Convoys on the African coast - why not?

#1
In view of the piracy off the East African coast / Gulf of Aden, and the inability of the navial presence to be all places at once, would the obvious course of action not be to send all shipping in convoy, with a naval escort? I'm sure somebody on ARRSE knows (or has an opinion) why this is not being done, as I'm sure it has been considered.

From a cost perspective, I would imagine it must be more cost-effective than paying ransoms, and it would have to be a better use of resources.

Is it the logistics of it that is preventing it?

Anybody have a more educated opinion - mine comes from reading "The Cruel Sea"
 
#2
I don't think commercial shipping can afford the time penalties involved in mustering for convoys, following a route that may not be in an optimal direction, and at the speed of the slowest ship. Its probably still very much cheaper to pay the insurance premiums and - usually - watch hijackings happen to other people.
 
S

stabradop

Guest
#3
I thought that merchant ships were allowed to carry a certain number of small arms in case of piracy, or is that no longer the case?
 
#4
4(T) said:
I don't think commercial shipping can afford the time penalties involved in mustering for convoys, following a route that may not be in an optimal direction, and at the speed of the slowest ship. Its probably still very much cheaper to pay the insurance premiums and - usually - watch hijackings happen to other people.
I thought it might be something like that. I wonder how bad it would have to get before the convoy system would become attractive?
 
#6
stabradop said:
I thought that merchant ships were allowed to carry a certain number of small arms in case of piracy, or is that no longer the case?
Last I heard British registered ships held a small armoury for exactly that purpose, but that may be way out of date now.
 
#7
There is a huge thread on this already running elsewhere, and the question has been answered by those in the know...
 
#8
jagman said:
stabradop said:
I thought that merchant ships were allowed to carry a certain number of small arms in case of piracy, or is that no longer the case?
Last I heard British registered ships held a small armoury for exactly that purpose, but that may be way out of date now.
Is it Groundhog Day already? www.arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=106846.html

Dunservin said:
jagman said:
As far as I recall, British registered merchant shipping is entitled to carry a small armoury.
Unless we have done away with that along with all other forms of common sense of late?

Perhaps its time for a few commercially operated Q-Ships. Would soon sort the problem out.
Way, way back in this thread I cited current FCO advice to merchant ships re piracy (link), E.G.

FCO advice re River and sea safety including piracy said:
Firearms

It’s not advisable to carry firearms. If you do, the skipper must ensure that they are allowed by the flag state and host country. Penalties for the use of firearms can be severe in some countries.

If you are attacked

Report the incident to the nearest British Embassy, the relevant naval authorities, the relevant law enforcement authorities and the IMB Piracy Reporting Office in Kuala Lumpur. The contact details are to the right.
 
#9
Dunservin said:
jagman said:
stabradop said:
I thought that merchant ships were allowed to carry a certain number of small arms in case of piracy, or is that no longer the case?
Last I heard British registered ships held a small armoury for exactly that purpose, but that may be way out of date now.
Is it Groundhog Day already? www.arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=106846.html

Dunservin said:
jagman said:
As far as I recall, British registered merchant shipping is entitled to carry a small armoury.
Unless we have done away with that along with all other forms of common sense of late?

Perhaps its time for a few commercially operated Q-Ships. Would soon sort the problem out.
Way, way back in this thread I cited current FCO advice to merchant ships re piracy (link), E.G.

FCO advice re River and sea safety including piracy said:
Firearms

It’s not advisable to carry firearms. If you do, the skipper must ensure that they are allowed by the flag state and host country. Penalties for the use of firearms can be severe in some countries.

If you are attacked

Report the incident to the nearest British Embassy, the relevant naval authorities, the relevant law enforcement authorities and the IMB Piracy Reporting Office in Kuala Lumpur. The contact details are to the right.
Bugger me Dunservin, you have a long memory :D
Evidently mine is getting a little vague these days. Its been a long night and I shall blame tirerdness rather than a fading memory :oops:

You, on the other hand, have a memeory on par with Mrs Jagman. She reminds me of every word I ever say too, even if it was years ago!!!
 
#10
I was more interested in the theories surrounding the convoy system than the individual ships firepower, but feel free to delete mods if its covering old ground.

(At least it wasn't a question about run times or anything airborne/sas! )
 
#12
PMCs have shown the Army how to do their job. Now it's the Navy's turn. Fay Tunney and the shipless Admirals stand by.

God help those poor, dumb, skinnies on the Maesrk ship, a crack team of Hollywood writers is already assembling...
 
#13
NATO stopped practising convoying about 15 years ago, so the number of people who've done it (both Navy and merchantmen) is rapidly dwindling.

To implement a system of convoying is basically a great way to commit economic suicide. Insurers such as Lloyds will rapidly raise war risk premiums to the level where it is no longer economically viable to send ships that way. We either pay rapidly rising prices, or watch as our Just in Time systems start to stop.

Until it costs less to pay war risk premiums than pay the ransoms demanded, ship owners will continue to chance it.

(My first RNR branch was in Maritime Trade, so I've done a lot of work in this area over the years).
 
#14
NATO stopped practising convoying about 15 years ago, so the number of people who've done it (both Navy and merchantmen) is rapidly dwindling.
Neggers Cheggers!

Just not referred to as "convoys". Tactical manouvring in formation is bread & butter. Formation Yankee etc etc...

Whats the difference apart from some of the ships will be merch.
 
#15
Sorry Super - going to disagree there. The lead school at DRYAD, and now C'WOOD was very clear that NATO had turned off convoy doctrine and doesn't do it for merchants anymore. Its not just a case of turning up with a lot of ships and putting them in line - the comms, support roles etc need to be sorted out too. Thats the difference - a formal convoy is dead & buried.

You are right that we do do close manouvering though - not as often as we should do though.
 
#16
thanks for that guys, I knew there would be somebody out there who would come up with answers! :)
 
#17
why aren't Q Ships the answer?
 
#18
#19
If they'd just let the navies do what they do best.. i.e. blow sh!t up with big guns.. this would all go away.. the Pirates will stop when enough of their little Zodiaks and speedboats are reduced to kindling and they're floating face down in the ocean.

trouble is the bleeding heart politicians who won't unleash the power to thump some sense into these brigands claiming these ' poor bastards' are only trying to respond to a failed regime in Somalia and the need to protect their own lives...with the ' pirates' claiming they are trying to protect their fishing rights and 'way of life', as they need the ransom money to build schools, and homes and hospitals.. after they've bought guns and booze, mansions on the beach and fast cars and loose women, of course...

merely more terrorists using the system of ' civilized democracies' niceness' against them..
 
#20
It does occur to me that bribing and/or killing a few of the guys that fund the pirates would be much cheaper than all this tarting about in boats. As Somalians with atypically oppulent life styles they really won't be hard to find. A large annual dollop of "humanitarian aid" and few cheap Hellfire armed UAVs buzzing arround Puntland might persuade them that fishing really is a better life choice.
 

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