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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:

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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.


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American arrested for allegedly attacking security guard in Bali

The Kuta Police have arrested US national Garyn Cancio, 25, for allegedly attacking a security guard at a nightclub on the resort island of Bali on Sunday. The alleged attack took place at the Sky Garden Bar on Jl. Legian in Kuta, one of Bali s most popular tourist areas.

He was drunk and blocking the way for the bar s staff. A security officer asked him to move. Maybe he was offended. The American then attacked him, Kuta Police chief Comr. Wayan Sumara said on Tuesday. The security officer, identified as I Putu Gede Abdi Negara, suffered injuries to his ear and neck after being struck with a glass by Cancio.

The police said they would charge Cancio with assault and battery as stipulated under Article 351 of the Criminal Code. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. (ary)

Florida substation goes up in flames

An explosion at the Hebbard Street substation in Florida has left one person injured and various areas without electricity. Power should be fully restored within the next 24 hours. One of the transformers at the substation exploded at about 6.45pm on the evening of 24 April, causing a fire in the transformer bay. This caused a power outage in various areas of Florida, Lea Glen, Robertville, Stormill and Fleurhof. It is believed that one of the security guards who were deployed to guard the substation was also injured. The guard was injured by the impact of the blast and the ensuing flames and smoke. Our thoughts and prayers are with her. It is believed she is recovering well at a medical facility, said the councillor for Ward 70, Caleb Finn.

Also read: Power outage as substation burns[1]

Florida Substation Goes Up In Flames

The damaged transformer. Photos: Supplied

City Power technicians, together with the City of Johannesburg Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were immediately dispatched to the scene, and worked tirelessly to put out the fire, and clean the ash and debris from the electrical components. This allowed them to switch on the second transformer, restoring power to the Florida, Florida North and Florida Glen substations, Finn said. Finn added that extensive damage was done to the Lea Glen cable terminals and other components, requiring the attention of a specialised technician. Unfortunately this will result in a delay in the restoration of the power supply to parts of Fleurhof, Robertville, Stormill and Lea Glen. City Power and CBI (African Cables (contractor)) will work as fast as they can to restore supply to the affected areas., he said.

He added that the incident was unexpected and unfortunate. Transformers can run for years without an issue, but unfortunately, if they cease or explode, the damage is severe, he said.

Florida Substation Goes Up In Flames

Flames shooting into the night sky at the substation. City Power s spokesperson, Virgil James, said that the explosion was caused by a severe fault on the network at the cable termination point. There are circuit breakers along the network to prevent electrical faults from occurring but in this case it was severe enough to bypass the circuit breakers, resulting in the fire. Technicians suspect that this may have happened due to contractors digging in the area and damaging a high voltage cable, he said. He added that, although power has been restored to parts of the affected areas, there are still areas without power. Lea Glen and especially the industrial areas of Robertville, Stormill and parts of Fleurhof are still without power. According to the area manager, they had to call in specialist technicians to undertake the repairs. It is estimated that power should be restored in the next 24 hours, James said.

Florida Substation Goes Up In Flames

After-effects of the explosion.

He urged residents and business owners to be patient as the repairs will take a while to complete, and also apologised for any inconvenience caused. City Power tries to eliminate incidents such as these by undertaking planned power outages to do maintenance and ensure a safe and reliable power supply. However, incidents do occur outside of City Power s control which may severely affect and disrupt power supply, he concluded.

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For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites

Randfontein Herald[3]

Krugersdorp News[4]

Get It Joburg West Magazine[5]

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