Jan 11

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Lasers cannons could be mounted on ships and boats to help fight off pirates attempting to board the vessels.

British engineers are developing a new type of defence system that uses lasers to incapacitate pirates by dazzling them

British engineers are developing a new type of defence system that uses lasers to incapacitate pirates by dazzling them as they approach a ship.

The non-lethal weapon, which has been developed by defence company BAE Systems, is effective against moving targets more than a mile away.

The company has started developing the laser in response to the growing threat from pirates to commercial vessels, particularly off the coast of Somalia where there have been several high profile hijackings.

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Aug 13

Disappeared: The Arctic Sea, shown here in a file photo, has vanished into thin air

The Russian Navy’s entire Atlantic fleet is searching for a cargo ship which pirates are suspected of hijacking before passing though the English Channel, it emerged today.

At least five warships and several submarines have joined the international hunt for the vessel which vanished along the Kent coast with a crew of 13 Russians on board.

The 3,998-tonne ship, which was also carrying £1million worth of timber, has not been seen for two weeks and it may now be in Africa.

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Jul 03

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Paul Craig Roberts

On June 30, the government of Israel committed an act of piracy when the Israeli Navy in international waters illegally boarded the “Spirit of Humanity,” kidnapped its 21-person crew from 11 countries, including former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Nobel Laureate Mairead MaGuire, and confiscated the cargo of medical supplies, olive trees, reconstruction materials, and children’s toys that were on the way to the Mediterranean coast of Gaza. The “Spirit of Humanity,” along with the kidnapped 21 persons, is being towed to Israel as I write.

Gaza has been described as the “world’s largest concentration camp.” It is home to 1.5 million Palestinians who were driven by force of American-supplied Israeli arms out of their homes, off their farms, and out of their villages so that Israel could steal their land and make the Palestinian land available to Israeli settlers.

What we have been witnessing for 60 years is a replay in modern times, despite the United Nations and laws strictly preventing Israel’s theft of Palestine, of the 17th, 18th, and 19th century theft of American Indian lands by US settlers. An Israeli government spokesman recently rebuked the President of the United States, a country, the Israeli said, who stole all of its land from Indians, for complaining about Israel’s theft of Palestine.

I knew the “Spirit of Humanity” would fall to Israeli piracy the minute I received on June 25 from an official of an Israeli peace organization a “public advisory” that the government of Cyprus had withheld permission for the “Spirit of Humanity” to leave for Gaza. The US State Department had advised that “The Israeli Foreign Ministry informed U.S. officials at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv that Israel still considers Gaza an area of conflict and that any boats attempting to sail to Gaza will not be permitted to reach its destination.” The “Spirit of Humanity” obtained permission to leave Cyprus when all aboard signed a waiver absolving Cyprus of all responsibility for the crew’s safety at the hands of the Israelis.

Related article: UN expert says Israeli seizure of aid ship a crime (Reuters):
GENEVA, July 2 (Reuters) – A U.N. human rights investigator on Thursday called Israel’s seizure of a ship carrying relief aid for the Gaza Strip “unlawful” and said its blockade of the territory constituted a “continuing crime against humanity”.

As President Obama has called for humanitarian aid to be sent to Gaza, and as the International Red Cross has damned the inhumanity of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the question that immediately comes to mind is why did not the United States send sufficient US Navy escort to see the “Spirit of Humanity” safely through international waters to Gaza? We send ships against Somalian pirates, why not against Israeli ones?

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Jun 26

Luxury ocean liners in Russia are offering pirate hunting cruises aboard armed private yachts off the Somali coast.


Wealthy punters pay £3,500 per day to patrol the most dangerous waters in the world hoping to be attacked by raiders.

When attacked, they retaliate with grenade launchers, machine guns and rocket launchers, reports Austrian business paper Wirtschaftsblatt.

Passengers, who can pay an extra £5 a day for an AK-47 machine gun and £7 for 100 rounds of ammo, are also protected by a squad of ex special forces troops.

The yachts travel from Djibouti in Somalia to Mombasa in Kenya.

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Dec 18

Pirates operating from safe havens along the Somali coast could become the target of hot-pursuit missions by American commandos for the first time, after approval was given by the United Nations Security Council to launch land and air attacks on pirate bases.

The Americans had sought a new robust mandate to attack the pirates at source to ensure that there was legal backing for chasing those who escaped confrontations at sea and headed for the safety of lawless Somalia.

Many of the most successful pirates are rich home-owners, living along the coast in a strip of expensive houses bought with the ransoms paid by shipping companies for the release of hijacked vessels.

Yesterday, in another example of the more aggressive stance taken by the international community against the pirates, the Chinese crew of a pirate-seized vessel, later aided by helicopters from a US-led maritime coalition force, fought off the would-be hijackers.

The 30 crew members of the Chinese-owned vessel, the Zhenhua 4, sailing in the Gulf of Aden, foiled the pirates by locking themselves in their cabins and radioing for help. A warship from Combined Task Force 150, an American-led naval group operating around the Horn of Africa, sent two helicopters which fired on the pirates. CTF 150, based in Bahrain, is a coalition of 20 nations, including Britain.

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Nov 20

An undated handout photo, provided to the media on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008, shows the Sirius Star Saudi oil supertanker. Source: U.S. Navy via Bloomberg News

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) — Somali pirates are demanding $25 million in ransom to release an oil-laden Saudi supertanker seized off the East African coast, and called on the ship’s owners to pay up “soon.”

“What we want for this ship is only $25 million because we always charge according to the quality of the ship and the value of the product,” a man who identified himself as Abdi Salan, a member of the hijacking gang, said in a telephone interview from Harardhare. The town is in Somalia’s semi-autonomous northern Puntland region close to where the ship is anchored. He didn’t give a deadline or say what would happen if the money isn’t paid.

The Sirius Star, which belongs to Saudi Arabia’s state-owned shipping line, Vela International Marine Ltd, and its crew of 25 were seized about 420 nautical miles (833 kilometers) off Somalia on Nov. 15. It is carrying more than 2 million barrels of crude valued at about $110 million. Very Large Crude Carriers cost about $148 million new.

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Nov 17

The Saudi-owned crude oil supertanker “Sirius Star” is seen in Rotterdam on October 17, 2008. REUTERS/Adri Schouten

DUBAI (Reuters) – Somali pirates have captured a fully laden Saudi supertanker far off east Africa, seizing the biggest vessel ever hijacked with a cargo of oil worth over $100 million in an attack that pushed world crude prices higher.

The U.S. Fifth Fleet said the Sirius Star was being taken to the pirate haven of Eyl, in northern Somalia, on Monday.

The hijacking of the Saudi Aramco-owned vessel on Sunday is certain to add to pressure for concerted international action to tackle the growing threat posed by pirates from anarchic Somalia to one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

“This is unprecedented. It’s the largest ship that we’ve seen pirated,” said Lt Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the Fifth Fleet. “It’s three times the size of an aircraft carrier.”

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