Former Navy SEALs battle pirates off Somalia
Somali pirate attacks are plunging — thanks, in part, to a group of heavily armed ex-Navy SEALs putting their skills to use in the private sector.
In the first six months of 2012, pirate attacks plummeted 33 percent, according to the International Maritime Bureau. Through June, Somali pirates made 69 attacks, resulting in 212 captured hostages. That was down from 163 attacks in the same six-month period in 2011.
Piracy hit its highest point last year, with attacks on 544 ships from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean.
One of the biggest factors spurring the drop is the use of maritime security companies that specialize in anti-piracy.
“The fact of the matter is, if you didn’t have private armed guards, it would definitely be much more dangerous — the drop would not have been so significant,” said Michael Frodl, chairman of C-Level Maritime Risks, a consulting company.
For $50,000 per voyage, shipping companies can hire a team of four ex-Navy SEALs to accompany their vessel on a 10-day voyage through the most dangerous waters in the world — the Gulf of Aden, Straits of Malacca and northern Indian Ocean — to thwart hijackings and hostage-taking.
About 6 years ago in law school I did a paper on utilizing private security companies to combat the then-growing scourge of piracy both off the coast of Somalia and in the South Pacific. My professor, former Secretary of the Army and assistant to Gerald Ford, John O. Marsh liked it enough to give me an "A" and it was one of my proudest achievements academically, because I thought the world of him. At the time I even toyed with the idea of pursuing employment in Kuala Lumpur with the IMB's Piracy Center, but I loved my job here too much.
Either way, this is an issue I've been tracking for a while, and am hoping to make it out on an Embed at some point with the Navy Task Force 151 off the Horn of Africa if anyone happens to know any Navy PAO types.
Here's video of one of the firefights that the SEALs had with the pirates.