Understanding & Addressing the
Contrary to media reports, modern pirates
are not simply rag-tag bands of stateless
brigands. The men who scramble up the side
of the ship may be dressed in ragged
clothing, but the operations are composed of
large, cooperative gangs, financed by
wealthy criminal patrons, and supported by
complex, high-tech intelligence groups.
Modern piracy groups have flexibility of
movement, more than ample funding,
continuously upgrade their equipment and
weaponry, can appear and disappear at will,
control many corrupt officials, and use
large numbers of operatives to gather
information on profitable targets.
These gangs also act in concert, based upon
solid intelligence, and with extreme speed.
The total time required to
identify, surround, board and take control
of a ship can be less than 15 minutes.
Modern ships are not prepared to face their
onslaughts and are easily overcome. Piracy
is highly profitable at present. Ransoms
run from several hundred thousand dollars to
The rigidity of the law makes dealing with
piracy especially difficult. Security forces
are not permitted
to carry firearms through Customs and onto
vessels in most of the world. Transporting
weapons from country to country requires
special permissions and cannot always be
accomplished on a moment’s notice. And, on
top of this, the legal right to attack
foreign vessels is a very difficult area of
international law. For example, UK naval
forces are presently forbidden to attack
pirates, even if they are mounting a hijack.
Neither can captured pirates be tried in
So, once a ship reaches international
waters, they are on their own, and the
people who might protect them are restrained
in their activities. This is a difficult
situation and one that will probably not
change quickly, since demands to protect
national sovereignty at all costs prevent
Another problem is that of jurisdiction.
According to Brad Kieserman, chief of the
U.S. Coast Guard's operations law group:
“Prosecuting can be difficult because the
effort often exceeds the benefit. You get
flags from one country, witnesses from
another, suspects from another—how do you
put that all together in court?”
Following are several possible options for
shipping firms, along with considerations:
Re-route via the Cape. This results in
increased cost and longer transit time.
Re-route via the Suez Canal. This results in
increased insurance costs, threats to both
crew and ship, and possible loss of the
ship, cargo and crew.
Sailing in a convoy:
All vessels must comply with convoy timings
and sail with other independent vessels for
These are slow vessels, traveling at less
than 14 knots; making them easy targets.
On board security team:
Minimum four-man team is required.
Most likely limited to a non-lethal
hoses work at extremely short-range.
LRAD (long-Range Acoustic Device) fires
laser-like beams of excruciatingly painful
sound at attackers, but range is limited to
600 meters, and the strategy is limited with
multiple boats, some of whom are certain to
fire RPGs at the operator.
Machine guns are limited to 1000 meters and
are also vulnerable to multiple attackers.
PRC’S Conditional Solution
WE BELEIVE THE ONLY EFFECTIVE WAY TO COMBAT
PIRACY IS TO HARDEN THE TARGET AND THE
CREATION OF A MOBILE INTELLIGENCE CELL PRIOR
TO VESSEL’S PASSAGE THROUGH HOSTILE WATERS.
Convince the Pirate Intel operations that
ours is a hard target: Publicize security
operations through the mainstream local
media and international broadcasters by
reporting commencement of contracts between
PRC and the shipping firm. Show heavily
armed security personal boarding vessels.
Employ small, shipboard, remotely controlled
planes and Helicopters equipped with
infrared as well as heat-sensing cameras for
the purpose of day & night investigation and
surveillance as well as collecting evidence
of armed approach by hostile speedboats.
Engage and immobilize hostile vessels well
before reaching the effective range of a .50
calibre machinegun to avoid possible damage
to the ship, its crew and cargo.
Create a Maritime Research Unit (MRU)
The Work of the Maritime Research Unit (MRU)
The general goal of the MRU is to collate,
analyze, utilize, enable and disseminate
up-to-date information, from ground zero,
which will be relayed to all cooperative
security teams, whilst they are passing
through high risk areas that are prone to
acts of piracy and maritime terrorism.
Specific work-items follow:
intelligence gathering via cooperation
agreements with other security
Work to obtain legislated immunity from
prosecution for security personnel
engaging pirates on and in the vicinity
of targeted vessels.
Work on a legislated “No Approach Zone”
of a one half-mile radius around any
ship carrying combustible or volatile
Obtain and publicize authorization and
acceptance of a Shoot First, Ask
Questions Later philosophy by
governments, security companies and
Find, identify, and trace potential
information leaks at client base.
Deploy on ground four man intelligence
team in areas in which the vessel will
eventually pass through.
Utilize the hearts & minds concept.
Seek out indicators to potentially
predict a possible attack.
Gather further intelligence on the
ground & provide continued updates to
Use of covert surveillance techniques.
Gather evidence for client.
Transmit continuous intelligence to the
client and the vessel.
Establish a source network.
Establish a cell system of informants
for continual use.
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