The number of pirate attacks worldwide continues to increase. Pirates in other areas of the world are adopting the tactics of kidnap and ransom. Piracy now threatens the west coast of Africa near Benin and Nigeria. Benin has attempted to reach out to the international community for help with people and resources. Pirates are also improving their tactics and appear to be better trained in the Somalia operational region. During August there were three reported swarm attacks in the Red Sea where pirates used 6-8 small vessels with 5-7 people in each vessel. The attacks were not successful due to the diligence of the onboard security teams and crews, but these attacks indicate pirates are becoming much better organized and are working to hijack a vessel with a security team onboard.
These types of swarm attacks increase the level of danger against vessels and their embarked security teams. An analysis of the attack reports would indicate that the pirates are using these attacks at potential training missions to gauge the reaction of the ship and security teams to determine how to best defeat the tactics and hijack a ship with a security team onboard. If a ship with an embarked security team is hijacked the ramifications on the worldwide shipping industry could be potentially devastating.
Naval forces in the region can not keep up with the number of attacks over the wide operational area. Ships transiting through these areas need to have plans and procedures in place to deal with the potential threat. Ships with solid plans and security teams onboard have a much higher chance of defeating a potential pirate attack then ships with no plans or security. Ships and shipping companies need to develop a good set of intelligence resources to understand where threats are located in real time. Security teams need to have plans in place to deal with swarm attacks and also understand the pirates will eventually be moving attacks from daylight to night.