“SOS as pirate motherships take to the high seas seeking cargo and hostages,” from the Sunday Herald, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
Global piracy is now one of the biggest threats to world shipping, far eclipsing the risk from terrorism, and Somalia — a war-torn realm in almost complete anarchy — has fast become one of the world’s pirate hot spots. Since March 15 this year, there have been 32 attacks off Somalia. In 2004, there were just two attacks, in 2003, three, and in 2002, six. In the first nine months of 2005, there were 205 pirate attacks worldwide. Murders by pirates are also rising. In 2004, 30 crew members were killed. In 2003, the figure was 21….
Another former British military intelligence officer who has travelled the world advising shipping lines on anti-piracy security measures said that the attacks off Somalia were not believed to be linked to terrorists. “Where there is an overlap between terrorism and piracy, it is in southeast Asia,” he said. He pinpointed the Mallaca Straits — the main shipping route between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean — as the key hot spot for acts of piracy linked to Islamist terrorists. “There’s an absolute double-up there,” he said. “Pirates and terrorists are getting into bed together in this part of the world in the same way that the IRA climbed into bed with criminals in Northern Ireland.”