Thursday, October 22, 2009

Analysts: Chinese Vessel Ambushed with Plan Ahead

Some analysts said the incident of vessel De Xin Hai was not a coincidental event but a planned ambush.

Usually the safe distance off coast is 600 nautical miles for a cargo ship to avoid attacking from pirates. As experience, a pirate boat either is not able to reach this off-coastal distance, or even it is able to reach so far, it will not have enough fuel to return to the coast if the pirates on it fails to find a target.

But recently Chinese Bulk Carrier De Xin Hai was hijacked at 980 nautical away from the Somali coast. Did pirates possess a ship, which had a 2,000 plus nautical-mile range? There has been no such a report yet. The analysts believed that the pirates could successfully attack the cargo ship De Xin Hai, mostly was because the pirates had probably established their intelligence network across continents.

These years, so much ransom from so many successful hijacks has accumulated a huge mountain of treasure for Somali pirates. In living, they have their luxury houses and cars. On their so-called jobs, they are equipped with satellite phones, GPS, and other advanced communications equipment, as well as automatic weapons, rocket propelled grenades. They have been well trained and highly organized. With large funds turned from ransom, the pirates have already established their cross-continental intelligence network, although the network maybe is only at its early stage. With big money, it is easy for the pirates to find moles in some harbors or get some information from personnel who love money there.

Upon this supposition, the analysts said the incident of vessel De Xin Hai was not a coincidental event but a planned ambush. From a mole in the arrival port or the departure port, the pirates could easily get the information on the nationality, name, and route of the ship De Xin Hai, as well as its estimated arrival time (EAT) and estimated departure time (EDT). Thus, they could easily calculate out when the targeted ship De Xin Hai would appear at a specific area on waters. With accurate intelligence, these pirates did not need to play darts any more on the ocean and worry about how to take their small boat back if they missed the target. What they needed was just a one-way sail. Following the intelligence in hands, they sailed their boat to the ambush-area at a specific time and then waited on the appearance of the targeted ship De Xin Hai.

Due to the one-way sail to the ambush this time, their attack range certainly was extended almost double from original 600 nautical miles to recent 1,000 nautical miles. This is why Chinese vessel De Xin Hai was hijacked 980 miles away off the Somali coast several days ago.

The incident of vessel De Xin Hai tells us, Somali pirates will be more and more difficult to deal with in the future. With their intelligence, the pirates will be able to cover more off-coastal area as long as weather allows. And more, with the information they get in advance, the pirates will be able to specially find fully loaded ships to ambush. These fully loaded ships are easy to climb because of their slow speeds and low heights of deck-railings above water. When the vessel De Xin Hai was hijacked, it was fully loaded with coal and its speed was only 8 knots.

If the countries in the world still could not cooperate well on eradicating the Somali pirates, the analysts said, the pirates would feel much easier to win the future battles against some countries with weaker navies.