Why the hell do we have navies?

I thought of putting this in Great Debates, but the assholes deserve the pit and I have no desire to watch my language.

MSNBC just reported that the Somali pirates have killed the two American couples held hostage. They only good part is that the assholes when then killed afterward. Unfortunately that is the only consolation the families of those victims will have.

But my question is - what the fuck do countries have navies for? We have known that the Somali coast has been a den of piracy for several years - why the fuck has the UN not authorized a permanent task force to blockade the damn coast? The US Navy states its a “Global Force for Good” - then its time to prove it. Fuck Bahrain. Fuck the Med. I haven’t heard of any ships being attacked in those regions. But at least once a month, some poor bastards are taken hostage off the Gulf of Aden.

I am guilty for not doing this earlier and waiting until American couples were killed, but everyone deserves protection from the cocksucking goat fuckers in Mogadishu and the rest of Somalia.

I am not advocating another intervention into Somalia, but why the fuck do we have task forces and spend billions of fucking dollars on subs and carriers if they can’t do the basic job of protecting shipping lanes. And not just the US - every fucking country that has a navy and has had a ship or its citizens attacked.

How fucking hard can it be to establish a task force to take out pirates from the most fucked up country on the planet? If we can’t blockade that coast, then how the hell do we protect the coasts of America, Europe and India which are much larger? Are navies just a fucking joke?

What the fuck is wrong with our leaders that they let this issue fester and not create a permanent solution?

What the fuck is wrong with us that we don’t demand that they do?

I am sick of it. Enough is enough. So tell me, what is the best course of action - and anyone who thinks the status quo is fine - go fuck yourselves.

I’d be more interested in why the fuck someone would go into known dangerous waters.

That might be because it’s on the way to or from the Suez Canal, which is the shortest sea route between Europe and Asia.

I don’t mean to dismiss or diminish the tragedy or the abominable crime involved here, but the fact is that piracy has always been a difficult problem to eradicate. If a region is destabilized enough to provide reasonably secure hidey-holes for pirates on land, then they can sneak around hither and yon on the high seas and elude attackers quite effectively.

Ultimately, AFAICT, piracy has to be wiped out on land, paradoxical as that may sound, by controlling the territory where pirates have their bases. It’s no accident that Somali piracy has risen in conjunction with the chaos and insecurity accompanying the Somali civil war. Actually getting rid of Somali piracy is going to require having an effective Somali government.

Mind you, I’m not saying that there’s nothing international navies can do about the situation, just that it’s not a walkover.

This is a good topic, and I vote for moving it to GD.

Because they were trying to do missionary work. BBC article. “The S/V Quest was hijacked 240 nautical miles (275 miles) off Oman …It is believed the yacht was en route from India to Oman.” - so how the fuck are we letting pirates get so far out to sea? Don’t even try to blame the victim. Yes, they took a risk, they did not deserve to lose their lives over it. If they were lost in a storm, that would be one thing. But how is this not a preventable tragedy?

Maybe, I am not done venting yet though.

I am neither a sailor nor a cartographer, but as I recall, the ocean is a big place. Pirates tend to be small and highly mobile.

It’s preventable by them not going to a dangerous area. They took a risk, a gamble, and lost. Could they have flown instead? Driven? Camel? Sure. But they chose to take a yacht into known dangerous waters.

From your article:

I do understand the difficulty, but in the age of satellites, AWACS, and submarines, I don’t believe that is unsurmountable. I can’t believe the industrial world doesn’t have the resources to do it. I see as a lack of political will. And forget the cost. Most of the tools are there, we just need to fucking use them. Use Bahrain as the operating base or whatever is closer.

I do think South Sea piracy will always be a problem there since they are too many small islands in Indonesia and the Philippines for them to use as bases. But we know exactly what ports they are using in Somalia.

That is the whole point of a blockade - you don’t let them reach the ocean.

Yabbut, the trouble is: then what? Usually, a blockade is a war tactic effective against a, you know, government. You blockade the enemy’s ports and mess up their shipping until they surrender.

Blockading the ports of a country in a chaotic civil war to mess up the activities of individual maritime criminals and criminal gangs, on the other hand, has no discernible endgame. A blockade may succeed in interfering with pirate activities (or at least most of them), but as soon as you lift the blockade, back come the pirates, like mosquitoes when the screen door is left open.

I don’t think any naval power wants to commit to blockading Somali ports for an indefinite period while waiting for the Somali government to establish effective control over its own territory.

I think you underestimate the coastline, and opportunities to put small ships to sea. Blockading one port simply means they will shift to others. These are small ships and guys with guns; you would need a huge force to implement an effective blockade.

My Google-fu must be bad this morning. I’ve gone through a half-dozen articles, and I can’t find a map or detailed description that shows exactly where the yacht was taken. “275 miles off Oman” covers a pretty long line, stretching from the Gulf of Oman almost to the Gulf of Aden.

The multiple nationalities with navies there are equipped with radar and the pirates operate in short range small motor boats and so usually need a mother ship.

No boat can outrun a copter carrying an engine block shooting sniper.

This. The cost and manpower required to effect a complete blockade (if one were even possible) so far outweigh—to put it bluntly—the cost of negotiating with pirates.

I get frustrated hearing about it too, but piracy is a lucrative enterprise and there’s no easy solution.

That known dangerous area is too fucking big and keeps expanding. You close it down to all shipping and give up on using the Suez canal until Somalia somehow stops being a failed state? And instead of patrolling the ocean and responding after the fact, blast the damn boats out the water when they leave port. Board and raid mother ships and put them out of commission. What is the point of worrying about hostage safety when the pirates don’t.

Okay, Europe has stepped up, but their force* seems woefully inadequate, so the main point stands - we need a large permanent naval blockade. Our current response is too ad hoc, and is obviously not working.

The Somali coast is not infinite, and again, what is the point of having navies if they cannot address the most pressing problem on the high seas? Right now, they are not instilling confidence they can protect their own coasts. They obviously can’t protect their ships once they leave port.
*From the above site: "The force size fluctuates according to the monsoon seasons, which determine the level of piracy. It typically consists of 5 to 10 Surface Combatants, 1 to 2 Auxiliary ship and 2 to 4 Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft. "
More background

Establishing a stable government in Somalia is the only way this will end, and no one has come up with any idea on how to do that, and as long as the criminals can keep making money through piracy there is no incentive to create such a government, so until/if it happens, I only see the following choices:

  1. Maintain the status quo with insufficient resources and just consider hijacked ships and crews murdered a cost of doing business. Unacceptable.

  2. Close off the area to shipping and force everyone to sail around the Horn of Africa. In other words, admit defeat.

  3. Start forming naval convoys to protect shipping in that area. I think that would require greater resources, but maybe not.

  4. Establish and enforce a blockade. If we need a hundred ships and planes to patrol the coast, then get them. If it takes a thousand, get them. (Think of the jobs that would create anyway.) Obviously it is not going to happen with 5 to 10. If their boats are small and fast, then use the same to pursue them with support from larger vessels.

The asswipes actually had the audacity to fire a RPG at a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer.

I’m all for bringing back those German raiders from WWII. The ones that lookd like tramp steamers until you got close. Then the big guns came out and, well, you know what happened then. Let a few of these ruin the pirates days.

Speaking as a liberal type it is well beyond time we go all Ride of the Valkeries on any port these vermin sail from.

German raiders were Commerce Raiders. I think you mean Q-Ships. I’d be all for that, though they would probably cost quite a bit. You’d have to convert a merchant ship into something like a warship, or at least arm it (I don’t think you’d have to actually put all that much armaments on it, really just reinforce the hull and put some .50 Cals on it…or maybe have it load up those new ROV armed ships the Navy has).


Hell, the irony here is I was reading the BBC article on Gene Sharp and his work with nonviolent revolution which I wholeheartedly support when I heard the story. I have gone on record as wanting to abolish the military, but I do see the navies as having broader mandates than purely military actions, and this is a prime example. We need a police force for the high seas and that can only be accomplished by navies.

And I am generally against the death penalty, but I reserve exceptions for those that demonstrate they have no regard for the lives of others. So blast the motherfuckers. Fuck arresting them. If they don’t cut their engines as soon as they see a naval vessel, they are resisting arrest and are a threat to the navy personnel, so they can use all the deadly force they want. I won’t shed any tears for these fuckers. Human rights are for those that respect human rights (more irony for you. It is the one double standard I can live with). If they want civil rights, stay on land and rob a bank. You enter international waters, all bets are off.

I don’t know why tankers haven’t armed their ships and crews. If we need to pass laws to let them, then do so. But I would prefer the navies take the brunt of any fighting.

Were those were the ones where everything looked innocent until the target was in range and then, the sides dropped down to expose rather large naval guns?

Something like that would sure put the breaks on this pirate thing for once and all.

Apropos of not much, Elmore Leonard’s new book, Djibouti, is about this very topic. And while fiction, it’s pretty damn informative about many of the issues of piracy in that region. Check it out.