How do modern pirates get on board?

Serious question - how do pirates, like the ones recently in the news off Somalia, physically get on board the ships they hijack? I keep seeing photos like this one which shows little speedboats bumping around the side of a ship that looks as large as a building.

Do large ships just have ladder rungs built into their hull that these guys clamber up? And no way to limit access at the top? Or are the pirates’ RPGs enough of a threat to make the ship do whatever they demand?

Most modern commercial vessels have *very *small crews, and several ways to access the deck from the water line. If there is no ladder than a grapple works nicely.

Nothing on a boat I do not own is worth getting shot over, and on a boat that I own only my family would be worth fighting for.

There’s also the general tactic of pointing a very big gun at the ship and yelling “Thrown down a ladder or we’ll make our own doorway at the waterline.”

One more factor - it can be possible, especially during the nighttime hours, for the pirates to sneak more people aboard the ship than the crew has awake for night time shift, and the ship’s own cargo will give them cover and concealment.

I suspect this plays a large role.
Those photos just strike me as so odd, as the ships appear so huge.

Why in the name of sweet Jesus H. Christ do people always link to articles that redirect to a web page telling me that sorry, I can’t view the picture because I’m not a member of the little New York Times Treehouse Gang? It’s the internet equivalent of taking off a girl’s panties and finding a twelve-inch cock.

You must really like pirates.

I just had a similar experience last night, but I don’t want to talk about that one. The one I want to talk about is the one I had right now when I opened a thread about pirates only to step in this fecal matter. To be clear, this is not a formal warning.

General Questions Moderator

Here is a previous thread on this topic: Cargo ships are often very large, how can Somali pirates stop them, and board them?

Point taken. But don’t you think though that it’s a little bit misleading to link to an article which requires registration? It’s annoying, very very annoying. At the very least you can usually right click the image and find its specific image location and copy that, which in most cases allows you to view the image alone without registering to view the article.

Isn’t this kind of complaint, legitimate though it may be, what the Pit is for, though?

Just to continue this hijack a little, I’m not sure what the big deal is. It’s free to register with the NYT, and you don’t have to tell them your SSN, your credit card numbers, and your mother’s maiden name.

And I’ve been on a few big ships, and it’s not that hard to get on board from sea level. Given that at any moment, of the very small crew, 1/3 will be on the bridge, 1/3 will be watching videos in the dining room, and 1/3 will be asleep, it’s won’t be that hard for the pirates to board without being noticed.

I would support the whole, “not gonna get killed [or sunk] for cargo” hypothesis.

Modern ship hull plate thicknesses are often measured in the millimeters (I had a Lt. instructor in NROTC who joked about how a .45 cal pistol could breech a modern destroyer’s hull).

So, an RPG might be more than sufficient :eek:

I don’t disagree (strongly) with the comment. Merely it’s placement in this thread. I do try to include (registration required) next to such a link, but it’s not mandatory.

'Nuff said. :smiley:
General Questions Moderator

First off, I would guess that a lot of people that link to articles or pictures that require registration might forget that if they’re just always logged on (it happens alot of some photo hosting sites and other things like, for example, facebook). Second, I’m not registered with nytimes, but I could read the article and see the picture just fine.

I linked to that page from another SDMB thread - in MPSIMS I believe - about piracy. It opened up for me no problem. So I simply highlighted the address, composed this thread, and inserted the link.

Not sure how/why I was supposed to anticipate that it would not open similarly in this thread.

So now you know the reason in the sweet name of Jesus H. Christ for the link in this thread.

*On edit - hell, I just went to the link in my OP and it opened up right away. To the best of my knowledge I never registered with NYT, and I certainly have not logged into their site in the last year or more. So does that further explain why in the sweet name…?


Perhaps I need to be clearer about this. Let me try again. This thread is about pirates–not JHC and not she-males. It’s about pirates and ships and stuff. Anyone who wants to argue about links to sites that require registration can open a thread in the appropriate forum and go nuts. I’m giving **Dinsdale **the last word on that point in this thread. Please do not post anything else in this thread about linking to sites that require registration.

General Questions Moderator

I can’t speak for cargo ships.

The cruiser I served on had 1" of steel for hull plating. Our Damage Control training was that we should be safe from small arms. (IIRC a Barrett or other powerful .50 cal might be able to penetrate.) But an RPG would have breached the hull. Back in the day, I remember figuring where a single RPG round could have caused a hole that would have the potential to sink the ship, by negating much of the compartmentalization of the hull.*

It’s generally considered axiomatic that compartmentalization on a military vessel will be greater and more durable than that on a civilian vessel. But I’d take that with a grain of salt, myself. Certainly the requirements for double-hulled oil tankers could have the effect of providing effective compartmentalization from the effects of normal RPG rounds, and possibly even anti-tank rounds.

*Note, this is assuming no crew action. It would have been a small hole, and difficult to get a good patch on, just because of the position, but I doubt that an intact crew would have let the ship sink. Hell’s Bells, the crew of the Stark basically had a ship that was in two parts, and they kept that afloat.

I was able to see a picture of the OP’s incident there. (I sure hope it works. :wink: )

There is two photos for that article…

Edit: Odd. The photo’s captions read that they are both of the same ship. In the first photo, the hull looks like it’s painted black, in the second photo, blue. Must be the light…

I wasn’t sure what you were referring to so I poked wikipedia. Thislooks like the one you’re talking about? Impressive pictures to even a landlubber like me. :eek: