Convoys on the African coast - why not?

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by flamingo, Apr 9, 2009.

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  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.
  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. I thought it might be something like that. I wonder how bad it would have to get before the convoy system would become attractive?
  5. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    Its a large area and busy. You'd need a lot of escorts from somewhere and a robust rules of engagement
  6. Last I heard British registered ships held a small armoury for exactly that purpose, but that may be way out of date now.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. Is it Groundhog Day already?

  9. 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! )
  11. Have we got any ships left to provide the escorts? Replies on a postcard to 10 Downing St.
  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. 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.