I thought it was obscene, seeing 300+ sailors died in the attack which, IIRC, the justification for which is still disputed.

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