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OT: How to deal with pirates

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  • OT: How to deal with pirates

    Three long-distance headshots, in the dark, from the rolling deck of a Navy ship in high seas. My hat's off to them!

    US captain freed; Somali pirates vow to retaliate

    (AP) Apr 13, 8:54 AM (ET)

    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - Bracing themselves on a rolling warship in choppy seas, U.S. Navy snipers fired three flawless shots to kill a trio of Somali pirates and free the American sea captain being held at gunpoint, a Navy commander said Monday.

    The nighttime operation was a victory for the world's most powerful military, but few experts believed it would quell a rising tide of attacks in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

    Interviewed from Bahrain, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command chief Vice Adm. Bill Gortney said the takedown happened shortly after the hostage-takers were observed by sailors aboard the USS Bainbridge "with their heads and shoulders exposed."

    U.S. Defense officials said snipers got the go-ahead to fire after one pirate held an AK-47 so close to Capt. Richard Phillips' back that the weapon appeared to be touching him. Two other pirates popped their heads up, giving snipers three clear targets, one official said.

    The Navy released images of the scene from an unmanned drone that showed snipers positioning themselves on the fantail of the USS Bainbridge. The snipers fired simultaneously.
    Asked how the snipers could have killed each pirate with a single shot in the dark, Gortney described them as "extremely, extremely well-trained." He told NBC's "Today" show that the shooting was ordered by the captain of the Bainbridge.

    The SEALS arrived on the scene by parachuting from their aircraft into the sea, and were picked up by the Bainbridge, a senior U.S. official said.

    He said negotiations with the pirates had been "going up and down." The official, asking not to be publicly identified because he, too, was not authorized to discuss this on the record, said the pirates were "becoming increasingly agitated in the rough waters; they weren't getting what they wanted."

    Just as it was getting dark, pirates fired a tracer bullet "toward the Bainbridge," further heightening the sense that the incident was ratcheting up, the official said.

    He said when the time snipers fired, Phillips' hands were bound. Phillips was not hurt in several minutes of gunfire Sunday.

    News of Phillips' rescue caused his crew in Kenya to break into wild cheers and brought tears to the eyes of those in Phillips' hometown of Underhill, Vermont, half a world away from the Indian Ocean drama.
    Last edited by lazlo; 04-13-2009, 10:22 AM.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

  • #2
    Thats how a response should be. Glad to see the Bainbridge Captain had the nerve to order it.

    Comment


    • #3
      I am retired Army, but in this case... Kudos and salutes to the Seal Snipers! GO NAVY!

      Comment


      • #4
        Well Done

        No Brain No Pain.

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        • #5
          I must be naive or very ignorant about the rules on the high seas. Seems everybody is fretting over these pirates. Would it not be feasible in the short term, to have a small well-armed trained team (ex-Blackwater types) on the ships, and whatever happens in the sea ,stays in the sea? Also , don't these ships have 24hr lookouts ,radar, night vision, that should be able to spot these guys coming? I get the feeling somebodys not doing their job. Seems like you could take care of the problem before they ever got to your ship. I'am sure the official response will be to send more aid to this impoverished place, as a deterrent, yeah right.

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          • #6
            Amazing, exactly what was called for, short, sharp and exact.

            I cant believe that these days with pocket computers, global mobile phone coverage, laser eye surgery etc we still have pirates, ridiculous! Whats more, they get away with it more times than not.
            If it does'nt fit, hit it.
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            • #7
              These "pirates" I would think would have to be a fairly sophisticated bunch, and something you should be able to detect at some fair distance before they got to your ship??

              I mean after all, you do not simply pull along side and board an ocean going freighter running at full steam on the open ocean from a 12' rubber dingy?? The boat they board from has to be something fairly substantial, fairly easily seen and/or detected.

              The freighter captains know they are potentially a target in this area of the world, arm the freighters and let it be known that any vessel that gets within 1/2 a mile of them will be dealt with accordingly unless they clearly indentify themselves when requested.

              Of course then again, I doubt these freighter companies are much different than any other money grubbers in the world of business, if it's gonna cost $1.49 extra to protect the boat properly it's not likely in the budget and they'll just take their chances. Of all the ships out there, whats the chances of your's being the next one to get highjacked??


              Oh, and I doubt the guns the snipers were equipped with were your average garden variety M16's, more likely something that the civilian world scarcely knows about.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by daryl bane
                Would it not be feasible in the short term, to have a small well-armed trained team (ex-Blackwater types) on the ships, and whatever happens in the sea ,stays in the sea?
                I was wondering the same thing -- in the Old West, companies would hire Pinkertons to guard their shipments.

                Blackwater is the modern equivalent of Pinkertons (ex-military mercenaries/bodyguards). But I know a lot of Blackwater guys are ex special forces, so I doubt they're cheap.
                "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                • #9
                  I vote for a 100 yard no-violate zone. Cross the line and watch a stream of burning napalm from the deck guns walk toward your craft. The fire goes out when the IR signature indicate no life on the intruding vessel. And I'd stream the NapalmCam video on YouTube just so everyone gets the idea.

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                  • #10
                    Radar activated Chain gun.

                    Most pirates are armed with arm launched rocket launchers.

                    Just cut the boat up at say 1/4 mile. Kinda like they did the USS Liberty.
                    Excuse me, I farted.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by daryl bane
                      Also , don't these ships have 24hr lookouts ,radar, night vision, that should be able to spot these guys coming? I get the feeling somebodys not doing their job. Seems like you could take care of the problem before they ever got to your ship.
                      I agree Daryl, been sayin the same thing. With the quality of the radar on the ship, and the fact that it's mounted so high off of the water, they should easily be aware of pirates several hours before they arive. Gives em plenty of time to go wake up the sharpshooter and put him back on the stern with a 50 cal. Pirates in a skiff on the open ocean wouldn't stand a chace.

                      ME

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by daryl bane
                        Also , don't these ships have 24hr lookouts ,radar, night vision, that should be able to spot these guys coming?
                        They have all of that stuff actually, but it doesn't really help. The pirates are usually in larger skiffs that are 2 or 3 times faster than a freighter. The other main issue is all the international laws/bs that effectively prevent merchants from carrying any kind of real firepower.
                        Last edited by dan s; 04-13-2009, 11:34 AM.
                        -Dan S.
                        dans-hobbies.com

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                        • #13
                          There are lots of problems with arming the crews, even though it sounds like a good solution.

                          and money looms large, for sure.

                          About 1/2 of 1 percent of all ships that sail this stretch are attacked- which would mean 99.5% of your money is wasted, and beancounters run shipping companies, for sure. Especially now, when shipping profits are nonexistent- these companies are losing money like crazy this year.

                          Most shipping company insurance would double or triple if the crews were armed.

                          The rise in insurance costs alone would probably be ten times or more what is paid in ransoms right now. And, so far, anyway, the actual injuries and deaths from pirates have been very few- the losses have all been monetary, except to our pride.

                          Furthermore, most ports, worldwide, will not allow armed merchant ships to dock. So you would have to figure out some way of disarming, like checking your guns at the door, before you docked anywhere- probably impractical, but definitely really expensive.

                          Then, there is crew competence- this ship was american flagged- because the US government requires all US military goods to be shipped in american flagged vessels, there are a VERY FEW american flagged and crewed freighters. Something like 400 total, but only 100 or so general freight like this.

                          The vast majority of crews are very low paid Phillipino or Pakistani or Chinese or other third world guys, who are not great candidates to hand guns to, without extensive, and expensive, training. You hire a cook, or a crane operator, for a few hundred bucks a month. A real Blackwater op, ex US military, expects to get paid a hundred grand a year or more. In many cases, even the captain on these ships doesnt get paid that much.

                          And what weapons would you give these guys?
                          The pirates have full auto AK's, RPG's, and, sometimes, even PK machine guns.

                          To defend against this, you would need at least similar, and hopefully, larger, arms.
                          M 60's, grenade launches, missiles, and so on.

                          Big bucks. There is a reason we spend $8 Billion a month in Iraq- real military grade equipment is expensive to buy and maintain, and training for the guys to use it costs a lot too.

                          Not to mention that a lot of these ships are oil and natural gas tankers. Ship owners tend to shudder at the thought of gun battles taking place around a few million gallons of flammable liquids.

                          The idea of actually arming crews is probably a nonstarter.
                          And the coastline of Somalia is as long as the entire Eastern Seaboard of the USA. To patrol it well, figure a quarter of our navy, along with 2 or three major bases, to the tune of Billions of bucks a year.

                          If it was easy, somebody would have done it already.

                          The real solution is gonna be a stable government in Somalia- which, for the last hundred years, has been a bit of a problem.

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                          • #14
                            Israeli ships are armed to the teeth. When I worked on shipboard electronics in LA harbor I'd been patted down numerous times on the gangway of Israeli ships by very serious looking gentlemen with Uzis who would safe the weapon only when I was able to identify all my radar components in my spares box.

                            It can be done - it's being done. It just needs to be a priority.

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                            • #15
                              Thats how a response should be. Glad to see the Bainbridge Captain had the nerve to order it.
                              He didn't need to worry. It was reported here that The President had already given him orders to use deadly force at his discretion if he felt the hostage was in danger. He had a blank check.

                              Vice Admiral William Gortney of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet says elite special forces aboard the USS Bainbridge took action on orders from President Barack Obama to use deadly force, if Phillip's life was at stake.
                              http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-04-13-voa6.cfm
                              Last edited by Evan; 04-13-2009, 11:54 AM.
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