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April 15th, 2009
11:23 AM ET

An Uphill Battle? Viewer Feedback

Pirates have attacked more than 75 vessels so far this year. 19 of those ended in hijackings. The U-S Navy is leading Combined Task Force 151, which is basically an anti-pirate patrol.
They have several ships in the Gulf of Aden, and farther off the coast of Somalia. The "Navy Times" recently had an article about the bulk of the anti-pirate surveillance effort. It said that unmanned planes are doing most of the surveillance, looking for possible pirate vessels. Helicopters are also being used for surveillance flights.

The U.S. isn't the only country with ships in the region. The Combined Task Force includes ships from Denmark, Turkey and the United Kingdom. But there are also others out there.
The European Union has their own task force, as does NATO.
A total of 16 nations have ships patrolling the region.

Even with all that firepower, the vast expanse of the area is the pirates best cover. The area off the coast of Somalia and Kenya, plus the Gulf of Aden is 1.1 million square miles, or 4 times the size of Texas. The U.S. Navy says it would take about 61 ships to keep pirates under control in the Gulf of Aden alone, and that's just a fraction of the area they need to cover. There are currently between 16 and 30 ships in the region.

What do you think needs to be done to stop the pirate attacks?
More ships?
Diplomatic efforts in Somalia?
Arming civilian ships?

Leave your comments below.

Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Ray

    It would appear with the size of ocean area to patrol there could never be enough ships to protect all the cargo ships going through the area.

    We need to have armed guards aboard all cargo ships and use the new tools like LRAD sound system to ward off attacks.

    While this is in place ... a diplomatic approach must be done to stablize Somalia and get its' people to work rebuilding the country so they don't have to resort to piracy.

    April 29, 2009 at 10:34 am |
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