Google And The Somali Pirates

System Overview from US Coast Guard

System Overview from US Coast Guard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

June 17, 2012: An official from Google recently announced at a defense technology conference that his firm would soon roll out a feature that would allow any Internet user to track all ships at sea, including U.S. Navy warships, in real time. The Google official was angry that the navy itself did not have this capability. This shocked many in the audience and later embarrassed the Google official. Turns out that the navy has had this tracking capability since the 1980s, when it began equipping its ships with AIS (Automatic Identification System) transmitters that all large ships are required to carry in order to qualify for insurance.

For more than a decade satellites have been used to more rapidly collect and distribute the AIS transmissions, making it easier for these large ships to be tracked. Shipping companies are the main users of this information. The U.S. Navy has used the AIS monitoring system since the 1980s.

The navy, however, can turn off certain AIS information as needed. For example, the warships can only transmit location but not name of the ship. This tells mariners and others (like Google users and Somali pirates) with access to AIS information that a large ship is at a certain location. The U.S. Navy sometimes has its ships turn off AIS altogether. Naturally, smaller, uninsured ships do not carry AIS and are more likely to be carrying illegal cargo. Smugglers with AIS can turn it off, although that can also raises suspicions if someone notes that AIS signal being turned off. The U.S. Navy will not discuss its capabilities to use AIS for deception.

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XIANG HUA MEN Freed By Iranian Naval Commandos


High Profile Pirate Leader Garaad Captured In The Operation



Marine Traffic

XIANG HUA MEN, Panamana-Flagged Cargo Vessel Hijacked on April 06, 2012

Just hours after Panama-flagged cargo ship XIANG HUA MEN was hijacked by pirates 14 nautical miles off the Iranian coast, Iranian commandos stormed the vessel, rescuing the 28 Chinese crewmembers and capturing the nine pirates on board.

Two Iranian naval vessels approached the ship, following which the pirates threw their weapons overboard. Xinhua news agency reported that the Chinese embassy in Iran had requested that Iran intervene militarily to free the vessel.

“The Chinese embassy… immediately established contact with relevant Iranian authorities demanding (that) Iran adopt all necessary measures to fully rescue the ship and crew,” Xinhua reported.

Somalia Report can confirm that Garaad, a well-known pirate based out of Puntland was one of the nine pirates arrested. Somalia Report spoke with Garaad’s cousin this morning, who stated that Garaad was one of the nine pirates arrested. Garaad was responsible for the Blida hijack, which was subsequently released for $3.5 million. His gang has come under pressure from Puntland security forces recently: in February, a number of his colleagues were arrested, and the authorities burned two of their speedboats.

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Turkish commandos shoot dead lone ferry hijacker


3:50am EST

By Daren Butler

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish commandos killed a lone hijacker, believed to be a Kurdish militant, in a pre-dawn operation on Saturday to rescue more than 20 passengers and crew held hostage for 12 hours on a high-speed ferry near Istanbul.

The decision was taken at 5.35 a.m. (10:35 p.m. EDT) to carry out a joint security forces operation, Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu told reporters, while the ferry lay anchored a few kilometers off shore, some 50 km (30 miles) west of the city.

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Laser system introduced to foil pirates

Graph showing the history of maximum laser pul...

Image via Wikipedia

Photonic Security Systems (PSS) has launched a new non-lethal pirate defence system, the LDS100, based on laser technology. 

The LDS100 aims to prevent pirates from approaching a ship by sending a 10 metre wide multi-band laser light beam, up to a distance of 1 km, to dazzle the potential intruders and disable them from locating and boarding the ship. Continue reading

5 Somalis brought to SKorea to be tried for piracy

SEOUL, South Korea – Five Somali pirates captured during a raid on a hijacked cargo ship in the Arabian Sea were brought Sunday to South Korea, where they could face up to life imprisonment, the coast guard said. The men were arrested as South Korean commandos raided the South Korean-operated Samho Jewelry earlier this month, a week after pirates seized the freighter and its 21 crew members. Continue reading

11 Somalians appear in US court on piracy charges

A suspected pirate  from Somalia looks around as he is escorted into federal court by US Marshal's in Norfolk, Va., Friday, April 23, 2010.   A group of eleven suspected pirates are due to be arraigned and tried in the Norfolk Federal court.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
A suspected pirate from Somalia looks around as he is escorted into federal court by US Marshal’s in Norfolk, Va., Friday, April 23, 2010. A group of eleven suspected pirates are due to be arraigned and tried in the Norfolk Federal court.

NORFOLK, Va. (MapNews) –

Eleven Somalians accused of attacking two navy ships off the coast of Africa have appeared in Virginia federal court on charges of piracy.

The defendants did not enter pleas Friday before U.S. Magistrate Tommy Miller. An interpreter read the charges to them.

The judge scheduled a detention hearing next Wednesday and ordered the defendants held until then. They will be assigned defense attorneys later.

They appeared in two separate groups: Five are accused of attacking the USS Nicholas and six are accused of attacking the USS Ashland.

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