Daily Archives: February 6, 2010

Caribbean-flagged merchant ship rescued from pirates off Somalia. Time for Q-Ships!

Danish warship Absalon saved the day

Pirates boarded, fired machine guns – Danish Naval Team stormed vessel & freed crew

* Some reports state ship is “Barbados-flagged”, some say “Antigua & Barbuda-flagged”

The crew of the Caribbean-flagged merchant vessel Ariella is back in control after a pirate attack off the coast of Somalia on Friday. The crew radioed for assistance and then took refuge in a “safe compartment” as the pirates attacked and boarded the ship.

Details are still coming in, but it appears that some of the pirates are unaccounted for. They may have gone over the side and ended up feeding the sharks.

No sympathy here. None at all.

Not to mention that the political rules of the game dictate that when pirates are captured by the patrolling navies they are often turned over to Somalian “authorities” for “trial”.

As if some government is actually running Somalia with authority and rule of law.

What should be done with pirates who fire weapons at merchant vessels in international waters?

In my opinion, the vessel under attack and patrolling warships should initiate an immediate, massive and overwhelming armed response that would see little need for post-action search and rescue of surviving pirates.

A couple of months of an 80% loss rate on the part of the pirates should take care of the situation.

Q-Ships – They worked before!

Back in World Wars I and II, the Allied merchant fleet came under attack by German and Japanese submarines, the Americans and the Brits took ragged-looking cargo vessels and loaded them up with concealed heavy guns. These were called “Q-ships” and were a classic wolf in sheep’s clothing ploy. When an enemy submarine surfaced and closed the range to fire on the lone “victim”, part of the Q-ship crew would make a great show of preparing to abandon ship – putting on life-jackets, lowering lifeboats and even rowing away.

As the submarine came within range with its guard down, panels in the sides of the Q-ship would open up and the concealed guns would blast away with overwhelming firepower. The tactic was successful in both wars not only in sinking enemy submarines but also forcing the enemy to give up surface attacks.

Today a few Q-ships working in conjunction with the Naval forces patrolling the African coast should make the remaining pirates think about a new line of work… but not if the world’s politicians continue to pussyfoot instead of taking the necessary action.

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