Lt. Stephen Decatur with the crew of USS Enterprise on Dec 23, 1803, in a painting by Dennis Malone Carter.
In the early years of this nation, President Thomas Jefferson found himself involved in one of the first conflicts overseas in the First Barbary War.
Jefferson, one of the first true isolationists, was reluctant to deploy forces in foreign engagements. However, faced with the demanding security of our merchant fleet and the growing concerns regarding our fragile economy, Jefferson had no choice but to protect the free flow of commerce and deploy the Navy. Read More
Lt. j.g. Jeffrey Fasoli, gunnery officer aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG-87), discusses techniques with Chinese sailors aboard the People’s Liberation Army (Navy) destroyer Harbin on Aug. 24, 2013.
The U.S. and China conducted two days of counter piracy drills in the Gulf of Aden in a rare show of military cooperation, following last week’s visit of the head of the Chinese Ministry of Defense. Read More
Sailors watch as the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) departs Naval Station Norfolk for Newport News Shipbuilding in June 2013. US Navy Photo
In September 1960, the carrier Enterprise was christened at Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock. Adm. Arleigh Burke, then chief of naval operations, spoke to the large crowd, saying, “Whenever the Enterprise roams in the traditional freedom of the seas, she is the sovereign of the United States, a mighty symbol of our determination to preserve liberty and justice and a clear sign of our nation’s ability to do so.” Read More
A crew member prepares to board a tanker that was hijacked by pirates in Benin on 24 July 2011. UN Photo
The winds of global piracy have shifted, as attacks by pirates off West Africa now exceed those of their Somali counterparts. The Nigeria-based pirates may not yet inspire Hollywood films, but they have prompted regional governments to take collective action. A June 24–25 summit in Yaounde, Cameroon, brought representatives from the Economic Community of West African States, the Economic Community of Central African States, and the Gulf of Guinea Commission together to draft a code of conduct concerning the prevention of piracy, armed robbery against ships, and illicit maritime activity. It has been signed by 22 states. Read More
Ukrainian Defense Minister Pavlo Lebedev and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, February 22, 2013. Atlantic Council Photo
When it comes to maritime security, piracy has become one of the most prevalent issues for NATO to deal with. In considering which nations are most involved in combating maritime piracy, Ukraine is probably not the first name that comes to mind. As it turns out, this non-NATO, non-EU Eastern European nation is heavily involved in the fight against piracy at sea. Ukraine has even become a valuable ally to NATO in anti-piracy campaigns, something not exactly expected from a nation so closely aligned with Russia on the geopolitical map. Read More
Cameroon navy Lt. j.g. Yves Itondo during Exercise Obangame Expressin February. The exercise is an at-sea maritime exercise designed to improve cooperation among participating nations to promote maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea. US Navy Photo
Portions of this article were first published with OCEANUS Live
Pity the Somali pirates, who after an abysmal year in 2012, have only managed to (unsuccessfully) attack two vessels thus far in 2013. Piracy is now much more lucrative in West Africa, where there have been at least 10 reported attacks in the past month alone. In the waters of Nigeria, a dozen mariners from three separate vessels were kidnapped by pirates during a single 10-day period. Côte d’Ivoire had never witnessed the hijacking and large-scale robbery of an oil tanker before October 2012, but already has had two such vessels pilfered from its waters this year. Read More
A US Navy visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team, approached a suspected pirate after the Motor Vessel Nordic Apollo reported being under attack and fired upon by pirates in 2011. US Navy Photo
After a six-year low, Somalia-based piracy is likely to grow if international military budget reductions force a reduction in ships patrolling in and around the Gulf of Aden, an international piracy expert told USNI News in a Monday briefing. Read More
Force, or the threat of force, is an important factor in countering pirate attacks off Somalia.
That unsurprising conclusion can be inferred from the International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) global piracy report for 2011. IMB noted that incidents off Somalia increased in 2011, but the number of successful hijackings decreased from 49 to 28. Pottengal Mukundan, director of IMB’s Piracy Reporting Center, credited “pre-emptive naval strikes, the hardening of vessels in line with the best management practices and the deterrent effect of privately contracted armed security personnel” with the drop in successful hijackings.
Vigorous action by international naval forces in the Gulf of Aden and northwest Indian Ocean, weather, and shipboard defensive measures likewise helped reduce attacks year-over-year during the first quarter of 2012. Increasingly, those defensive measures have included armed security teams embarked on merchant vessels; anywhere from 15 to 35 percent of the ships transiting the region now rely on them. And according to industry sources, no ship embarking armed guards has been hijacked to date.