Tough Market Lowers Boat Prices... for Pirates! by admin

It seems while Somalia pirates can escape with boats (sometimes!), they can not escape the laws of supply and demand.  Sure, this might be the best book on pirates and economics ever, but this story points to modern day pirate problems:

Somali pirates may have reached their limit, at least for now. Security agencies have suggested that Somali pirates are willing to negotiate lower ransoms to release ships they have seized -- because they are running out of room.

Ransoms demanded by pirates have skyrocketed since hijackings off Somalia became an international crisis in 2008. A recent study by the One Earth Future foundation claims the average paid ransom rose to $5.4 million in 2010, from $3.4 million in 2009. Seafarers aboard the cargo vessels were also held hostage up to three times longer while pirates and shipping companies negotiated -- from an average of 55 days in 2009 to 150 days in 2010.


Currently, Somali pirates are holding at least 33 ships, with more than 700 crew members captive.

Now would seem like a good time to get into the private yacht and shipping security industry.  In the meantime, we can encourage our kids to be pirates!


Pirate's Rebuffed by Private Security by Trevor

As the MAERSK incident brought to the public eye, piracy is still an ongoing threat and problem. Not only do large commercial ship's with commodities for payloads have to be on the lookout, but also "white-boats", private yachts. It is not uncommon for pirates to think that a yacht will have large sums of cash or valuables on board, but also ransom worthy VIP's and crew. Just a few weeks ago, four Americans were killed in a pirate attack on a 58ft sailboat. Even these small boats are susceptible to piracy from desperate thugs. I would not think a 58ft sailboat, run by Christian missionaries (this was probably not a brand new Hinckley, Hylas or Oyster) and was probably not thought of as high value, but maybe an easy target.  

Just a few days ago, a private security company was able to scare off pirates before anything horrible happened. (source)

Private security firm Naval Guards Ltd successfully rescued their Dutch clients on board M/Y Capricorn after it had been overrun by pirates in the central Arabian Sea yesterday.  The crew of the 21-meter M/Y Capricorn had contracted Naval Guards Ltd to provide armed escort for their eastbound trip from Djibouti in the western Gulf of Aden, through the Arabian Sea.

Naval Guards’ Operations Chief, Thomas Jakobssen, explained to gCaptain that the 42-meter escort vessel Marshal-5 had been shadowing the Capricorn at a distance of approximately 100m when both vessels were attacked simultaneously by the Somali pirates.  Reacting quickly, Capricorn’s crew fled to previously rehearsed hiding spots on the yacht, buying them valuable time as their rescuer’s fought off the pirates.

After a fierce exchange of gunfire between the pirates and the escort vessel, there were no injuries reported on either side, and only minor damage to the vessels themselves.  With a clear firepower advantage however, the Naval Guards quickly gained control of the situation and the pirates gave up.

“The pirates are becoming more aggressive”, Jakobssen explained.  ”Our team was on board a grey ship with military markings in very close proximity to the Capricorn.  These pirates were likely on their way home empty-handed and desperate for whatever they could get.”


This boat had obviously thought it a good idea and was able to afford the price of private help. I'd say it was a good investment! Even with a strong, multi-national naval presence in the area, there is a lot of water to cover, and relying on the authorities to get there in time is not always possible. Not to mention the considerable complications of a navy "babysitting" pleasure craft; should they send a naval ship to protect a $75mm boat? How about a 30footer? How much force are they allowed to use? etc.

The Triton did a very informative write up of the situation after the deaths of the 4 crew, and they discuss many tactics and possible solutions. Some considerations for running the vessel including turning of anything to broadcast your location (AIS) and not giving agents (marinas, customs, etc) in the area details about your travels, as that information may be sold to pirates.

ARRRRRRRen't You Suprised With How Much Nautical Slang is in Our Vocabulary? by Trevor

The Art of Manliness brings up an often hotly debated topic: where did some of our odd slang /euphemisms come from? I have seen some lesser known practices and professions are usually responsible for expressions that are a long look back at whatever they represented. Industries such as railroads or shipping/sailing were once huge, and had a great large effect on life. Another example would be war, certainly a far reaching topic, though now not as prevalent, and a few generations of warfare might even confuse a modern soldier from some old slang. I think he most interesting of this article was "turning a blind eye":

To turn a blind eye to” – To refuse to see or recognize something Credited to the famous British Admiral Horatio Nelson whose naval exploits during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) are the stuff of seafaring legend. Nelson was injured early in his naval career, leaving him completely blind in one eye. During the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, the fiery Nelson was serving under a much more reserved and cautious Admiral Sir Hyde Parker. With the tide of battle seeming to turn against them, Parker raised the signal flag, ordering retreat at the discretion of the captains. When Nelson was notified by his flag captain of the signal, he replied, “You know, Foley, I have only one eye – I have a right to be blind sometimes.” Calmly raising his telescope to his blind eye and aiming it in the direction of the signal to withdraw, he continued, “I really do not see the signal.” Thus, having turned a blind eye to the signal of retreat, he continued to fight, and within an hour had secured victory.

OR, "a clean slate"

Start over with a clean slate” – An opportunity to start over without prejudice During a sailor’s turn on watch, he would record the heading to which they steered the ship on a slate kept near the wheel. At the end of the watch, these headings would be recorded in the ship’s log, and the slate would be wiped clean and given to the new watch guard. Thus, the new watch was given a clean slate.

Very interesting stuff. I would list some of our boat-washing slang, but this is a family site...