For a Greater Horn of Africa Sea Patrol: A Strategic Analysis of the Somali Pirate Challenge

Research output: Book/ReportReportResearch

  • Lars Bangert Struwe
Pirates are international criminals who should be opposed locally in the places they have their bases. As there is no Somali authority capable of doing this now or in the foreseeable future, the recommendation in this report is to:
• Establish a new maritime unit – a Greater Horn of Africa Sea Patrol.
The capacity and resources devoted by the individual states, alliances and organisations to combating piracy could be used more efficiently by establishing a regional unit: a Greater Horn of Africa Sea Patrol (GHASP). GHASP could be built up on a regional basis founded on the states in and around the Horn of Africa. The international community must provide help with this as the pirates chiefly attack ships without considering their nationality. GHASP could be entrusted with such tasks as:
• Carrying out surveillance and securing free navigation
• Establishing security by combating illegal acts at sea
• Protecting natural resources – including fishery inspection and environmental monitoring
• Establishing a maritime life-saving service.
This means that Kenya, Tanzania, Eritrea, Djibouti, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia would jointly establish GHASP. GHASP would be responsible for providing radar installations and aerial surveillance, training personnel and equipping maritime vessels. It would also be necessary to attach courts and punitive measures to GHASP. The establishment and operation of GHASP could be funded to advantage by the states that are presently providing capacity and resources for operations around the Horn of Africa.
Recommendations regarding measures on the part of Denmark:
• To participate at regional level in establishing and strengthening regional capacity – particularly in the form of a regional unit, GHASP
• To strengthen the boarding and landing capacity of the Danish Navy with the aim of continuing to take part in international operations.
There is experience of building up military and civil capacity in Denmark that must be used actively in establishing GHASP. As this will take time, a Danish maritime-military presence should be maintained off the coast of Somalia. Experience from the Absalon and Thetis missions shows that the use of helicopters combined with boarding and landing elements from the Danish Navy Frogman Corps are effective in combating attacks by pirates. Irrespective of whether there is a decision to act or react, the boarding and landing elements in particular should be strengthened. This would also strengthen participation in future international operations, such as controlling ships, for instance.
A final recommendation is to:
• Initiate research into the generic characteristics of piracy.
This report also shows that we know too little about the pirates as such. Therefore, crews of ships that have been attacked by pirates should be interviewed, and information on best practices in anti-piracy operations should be gathered and combined with historical information. This would make it possible to identify the generic characteristics of piracy and develop model solutions in relation to piracy that are independent of geography.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
PublisherDansk Institut for Militære Studier
Number of pages42
Publication statusPublished - 2009

ID: 23088762