jeudi 19 janvier 2023

Piracy on the maritime routes - English Version

Piracy on the maritime routes
"English Version

Translated with (free version)

(Sorry if there are errors in the meaning, word or verb of the expressions).

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It is from the 90s that modern Piracy becomes important. During the economic crisis of 1997, an explosion of piracy acts begins.

Indonesian pirates
Soon shipping companies became concerned... In Southeast Asia, pirates boarded ships in search of money, personal belongings of sailors or easily resold goods.

Map of modern piracy in the world 2010-2020
They take advantage of the multitude of islands, coves and islets to hide. Indeed, the local navies cannot cover certain areas like Indonesia, which is bathed by thousands of islands...

Pirates trying to get on a ship.
Sophisticated attacks with cargo theft with transhipment of goods on other ships have taken place as with palm oil or car or computer spare parts...

Somali pirates
On average, the number of attacks in this Asian sector is between 150 and 200 per year, with a peak in 2000 and 2015.

Arrest of pirates by the US Navy
Similarly, terrorist groups have begun to practice hostage-taking of passengers and sailors with ransom demands... In 2004, the Americans will work to deploy patrols from their naval base located in Singapore.

Arrest of pirates by the US Navy
In the mid 2000's, a significant number of piracies began off the coast of Somalia, with small boats staying at sea for days or even weeks waiting to cross paths with a small ship to attack it.

French frigate escorting the Ponant
We note an increase in hostage taking rather than cargo theft. In 2008, a French cruise ship, the PONANT, was taken hostage by a dozen Somali pirates.

Somali pirates taking pictures on board the Ponant
The crew is taken prisoner and is composed of 30 hostages: 22 French, including six women, six Filipinos, one Ukrainian and one Cameroonian. A ransom is demanded to free them and return the ship...

zodiac of the marine commandos and the GIGN at the back of the PONANT
A military intervention, coordinated with marine commandos and the GIGN, will be carried out. Code name : THALATINE

French sniper near the Ponant during its hostage taking
  French Forces will pursue the hostage takers.

Arrest of Somali Ponant pirates boarding a French Helicopter on Somali soil
They arrested six of them with the ransom and they were detained, tried and sentenced in France.

Poster of the movie "Captain PHILLIPS"
The Americans will also intervene in 2009 with the hijacking of the MAERSK ALABAMA, where a fim will be produced illustrating this act of piracy: "Captain PHILLIPS" with Tom HANKS.

The Danish cargo ship "LEOPARD" at sea
Other Western countries will also experience this situation, like Denmark with the ship "LEOPARD" whose sailors were held hostage for more than 800 days...

Illustration image
But smaller countries did not benefit from the means of Western countries to save them. Some kidnapped Asian sailors have been held for years, even the owner of the stolen ship abandoning the negotiations and his ship...

Container ship
Pirates try to attack easy preys such as shallow draft fishing vessels, as well as chemical tankers or small cargo ships. Indeed, container ships are faster and above all very accessible in case of collision...

Image from the movie "Captain PHILLIPS"
To prevent pirates from boarding, shipping companies have put in place means to repel them like with fire hoses.

Image from the movie "Captain PHILLIPS »
or even powerful jets surrounding the ship.

Sailor equipped with a machine gun and a bulletproof vest
But the determination of pirates armed with automatic rifles, sometimes equipped with rocket launchers, to force companies to equip their sailors with automatic weapons, to ask for help from their country or from private military companies (contractors) more experienced than their crew.

Somali coastguards on their boat in 2013
Indeed, the countries where the pirates are operating are poor and the local authorities have very few means to fight against these pirates.

U.S. Navy Arrests Pirates
Pirates equip themselves with barrels of gasoline and food to get as close as possible to the ships they attack. They can stay at sea for weeks before finding their prey

French sailors in firing training
This is why the military Marines of different Western countries intervened.

Military observing the possible approach of pirates
Maritime convoys leave protected by a military frigate.

Philippine and Japanese coast guards during a joint intervention exercise
The authorities of richer countries have equipped themselves with intervention units and professional coast guards and train their sailors to intervene on ships, as here in the Philippines

French Gendarme of a PSMP
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the ISPFS code came into force in July 2004. ISPFS stands for International Ship and Port Facility Security.
In addition to its marine commandos who can intervene on all seas, France has specialized Gendarmerie units in various French ports: the PSMP

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French Gendarmes of a PSMP in progress in a ship
These units are ready to intervene against any act of piracy on board ships, especially in French zones.

French Marine Commando advancing on a ship during a training session
At sea, these are Marine commandos who can intervene and are experienced in hostage rescue operations or in taking over a ship from pirates.
They can also be found in the COS INVEX

Intervention of American MSRT during a training session
In the same way, the American Navy also has special units like the MSRT COAST GUARD specialized in this type of missions :

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Military on the deck of a Dutch merchant ship
In this device that the shipowners have adopted exist different means of protection for their ship such as the immediate alert of an attack with a simple button in the wheelhouse, or the locking of all the accesses of the ship or a "citadel", a kind of gigantic "PANIC ROOM", where the crew can take refuge and direct the ship.

Arrest of pirates
Various maritime powers have sent their navies to protect straits or gulfs. Numerous military operations such as "ATALANTE" or "OCEAN SHIELD" are still in action to assist ships under attack.

Arrest of pirates
In 2019, there were 162 reported acts of piracy. They materialized in 130 boardings and 11 vessels were fired upon. The human toll: of these 162 acts, 210 crew members were impacted. Only one sailor was killed off the coast of Panama.

Illustration image
While there has been a notable decrease off Somalia and Yemen, this is due to the presence of war marines.
The growth of piracy is on the West African side, with TOGO, BENIN and NIGERIA. Some facts are also to be noted in the West Indies axis and always in Asia and in the Indian Ocean.
This phenomenon of piracy has been established over time and requires a continuous presence of War Marines in high-risk areas and additional protection means...

Here are some videos of contractors or military marines
 repelling pirates' assault



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