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Here’s The Story Behind That Viral Video Of A Ship’s Security Guards Fighting Off Somali Pirates

If you ve spent any time on the Internet in the last week, chances are you ve already seen the mega-viral Somali Pirates VS Ship s Private Security Guards showing private security raining bullets down on would-be Somali hijackers. The video has racked up millions of views since hitting YouTube on April 20, and with good reason:

[embedded content]

Is this just a random gunfight or is there a backstory here? So glad you asked: Mike Schuler at maritime website gCaptain did some sleuthing and uncovered the background details.[1]

According to a 2012 Bloomberg report, the footage was shot by a member of private security firm Trident Group during an attack on the MV Avocet, a bulk freighter operated by New York-based Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc, on March 25th, 2011. The three-minute helmet-cam footage, which Trident Group president Thomas Rothrauff said was the second attempted hijacking by Somali pirates in three days, was first screened during a shipping conference in December 2011.[2]

After it subsequently leaked on the internet in April 2012, the footage fueled debate over when is it acceptable to open fire, Bloomberg reports[3]:

Rothrauff said that while it is not visible on the video, return fire from AK-47s on the skiffs barely missed the head of one of his guards.

All four ship guards had fired warning shots, and that barrage of gunfire may have provoked a firefight that masked the sound of return shots from the skiffs on the video, he said. Trident has changed its procedures, and now permits only the team leader to fire warnings.

Rothrauff said it was likely that the occupants of the skiffs were killed or injured, though he had no way of knowing.

We re not in the business of counting injuries, he said.

Trident is absolutely satisfied its operating procedures were legal, said Rothrauff. Full compliance with rules for use of force were in place.

Somali pirates targeted a record 237 ships for hijackings in 2011, the year the Avocet was attacked and a year that earned maritime security firms nearly $530 in payments. Since that peak, attempted hijackings off the coast of Africa have declined steadily

But on Sunday, The Department of Defense warned commercial ships traversing shipping routes off the coast of East Africa to brace themselves for a fresh round of attacks by Somali pirates after five years of relatively peaceful seas, the New York Times reports.[4]

The bottom line is there have been a half-dozen or so [incidents], Marine General Thomas Waldhauser said at a press conference alongside Secretary of Defense James Mattis in Djibouti, according to Reuters. We re not ready to say there is a trend there yet but we ll continue to watch. [5]

But despite an uptick in boarding by Somali pirates in recent months, Mattis said that he doesn t see an expanded role for the U.S. Navy in countering future attacks. The reasons piracy went down to zero here was because of security measures the shipping industry has taken, he said. I think the best practices by the Merchant Marines, by the Navy, and by civilian mariners will be efficient. [6]

With Mattis warning, it appears private security firms are in for another windfall if they can survive attacks like the one above, that is.

References

  1. ^ uncovered (gcaptain.com)
  2. ^ According (www.bloomberg.com)
  3. ^ reports (www.bloomberg.com)
  4. ^ reports (www.nytimes.com)
  5. ^ according (gcaptain.com)
  6. ^ said (www.youtube.com)

The Story Behind That Viral Video Of Ship Guards Fighting Somali …

If you ve spent any time on the Internet in the last week, chances are you ve already seen the mega-viral Somali Pirates VS Ship s Private Security Guards showing private security raining bullets down on would-be Somali hijackers. The video has racked up millions of views since hitting YouTube on April 20, and with good reason:

[embedded content]

Is this just a random gunfight or is there a backstory here? So glad you asked: Mike Schuler at maritime website gCaptain did some sleuthing and uncovered the background details.[1]

According to a 2012 Bloomberg report, the footage was shot by a member of private security firm Trident Group during an attack on the MV Avocet, a bulk freighter operated by New York-based Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc, on March 25th, 2011. The three-minute helmet-cam footage, which Trident Group president Thomas Rothrauff said was the second attempted hijacking by Somali pirates in three days, was first screened during a shipping conference in December 2011.[2]

After it subsequently leaked on the internet in April 2012, the footage fueled debate over when is it acceptable to open fire, Bloomberg reports[3]:

Rothrauff said that while it is not visible on the video, return fire from AK-47s on the skiffs barely missed the head of one of his guards.

All four ship guards had fired warning shots, and that barrage of gunfire may have provoked a firefight that masked the sound of return shots from the skiffs on the video, he said. Trident has changed its procedures, and now permits only the team leader to fire warnings.

Rothrauff said it was likely that the occupants of the skiffs were killed or injured, though he had no way of knowing.

We re not in the business of counting injuries, he said.

Trident is absolutely satisfied its operating procedures were legal, said Rothrauff. Full compliance with rules for use of force were in place.

Somali pirates targeted a record 237 ships for hijackings in 2011, the year the Avocet was attacked and a year that earned maritime security firms nearly $530 in payments. Since that peak, attempted hijackings off the coast of Africa have declined steadily

But on Sunday, The Department of Defense warned commercial ships traversing shipping routes off the coast of East Africa to brace themselves for a fresh round of attacks by Somali pirates after five years of relatively peaceful seas, the New York Times reports.[4]

The bottom line is there have been a half-dozen or so [incidents], Marine General Thomas Waldhauser said at a press conference alongside Secretary of Defense James Mattis in Djibouti, according to Reuters. We re not ready to say there is a trend there yet but we ll continue to watch. [5]

But despite an uptick in boarding by Somali pirates in recent months, Mattis said that he doesn t see an expanded role for the U.S. Navy in countering future attacks. The reasons piracy went down to zero here was because of security measures the shipping industry has taken, he said. I think the best practices by the Merchant Marines, by the Navy, and by civilian mariners will be efficient. [6]

With Mattis warning, it appears private security firms are in for another windfall if they can survive attacks like the one above, that is.

References

  1. ^ uncovered (gcaptain.com)
  2. ^ According (www.bloomberg.com)
  3. ^ reports (www.bloomberg.com)
  4. ^ reports (www.nytimes.com)
  5. ^ according (gcaptain.com)
  6. ^ said (www.youtube.com)

Maritime Security a Year-Round Duty

While many Australians spend Anzac Day off work, Royal Australian Navy personnel around the world will remain on watch, contributing to global security, stability and prosperity.

On operations in countries as far from home as Afghanistan and South Sudan, in regions such as the Middle East and in waters offAustralia s northern borders. Their work is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but they will take some time off on 25 April to honour the sacrifices made by past and present service men and women. HMAS Ballarat is on a three-month deployment to South East Asia and will take part in a dawn service at Kranji War Memorial inSingapore with New Zealand service personnel.

Commanding Officer Ballarat Commander David Landon said this year s Anzac Day service would be poignant as South East Asiahad been an important theatre during both World Wars.

Anzac Day tends to bring the crew even closer together and forges a greater bond, particularly because you are away from home with what is a close-knit group of people with a common purpose, he said.

Anzac Day in Singapore will be very special in its own right, noting the history there, and the fact we will be joining personnel from the Royal New Zealand Navy[1] will make for a fantastic experience.

Commander Landon said Anzac Day served as a reminder to all of the nature of war and the ultimate sacrifice that many made in past and current conflicts.

Anzac Day is always important to deployed officers and sailors alike. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the past, our traditions and also an opportunity to look ahead to the future and appreciate what we may be called upon to do in the service of the nation, he said. Ballarat s mission while deployed is to strengthen Australian relationships in South East Asia by participating in a series of maritime exercises.

The ship recently conducted exercises with the People’s Liberation Army – Navy and will mark the Republic of Singapore Navy[2] s 50th anniversary by taking part in the country s International Maritime Review on 5 May.

Sister-ship, HMAS Arunta and her crew of almost 200 will also be on duty for Anzac Day.

Deployed to the Middle East region[3] for nine months, her mission as part of a Combined Maritime Forces is to conduct security operations, including deterring terrorists and the trade of narcotics that fund them.

The ship has already seized 800 kilograms of hashish with an estimated street value of $36 million in a boarding in March this year. Executive Officer Lieutenant Commander Duncan MacRae said the ship’s company were looking forward to Anzac Day as it marked the start of the second phase of their deployment.

“Commemorating Anzac Day on operations has a special significance especially for those onboard who have deployed for the first time,” he said.

“We will commemorate Anzac Day alongside in Bahrain before we get back into the rigour of preparing Arunta for sea as we start more counter terrorism patrols in Middle Eastern waters, Lieutenant Commander MacRae said.

“I am very proud to be a part of this crew and the way they have conducted their mission so far.

“Many of us will use Anzac Day as a time to reflect on our own service and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in war.”

LEUT Todd Fitzgerald (author), LSIS Bradley Darvill (photographer), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

References

  1. ^ New Zealand Navy (www.marinelink.com)
  2. ^ Singapore Navy (www.marinelink.com)
  3. ^ Middle East region (www.marinelink.com)
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