Blog Analysismaritime piracy

hacker networks

(BRUSSELS2) The latest report from UN experts on maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia is interesting because it gives some details on the new tactics used by pirates and clarifies certain ideas (true or false).

An “erratic” intelligence network

The report twists information that had sometimes circulated: the existence of sophisticated and extensive intelligence networks supplying pirates with information on the boats to take. THE " targets and tactics used suggest otherwise. Pirate attack groups position themselves on the most used shipping lines in search of targets, which they choose seemingly at random. » This is evidenced, according to the UN report, by the number of pirate attacks against military ships. Intelligence capabilities are therefore “ erratic at best » (NB: rather than intelligence networks, we can however wonder about the existence of informants in certain ports in Djibouti, Kenya, Yemen, who can possibly report possible prey).

Merchant ships used as mother ships

The presence of multinational forces in the Gulf of Aden – in the international transit corridor – has led to a drop in piracy in this area, this is an established fact (around 50% drop) but also a spread to other areas. zones, to the East towards India, to the South towards Tanzania. The pirates adapted their tactics using more powerful mother ships, or even merchant ships “requisitioned” for the occasion. They used them first as a logistical base (from February 2010, for example with the Samho Dream), then directly as an attack ship (from November 2010). This was the case, for example, with the capture of EMS River on December 27, carried out thanks to the MV Motivator. Since then, there have been at least 19 merchant ships used as mother ships and at least 16 incidents – “ probably more » – where a mother ship was used directly to attack

Relations with Al Shabaab

There are neighborhood relations with the Islamists of Al Shabaab but no proven connections. In his report published in October, the UN Secretary General is concerned about “ news of links between Al-Shabaab and hacker groups ". " Increased crackdowns by authorities in parts of Somalia have pushed pirate nests further south into areas that coincide with Al-Shabaab's area of ​​influence ". He also mentions several cases of children who escaped from Al-Shabaab and joined pirate groups in Puntland ».

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).