Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stopping Piracy The Old-Fashioned Way

Having a nominal Somali government that invites us inside the 12 nm limit seems to be a good way to stop piracy in the Horn of Africa, but sometimes it just takes the old American standby, "concentrated application of superior firepower".
A U.S. Navy warship fired on and sank two skiffs used by pirates Sunday to hijack a merchant vessel off the coast of Somalia, U.S. officials said Monday.
The USS Porter responded to a distress call from the merchant vessel carrying benzene, the officials said. Sunday's shooting took place in international waters, they said...
...The officials said that when the Porter fired on the skiffs tied up to the merchant vessel, it was not known the ship was filled with highly flammable benzene.
It's a good thing the gunners on the Porter shot accurately -- those coastal gas carriers in that part of the world don't have very thick hulls. It would have been somewhat embarrassing to have to announce that we had accidentally destroyed the merchant in order to save it...

...on the other hand, I really like the concept of pirates and terrorists being lit up by a CWIS in surface mode.

Update 2204 29 Oct: It turns out the skiffs destroyed by the Porter were empty, since the pirates had already taken over the ship. USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) is now in pursuit inside Somali waters. Hopefully we'll get a good ending to this story.

Update 1001 30 Oct: Reports are sketchy, but it appears that the crew of the merchant, which may be North Korean, have regained control of their vessel from the pirates. No word yet on the pirates' fate.

Update 1424 30 Oct: Now I'm all confused. It now appears that there are two merchants, one of which freed themselves from the pirates (killing some), and another that is being chased by a destroyer.

Update 1605 30 Oct: Here's a Navy photo of one of the burning skiffs, sunk by 25mm fire.


Anonymous quotecritter said...

Heard on board the pirate skiff

Were gonna need a bigger boat....INCOMING

10/29/2007 4:40 PM

Anonymous quotecritter said...

I was just thinking about something that happen back about I guess 1966 when I was in a holding pattern after basic and A school and got sent to TAD on a reserve tin can out of Tampa while waiting for my transfer to Bainbridge MD for basic Nuke school.

We were out on a local op doing among other things doing annual gun quals for the 5 inch 50's by the Weapons department.

We had a cruiser out of Mayport setting up the target run with them having a cable streaming aft with a floating skid with the intended target about 400 yards behind in tow.

Well we had this grizzled old Korea Vet GMMC on board about 10 days before hanging up his career after 30 years and when the Captain cleared him for the shot you could just see the grin cross his face.

Our requirement was to hit the skid target in 5 shots or less to make the quals.

Well gunny thought this was all to easy a task as he manned up the gun director and when he settled on his firing solution he put the first shot about 12 feet astern of the cruiser and cut the tow line attached to the skid.

Then he walked up to the Captain on the bridge and offered him a fine Cuban cigar to mark the occasion.

10/29/2007 4:54 PM

Blogger E.P. said...

so, by my count this is at least the second time we've fired upon pirates within the past year or so. I know USS Cape St George did it (Maybe it was 2006, I don't remember...)
Is this a change is policy? Don't know, but deterence (i.e. we deter them from pirating by the fear they'll end up dead) doesn't work unless the potential pirates know they'll end up dead. I wonder if there is a supporting IO/PSYOPS campaign the failed state formerly known as Somalia...

10/30/2007 8:20 AM


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