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Modern Global Piracy from Somalia to the South China Sea



  • US Drone Strikes from Djibouti

    Djibouti is America’s most important military ally in Africa. Camp Lemonnier, next to the main international airport in Djibouti became the drone base for flights over Somalia and Yemen. However, after five accidents involving Predator drones since January 2011, drones flights were relocated to Chabelley Airfield, about 10 kilometers southwest of the capital at a cost […]

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  • An attack by 2 skiffs on a merchant vessel in the Gulf of Oman

    The U.S. Navy Liaison Office (MARLO) in Bahrain has issued an alert following an attack by two skiffs on a merchant vessel in the Gulf of Oman The attack is reported to have taken place on or about 280902Z FEB 2014 at the position 22:28N – 060:51.5E, GULF OF OMAN. The skiffs are reported to […]

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  • The Continuing Threat off West Africa

    Pirates shot dead the captain and the chief engineer on a cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria in mid-February 2014, according to Cyrus Mody of the International Maritime Bureau. “Armed pirates chased and fired upon a drifting bulk carrier. Vessel raised alarm and headed towards Lagos. All crew except the bridge team took shelter in […]

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  • Problems off Angola

    According to Reuters, the Angolan Navy said on the 26th January that the crew of Liberian-flagged, MT Kerala, an oil tanker that disappeared off the coast of Angola on the January 18 had turned off communications in order to fake an attack. Captain Augusto Alfredo said the MT Kerala had been located in Nigeria, and he also […]

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  • Will the Maersk Alabama crew members’ case come to trial?

    The hijacking of the Maersk Alabama is now the best known case of modern piracy thanks to the success of the film, Captain Phillips. What is less known is that some of the ship’s crew continue their legal action against the ship’s charterer, claiming that they were sent into danger, despite warnings to the contrary. […]

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  • UN Monitoring Group Report July 2013 – Spoiler Networks

    On the 12 July 2013 the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea published report S/2013/413. In this Report the Monitoring Group has identified what it called various “spoiler networks” in northern, central and southern Somalia, as well as in connection with the Somali security services. These are Webs of association among pirates, prominent businessmen, warlords and Government officials […]

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  • Claims that the Somali Army is arming clans and selling arms

    On the 6th February 2014 Jarat Chopra Coordinator Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group published an open letter to the UN Security Council. Jarat claimed that the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group has identified a number of issues and concerns over current management of weapons and ammunition stockpiles by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), which point to high level and […]

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  • The Somali Oil Industry – ‘Maxaa igu jiraa?’ (‘What’s in it for me?’)

    In The New Pirates I describe how interest in oil exploration in Somalia first surfaced in the 1980s when international oil companies took exploration licences for much of the country.  From 1986, exploration rights in nearly two-thirds of Somalia were allocated by the Barre regime to the US oil companies Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips. It has […]

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  • The Use of Armed Guards, Legal and Practical Issues

    Background Over the last few years many shipping companies and security advisors have seen the deployment of armed guards as the best solution to the problem of piracy. While it is the case at the time of writing that no ship carrying armed guards has been captured off Somalia there are a number of serious […]

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  • The Importance of Customary Law – xeer – in Somalia

    What is remarkable about Somalia today is that it has no functioning system of laws in the sense that westerners understand it, and therefore the consequences of actions do not need to be considered, providing clan obligations are observed. It was for this reason that the early promise of the Union of Islamic Courts was […]

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