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“Swarming Attacks” suggest new pirate tactics August 19, 2011

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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On August 7th, 2011 IMB reported an attack on a ship in the Red Sea in which it appeared that pirates were banding together and ‘swarming’ to attack vessels.  This wolfpack type attack was brushed off by some in the security industry.  On August 18th, 2011 the IMB live reporting system reported another such attack. In this attempted hijacking 7 high speed boats filled with 3-5 men, each armed with automatic swarmed a ship in an attempt to hijack the vessel.  As this attack was only 27km from the previous attack the implication is that pirate groups may be operating in distinct areas.

On a more fundamental level this new type should not come as a surprise.  Security and risk theory holds that as long as the the perceived payoff exceeds the perceived risk, criminals will continue to attempt to circumvent controls.  As controls change, criminal tactics will change in response.  Given that the average ransom paid exceeded $3 million in 2010 it is not expected that pirates will give up their attempts at hijackings for farming any time soon.  Shipping companies would be well advised to consider that pirate attacks will continue to increase in violence and tactics will continue to evolve in response to security controls being employed.

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