Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Three Rounds, Three Dead Bodies"

The risk premiums on a life of piracy off Somalia just increased, after a trio of the miscreants met their timely demise at the hands of Navy SEAL snipers deployed on the fantail of the USS BAINBRIDGE, an ARLEIGH BURKE class destroyer. I watched this develop over the weekend with some new friends in Florida, sort of in the position of ad hoc CNN talking head. I gave them whatever insight I could to help explain the situation.

I honestly thought we'd just wait them out, relying on the fuel, food and water to run out. I explained to them that there were probably SEALS onboard the BAINBRIDGE who would perform a take-down if necessary--though I didn't know until today how they would have gotten there. The SEALS are such a high demand/low density asset (HD/LD) that they don't spend much time floating around in ships anymore (not that they used to float around in destroyers, mind you), so when the BAINBRIDGE sortied in the direction of the MAERSK ALABAMA late last week, I was pretty sure it didn't have SEALS with it. It seems they did a C-17 infil, possibly from over the horizon in order not to spook the hijackers. Think about it....you get dropped from a C-17 with your little rubber raiding craft at night. The horizon at sea level is about, oh, say 12 miles. You and your buddies make your way to the ship with all your gear, at least part of the way paddling the boat in order not to raise suspicion. You set up your position and some time later, the Captain of the ship gives the take order. Three shots, three kills. You gotta love the SEALS.

Piracy remains more a problem of perception than fact. For every ship that gets approached by pirates, hundreds sail by unmolested. But insurance premiums are rising and that gets factored into prices. Additionally, the PERCEPTION that the global system of trade is threatened is enough to unbalance that system. The world's maritime powers will have to come together to work on this problem with the US in the lead. Direct, precise action on land will likely be required, and some empty seats at pirate dinner tables will ensue.


Anonymous said...

I count on you for your perceptive insights

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Thank you, but an important correction here. At sea level (which is about where the SEALS height of eye would be in a rubber raiding craft) their horizon would be more like three miles than 12 or 13. I seem to always think about horizons at sea in terms of being very high up in the bridge of an AEGIS Cruiser. I do think however, that they were probably dropped further away than 3 miles simply due to the risk that the pirates might hear the airplane that was dropping them.

TDB said...

Timely demise indeed.

Anonymous said...

Amen Bryan

Newer Post Older Post Home