Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 33 728x90

Leading Maritime intelligence provider cautions against complacency

by Meredyth Grant on 2 Oct 2012
Dryad Maritime Intelligence Operations Centre, Portsmouth, UK Meredyth Grant
Pirate operatives have awoken from their hibernation to venture forth from safe havens and launch long-range mothership-enabled pirate operations with the first confirmed attack in the Arabian Sea on Monday this week.

Following three months of very limited deployments constrained to the Southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and sheltered areas along the Omani coast, Dryad Maritime predicted that, despite industry optimism of 2012, the end of the South West monsoon season will see the resumption of pirate attacks. The first attack of the pirate season came on Monday when an Omani dhow was attacked near the port of Salalah.

'Somali pirates are not out of business, even if times are hard when compared to the success of earlier years. The pirate business has suffered a few setbacks, but the threat remains a very real one; the capability is intact and the motivation of those engaged is unlikely to have been diminished to the point of defeat. The message is clear - complacency is the greatest threat and constant vigilance, the greatest weapon in the fight against Somali pirates,' said Ian Millen, Director of Intelligence, Dryad Maritime.

Dryad Maritime’s combination of monitoring and regular observation of environmental conditions has confirmed that, over recent weeks, wind speeds and wave heights across the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea have decreased heralding the approach of the inter-monsoonal period. This will create the optimum conditions for pirates to test the water further afield, no longer constrained by adverse weather conditions.

However, various international maritime bodies have heralded the end of this year’s monsoon season as ‘pivotal’ going so far as to champion cautious optimism. Indeed recent statistics would support this approach. The relative calm of recent weeks has been a reflection of the suppressive operations conducted by naval forces in waters normally featuring pirate activity (Gulf of Aden and Southern Red Sea) in previous South West monsoon periods.

Only a few months ago the US Navy issued a report which showed acts of piracy in the treacherous waters around the Horn of Africa had fallen sharply. This was supported by a similar paper issued by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). The numbers are astounding and encouraging - only 46 pirate attacks occurred in the area in 2012 compared with 222 in 2011 and 239 in 2010. Only nine of the piracy attempts this year have been successful, a significant decrease set against 34 successful attacks in 2011 and 68 in 2010 (See Dryad’s Pirate activity graph 2010-11).

'In the face of such figures, we could be forgiven for thinking that it is ‘game over’ for Somali pirates, beaten into submission by coalition maritime forces and frustrated by the layered defence of predictive intelligence, armed guards and effective physical protection. To do so, however, would be a big mistake because so little has changed when viewed through the eyes of the maritime criminals in question,' said Millen.



This sea-change is largely attributed to both aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry. Commercial vessels are increasingly carrying armed security teams and no vessel with such a team on board has yet been hijacked.

Even Superyachts with their superior speed and maneuverability carry armed guards when transiting through the high risk Gulf of Aden area. Similarly, 2012 has seen a number of well reported high profile counter-piracy raids conducted by US and European forces. Some experts believe this is acting as a deterrent to potential hostage- takers.

March saw the release of Judith Tebbutt who had been held since September 2011; July, Deborah Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari held for seventeen months and in August, the crew of the MV Albedo who had been held since November 2010. Dryad concur with security commentators that for the first time in many years there are no cruising sailors known to be held captive by pirates.

The most striking fact is that there have been no successful pirate attacks on large merchant vessels since May and none attempted since the end of June. Although this is normal and expected in open ocean areas during the monsoon season, it is the longest gap in pirate attacks in the last five years in the Horn of Africa (Source: The Daily Telegraph 08 August 2012 ‘Piracy attacks drop to zero for first full month in five years).

But this optimism must be tempered, piracy remains rife in the waters around Somalia meaning that the most popular and natural route for recreational sailors is still firmly off limits and all cruising sailors are still advised in the strongest possible terms to avoid the North Western Indian Ocean.



Based on the changing trends a transiting yacht may appear a far more attractive target (despite meagre pickings) than a commercial vessel. Despite the interventions carried out by international naval forces which act as a preventive measure to contain pirate motherships and skiffs in harbour; with well over 1000 miles of Somali
coastline to launch from, Dryad predicts that pirates will manage to get to sea and evade military patrols in the area.

Similarly, following the end of the South West monsoon, Dryad advise that the sheer vastness of the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean will open up for pirate business. It is extremely difficult for international naval forces to comprehensively patrol such a sizeable threat area and responding to incidents in such open ocean areas is by no means instantaneous. Although there are plenty of statistics and reports to show months of inaction, Dryad Maritime have issued guidance to caution against complacency - the biggest threat to vessels at sea. Somali pirates only have to get lucky once to carry out the next successful hijacking.

Dryad’s Recommendations

Dryad’s advice to mariners focuses on continuous vigilance and strict compliance with internationally recognised measures for reducing risk. The first step to reducing risk ina high threat area is comprehensive planning taking into account the historical and current pirate threat, alongside prevailing weather conditions. Vessels should also register with the appropriate authorities such as UKMTO and MSC HoA to let the right people know where they are and effect timely assistance or enable proactive naval interventions should they observe or fall foul of pirate action.

The risk of pirate attack and hijack can further be reduced through the provision of intelligence, constant crew vigilance, dynamic re-routing and taking appropriate measures to harden and protect the vessel.

More at www.dryadmaritime.com

Naiad/Oracle SupplierProtector - 660 x 82Zhik ZKG 660x82

Related Articles

A Q&A with US Sailing’s Malcolm Page about the Sailing World Cup Miami
I spoke with Malcolm Page, US Sailing’s Olympic chief, about the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami I talked with Malcolm Page (AUS), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Men’s 470 class and the chief of Olympic sailing at US Sailing, to get his pulse on the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami and discuss some recent coaching changes within the Olympic-sailing program.
Posted on 20 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Ttop cyclist Simon van Velthooven, a 2012 Olympic Bronze cycling medallist had been signed by the America's Cup team Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.
Posted on 15 Feb
A Q&A with Shawn Macking about the StPYC’s Sailing Center and OD fleet
I talked with Shawn Macking, the StPYC’s waterfront director, to learn how the club is getting more people out sailing. I caught up with Shawn Macking, waterfront director of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, via email to learn more about the club’s Sailing Center, its hefty investment in a new fleet of ten J/70s, and how the StPYC is using this infrastructure to expose more people to the sport we all love.
Posted on 13 Feb
A Q&A with Karen Angle about the 2017 Conch Republic Cup race to Cuba
I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event. If you’re like me and have arrived at saturation with winter’s cold rain and snow, imagine racing to Cuba as part of a 13-day cross-cultural event that’s designed to lower barriers of entry at a time when some Americans see a need for taller walls. I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event and the adventures it affords.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Anna Tunnicliffe about her return to competitive sailing
I talked with Anna Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial before shifting her sights to the Women’s Match Racing event for the London 2012 Olympics. Here, she came up shy of expectation and left sailing for the CrossFit Games, but now she is returning to her roots. I talked with Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Dick Neville, Quantum Key West Race Week’s RC chairman
I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for the Quantum Key West Race Week, to learn more about the event. For the past 30 years, international sailors have gathered in Key West, Florida, each January for Key West Race Week, a regatta that has achieved legendary status due to its calendar dates, its location, and the impressive level of competition and racecourse management that this storied event offers. I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for this year’s Quantum KWRW, to learn more.
Posted on 16 Jan
A Q&A with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Race’s new deputy race director
I talked with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Round The World Race’s new deputy race director, to learn more about his role. I was fortunate to sail with Daniel Smith [36, SCO], skipper of “Derry~Londonderry~Doire” for the 2015/2016 edition of the Clipper Round The World Race, when the fleet reached Seattle last spring. Now, Smith has been hired as the event’s deputy race director-a job that will test many of the skills that he polished as a skipper. I caught up with Smith via email to learn more about his new job.
Posted on 9 Jan
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - More merriment on the airwaves
Here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and Hobart Race Control So on December 29, 2016, after the River Derwent had let just three boats home (Perpetual Loyal, Giacomo and Scallywag, all inside the old race record, she went to sleep for a lot of the day. This made it frustrating for the sailors, some of whom saw the lighter side. So after seeing some of those in Dark & Stormy, here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and HRC
Posted on 29 Dec 2016