Past Opinion Articles

Article for the week of 4/27/09

Motown Scrapper Unleashed

My idea for dealing with the Somali pirates
By Don Hellion

Recently there has been a huge increase in pirate activity of the coast of Somalia. It seems that the nations of the world have forgotten old lessons. The big complaint I have heard is that there are not enough warships in the area to protect the ships scattered about. During both World Wars there was a similar problem only instead of pirates it was German submarines and surface raiders. The immediate solution was convoys a lot of unarmed ships in one group that could be protected by a small number of warships and aircraft, these would be able to easily counter the pirates, who only have AK-47 and RPGs. A couple frigates with helicopters and some corvettes would be more than enough to scare them off, an easy way to keep them away.

Now if you want to be sneakier and put a stop to then for good there are a couple other Methods that were used in both World Wars, namely Q-ships and Armed Merchant Cruisers or AMCs for short. The Q-ship is a British idea; a small to medium size merchant ship armed with 2-4 guns in the 3-4 inch class which carried Depth charged which would not be needed for this mission. The Armed merchant cruiser is just that a larger merchant vessel fitted out with the weapons load of a light cruiser 4-8 guns in the 4-6 inch class. Now take a larger cargo carrier and since the pirates are using small craft would be better off with more guns of a smaller caliber and a higher rate of fire.

Imagine the Thunder Bay is sailing along mining its own business when it’s attacked by several small pirate boats. The thing is that the Thunder Bay is NOT an ordinary cargo ship any more it’s now an Armed Merchant Cruiser. Imagine the pirates shock when they fire warning shots with their AKs and the Thunder Bay reveals it’s true nature when the fake superstructure falls away and batteries of 30mm Gatling guns and 57mm pom pom type guns are uncovered and rip into the pirate craft within minutes sending the two pieces to the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Number three is blazing from stem to stern a floating funeral pyre. Number four is speeding away towards its mother ship the Thunder Bay in hot pursuit. As they approach the mother ship the Thunder Bay displays another surprise… its main armament as it gets within range and unleashes a hail off fire from 85mmm and 100mm guns. Soon the last of the little pirate fleet is on its way to the floor of the Indian Ocean. I think that those Pirates would not attack any more ships, even if they survive.

Or let’s bring up another scenario, the AMC Saginaw Bay is sailing in the are not too far off the coast when it’s bounced by pirates once again the pirates warning shots are answered by a hail of high explosives from the light and medium guns and once more most of the fleet is sent to the bottom… this time survivors flee to their home port with the Saginaw Bay in hot pursuit. As they run for home the Saginaw Bay is right behind them guns blazing, other craft docks buildings on shore all receive a hail of death and destruction. I’m certain that the survivors of that community are NOT going to want pirates using their little port for a base… once it’s put back together after the shelling.

I’m certain if these ideas are used the pirate problem will be quickly solved.

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