Yo ho ho, these pirates might kill ya'
- Members and Friends,You may recall in the January - March Captain's Call the piece on Talk Like a Pirate Day, 19 September 2008. We have it on our council calendar as a family event but no one to date has come forward to serve on the planning committee. It will be great fun if we can pull it off. Possibly we may move it forward to Monday, 8 September 2008, our fall luncheon.Though we can take time out to make light of pirates of old, piracy old or current is no laughing matter. It is a scourge of merchant shipping. There is now a documentary film on modern day pirate attacks, Porampo: Pirates of the Malacca Straits. Below are details on this film and the ambitious task of producing it.I have ordered the DVD and will see what can be done to get it shown in San Francisco or nearby. If you would like to assist, your help would be appreciated. I will attempt to schedule a showing of it at the NLUS National Convention as well.Phelps
WHY DO MANY PIRATE ATTACKS GO UNREPORTED?
By day he's like any other Indonesian fisherman. But at night he becomes a modern Jolly Roger, boarding ships not with swords, but with grenades. Ask him and he'll tell you he's just a man taking care of his family. Ask a victim of his shotgun or long knife-if he's alive-and he's nothing but a dangerous criminal.
Porampo: Pirates of the Malacca Straits, will take viewers on a journey inside the world of modern high seas piracy. This high def documentary focuses on one of the earth's traditionally dangerous waterways where a quarter of the world's ships pass every day. There, sailors may be assaulted by pirates who board with grappling hooks from fast vessels. These robbers seek a bounty of cash from the ship's safe, often victimizing crews at risk of being wounded, killed, or set adrift.
According to the International Maritime Bureau, in 2007 there were 263 reported pirate attacks worldwide, up 10% from the year before. However, the actual number of crimes is likely much higher due to an alleged cover-up by certain unscrupulous shipping companies. It is believed that more than 50% of piracy is not reported, as some companies are desperate to avoid bad publicity and higher insurance premiums. Also,it may cost a vessel upwards of $25,000 USD per day in operational expenses to tie up a vessel during a piracy investigation.
Two men, Michael Rawlins and Robert Duke, Jr., travel through Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, in their quest for modern day pirates. Contacts are made in bamboo huts and money changes hands in taxis. An ex-pirate with the scars of grenades and knives tells his story. Along the way there are interviews with police, fishing villagers, and ship's crews. It all builds to the film's pinnacle: a real nighttime pirate raid in a fast boat through infrared light.
January 29, 2008
Canamedia Productions of Toronto is developing "Pirate Hunters," a TV series based upon Porampo. Each episode will focus on harrowing stories of modern day pirate attacks. Go to Canamedia's web page, www.canamedia.com. Click on the "Yellow.TV" button. Next, look to the very lower left for "In Development." After that, click on "Pirate Hunters." Go to PIRATE HUNTERS now (then click on "In Development)."
Yo ho ho, these pirates might kill ya
Filming modern-day terrorists of the seas - "Porampo: Pirates of the Malacca Straits"May 12, 2008 - 11:19AM
Increasing awareness to ultimately bring about positive change takes someone who is willing to step up to the proverbial plate.
Michael Rawlins, producer and director of "Porampo: Pirates of the Malacca Straits," decided to do just that by bringing to light the frequency, dangers and reality of modern day piracy.
To much of Western society, pirates may seem like a thing of the past, chronicled in movies as a swashbuckling, good-looking, Johnny Depp-type figure. But these days a porampo (pirate in Indonesian) is more likely to wield an automatic weapon than a sword. And they don't have to rely on the wind to guide their sails, but make their getaway in high-powered speedboats.
As a Merchant Marine officer for the last 15 years, hearing multiple reports of piracy was almost an everyday occurrence for Rawlins. In general, the Merchant Marines are civilian, but run government-contracted vessels, oil tankers and commercial freighters all over the world.
Rawlins decided to expose the nature and danger of modern day piracy after a crewmember suggested that he (or someone) should put together some sort of movie to let people know what is happening in some of the most important waters in terms of commercial trade.
"I thought to myself, Well, if not me, then who?'" Rawlins said. "It's been a hot potato' issue for a long time that countries just don't want to deal with."
A Carlinville native, Rawlins graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a degree in broadcasting. He began his career as a broadcast journalist and is no stranger to the film industry. He left the world of broadcasting to travel the world after hearing about the Merchant Marines from a former classmate's father.
Surprisingly, he said there are several people he knows of from Carlinville, a small town of about 5,700, who are in the Merchant Marines.
"My father was in the Navy in World War II and I had always been intrigued by the sea," Rawlins said. "I started talking with a man who had a son in the Merchant Marine, and it sounded really interesting."
Rawlins ended up at boot camp in Maryland, and three months later found himself on a ship.
"At first I thought I would be in for two years, then five and now it's been 15," Rawlins said.
Two years ago, he decided to begin work on the documentary, and the next thing he knew, he was organizing a crew and investigations were under way.
The groundwork began with Rawlins; David M. Crabtree, producer, cinematographer and editor; and logistical coordinator Robert Duke, Jr. traveling through Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Rawlins said contacts were made in bamboo huts and money changed hands.
"We interviewed ex-pirates, policemen, fishermen, villagers and ship's crewmen," Rawlins said.
Without giving too much away, Rawlins said a group of pirates gave him and his film crew a taste of the real thing with a behind-the-scenes-look at what is a way of life in some parts of the world. The film crew used infrared light to capture the experiences on film.
"We were warned that piracy is ruthless," Rawlins said. "A lot of people we tried to talk to would tell us they knew nothing about it - even though we knew they did."
Many times they ran into dead ends and thought they were done as far as uncovering enough useable information for the documentary. But eventually, there were people who talked to them - some for a price.
He said Duke has a natural knack for talking to people, and he really got down in the trenches and found a group that was willing to talk.
Rawlins received a call from Duke who said, "It's on brother - NOW."
Rawlins went to the parking lot and got into an SUV without the least idea of where he was going - or how safe it was.
"I think more than being scared, at that point I was confused about what was going on," he said.
The film crew found themselves at an inlet where a boat of armed and masked men waited.
"They told us to film them and then Get out!'" Rawlins said. "They told us we would be going with them at night, too."
That night a guide took Rawlins and his crew to a boat full of masked men; they boarded and took off into the ocean. Communication was through an interpreter, converting the pirates' Indonesian language to English.
"Basically, it seems there are no pirate brethren," he said. "They're all independent, either as opportunists, regular people trying to feed their families or for political gain."
Most do not think of themselves as criminals in the true sense of the word. Rawlins said they tend to rationalize what they are doing.
"I think the idea of having their story told was appealing to them," Rawlins said. "Maybe it appealed to their ego. They just didn't want to get burned or exposed.
"I was concerned about my crew and equipment, but I just didn't get that nervous for myself until I saw the footage with the infrared light. That looked a little scary."
Through the filming, there was smoke, a lot of yelling and glowing eyes in a mask.
"I wondered what we would do if the police came, and here we were filming armed pirates," he said. "But I tried to check all my emotions at the door and just get the job done that we were there to do."
Rawlins has been to more than 40 different countries and traveled through some of the biggest piracy hotspots in the world as a Merchant Marine officer. He almost made it to Antarctica for the South Pole Run on a special ship commissioned for just that purpose. At the last minute plans changed.
"Maybe someday I'll get there, too," he said. "But I have seen an awful lot of the Caribbean, South and North America, Africa, Europe and Asia, especially in the Far East run between Japan and Korea."
Rawlins is also the author of "The Last American Sailors: A Wild Ride in the Modern Merchant Marine." He has written pieces for Professional Mariner Magazine and City Lights Publishing's "Instant City" series of short stories.
Duke holds a U.S. Coast Guard license as Oceans Master. He has been a professional Merchant Mariner for more than 25 years. Crabtree has a degree from the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television.
The Malacca Strait is a about a 550-mile narrow stretch of water considered one of the most important shipping lanes in the world. It stretches between West Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, serving as the main shipping channel between the Indian and Pacific oceans. More than 50,000 vessels pass through the strait every year carrying more than 25 percent of the world's trade goods including about one quarter of all oil.
Other areas of reported pirate attacks in recent years include waters of the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, South America (Pacific and Atlantic) and West and East Africa.
Some pirates are looking for easy profit, to help make ends meet, robbing ships and crews of money and other valuables. The groups may be made up of everyday citizens with everyday jobs who "moonlight" as pirates. Much of this type of piracy stems from poverty and poor economic conditions.
Another kind of pirate is part of an organized group that may kidnap crews for ransom, and are looking for gain to further terrorism or other political motives. These pirates' operations have been compared to land-based organized crime syndicates.
The high-definition documentary "Porampo: Pirates of the Malacca Straits" takes an inside look at this world of modern high seas piracy.
Rawlins said pirates assault sailors and board vessels with grappling hooks. They often victimize crews who may, in the end, be wounded, killed or set adrift. In some cases, even luxury cruise liners have come under attack, including the 10,000-ton Seabourn Spirit carrying 302 people (guests and crew), attacked by Somalia pirates as it rounded the Horn of Africa in November 2005 (the pirates were prevented from boarding). In April, Le Ponant, a small French cruise ship carrying 30 crew members (no passengers) off the coast of Somalia was seized by pirates (who were later caught).
According to the International Maritime Bureau, in 2003 there were 445 reported pirate attacks worldwide, with 21 sailors killed and 71 missing. But, Rawlins said, the actual number of crimes is likely much higher due to an alleged maritime industry-wide cover up. It is believed that less than 10 percent of piracy is reported because shipping companies are desperate to avoid bad publicity, higher insurance premiums and costly security personnel.
Rawlins said officials at IMB say if the crimes aren't reported, they cannot be tracked.
Rawlins developed Green Ray Films, LLC specifically for the porampo documentary, but the company has already been approached for more projects.
Toronto, Canada-based Canamedia Productions is working with Rawlins to develop a reality television series, "Pirate Hunters," taking the modern-day piracy exposure a step further, with plans to begin airing in January.
"We're really excited about the television show, and it means we'll be doing more, finding out more, talking to more people," Rawlins said. "It will really help get the message out there."
"Porampo: Pirates of the Malacca Straits" is available for purchase at www.porampo.com and www.amazon.com.
Fear Of Fighting
September 23, 2008: The piracy problem in the Gulf of Aden is attracting the attention of nations dependent on seaborne trade. That's because the Gulf of Aden is one the busiest shipping lanes in the world (with nearly ten percent of all traffic). Each month, 1500-1600 ships pass the northern coast of Somalia. So far this year, 3-4 of those ships have been seized by pirates each month. That's one ship out of every 400-500. But with the pirates getting more and more ransom money for each ship, the number of pirate groups operating in the Gulf of Aden is increasing. It's believed that at least three fishing trawlers (able to stay out for weeks at a time, and carry speed boats for attacks) are acting as mother ships for the pirates. Most merchant ships are wary of pirate operations, and put on extra lookouts, and often transit the 1,500 kilometer long Gulf of Aden at high speed (even though this costs them thousands of dollars in additional fuel). The pirates seek the slower moving, apparently unwary, ships, and go after them before they can speed up enough to get away. For the pirates, business is booming, and ransoms are going up. Pirates are now demanding $2-3 million per ship, and are liable to get it for the much larger tankers and bulk carriers they are now seizing.
There is already an international naval protection effort; Task Force 150. At least fifteen warships, and two maritime patrol aircraft have set up a patrolled corridor through the Gulf of Aden, and advised slower ships to travel in convoys (which will get extra attention from the warships.) Ships are being warned to transit the Gulf of Aden carefully. It's the slow moving ships, without sufficient lookouts (the speedboats are difficult to spot with the radar used by merchant ships) that are most vulnerable. Meanwhile, the government in Puntland appears to be intimidated, and/or bought off, by the warlords running the pirate operations along their coast.
The big problem is that no one wants to get involved with the Somalis on land. For centuries, the Somalis have had a reputation for being fearless and relentless fighters. Media advisors warn that fighting Somalis, who regularly use their own people as human shields, will expose the sailors to charges of war crimes, or, at the very least, bad publicity. Thus the prohibitions on firing on the pirates.
For nearly two decades now, Somalia has had no central government. The country is a lawless land where the strong get their way and everyone else suffers. As a result, nations sending ships to participate in Task Force 150, are doing so with restrictive ROE (Rules Of Engagement). Some nations forbid their warships to fire, unless fired upon. Others will not permit their warships to engage in "hot pursuit" (chasing pirates back to mother ships or coastal refuges.) The only nations that have been aggressive towards the pirates has been the United States (which has fired on them several times), and the French (who have twice used commandos to rescue French citizens being held by the pirates. But neither of these nations is interested, yet, in raiding coastal bases of the pirates, or hunting down and destroying the mother ships. Not yet, anyway.
Maritime Global Net - Sep 23 3:15 AMSOMALI-based are threatening to kill any European they capture unless France returns six suspected pirates captured by French commandos earlier this months when they freed two French nationals according to a Voice of America (VOA) report.
Philippine Daily Inquirer - Sep 22 10:31 PMMANILA, Philippines -- The European Union, under the leadership of France, is preparing for naval action against pirates off Somalia who have been hijacking ships and crewmen for ransom, according to a transcript of an interview with French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent by the French Embassy.Pirates in speedboats hijacked a Greek bulk carrier with 19 crew members off eastern Somalia, a piracy watchdog official said Monday.The Navy was jubilant when it announced the capture of 10 pirates off the coast of Somalia, but a week later there is still confusion about what to do with them.Somali pirates, who have been relentlessly attacking ships this year off the coast of Somalia, say they will kill any European they capture if France fails to release six pirates seized by French commandos earlier this month.THE number of Filipino seamen being held by pirates around the Horn of Africa had risen to nearly 100 after the hijacking of a Greek merchant vessel, the Philippines government said yesterday.The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday confirmed reports that another Greek-owned ship with 17 Filipino seamen on board was hijacked by Somali pirates near the coast of Somalia last Sunday, bringing to 97 the total number of Filipinos being held hostage in the northeast African country.Somali pirates, who are now holding a record 13 ships hostage, are attacking further out to sea and on two fronts to evade international security, a maritime watchdog said Monday.Norway"s new warship called Fridtjof Nansen will be deployed off the coast of Somalia to fight pirates operating in the area, according to Norwegian newspaper VGArmed pirates have attacked and hijacked another Greek-owned cargo ship in the eastern coast of Somalia, taking all 19 crew members as hostage, an anti-piracy watchdog said today.____________________________________
--- In PMMC-NLUS@yahoogroups.com, "Pacific Merchant Marine Council, NLUS" <pmmc@...> wrote:
News Stories for Pirates(Results 1 - 10 of about 20,302)Sort Results by: Relevance | Date
- 1.Pirates seized a tanker and attacked a UN food ship that escaped, officials said Saturday, the latest in a series of incidents off Somalia which have sparked worldwide concern.
- 2.Pirates seized a tanker and attacked a UN food ship that escaped, officials said Saturday, in the latest in a series of incidents off Somalia that have sparked concern among Western powers.
- 3.Armed pirates hijacked a massive tanker as world powers on Saturday headed toward the Somali coast to end a two-week standoff aboard a ship laden with tanks and weapons, officials said.
- 4.With U.S. warships lurking nearby, the pirates who hijacked an arms-laden Ukrainian tanker off Somalia threatened to destroy the vessel unless a ransom is paid, a spokesman for the bandits said.
- 5.While the audacity of a band of Somali pirates who recently hijacked a ship has grabbed the world?s attention, the suffering of millions of Somalis seems to go unnoticed.
- 6.Somali pirates seized a Greek tanker and separately attacked a World Food Programme-chartered ship, a maritime piracy watchdog said Saturday.
- 7.Armed pirates in speedboats hijacked a Greek chemical tanker with 20 crew members in the Gulf of Aden near Somalia, a maritime official said.
- 8.MOGADISHU, Somalia, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Pirates who have seized a Ukrainian ship and its crew have threatened to blow up the ship, which is laden with weapons, if they are not paid $8 million.
- 9.Armed pirates hijacked a massive tanker as world powers today headed toward the Somali coast to end a two-week standoff aboard a ship laden with tanks and weapons, officials said.
- 10.African pirates threatened Friday to blow up the arms-laden Ukrainian ship they've hijacked--the latest salvo in a crisis that's boosting shipping costs and cutting off aid to millions of Somalis.
"The industry asks in the statement for three specific things: a commitment to increased numbers of deployed warships in the Gulf of Aden and to their coordinated action; the renewal of UN Security Council resolution 1816 for a longer time frame and to strengthen the text on actions required to repress piracy and an agreement to establish a legal jurisdiction to identify and punish criminals under due process."
When high pressure fire hoses are insufficient, the display and use of twin 50 cal. machine guns fore and aft and a few automatics inbetween might do the trick. Skip the agreement.
There are more than one post on the subject of Piracy. It again is in the news. Now it is on the front page of http://www.navyleague.org .
Check out these references including the November 2008 issue of Sea Power:
Navy League addresses piracy issue, its impact on maritime security
"MDA (Maritime Domain Awareness) is also a major deterrent in the war on terror, piracy, drugs, smuggling, etc."
-- Navy League's Maritime Policy Statement 2008-9 - Preserving Sea Power A National Imperative
Nov. 21, 2008 - The serious nature of piracy on the high seas has been a topic of major concern that the Navy League has been addressing for several years. Well before the most recent media focus of this critical global maritime issue stemming from the ongoing increased and bolder pirate overtaking of ships and commercial super tankers by Somalian pirates in the Gulf of Aden, the Navy League has taken a strong position that this issue is one that greatly impacts our nation's maritime security and our freedom to navigate and trade along the open seas.
Below are links to Navy League published documents and media interviews addressing the rising problem of piracy.
"Piracy on the Rise" by Matt Hilburn, Nov 2008 (current issue pg 12 - electronic version)
"Cops on the Beat" by Richard Burgess, Feb 2008
"Piracy: Old Danger Becomes New Threat on the Open Seas" by David Munns,
Oct. 2004 (cover story)
Yo ho ho, these pirates might kill ya'
--- In PMMC-NLUS@yahoogroups.com, "Phelps Hobart" <nlsac@...> wrote:
News Stories for Pirates(Results 1 - 10 of about 20,302) Sort Results by: Relevance | Date