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Monday, 11 May 2009

Somali Pirates' Consultancy in London

The Guardian reports today that the Somali pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean may be directed to their targets by a team of informants in London.

A European military intelligence document claims that these 'consultants' in London remain in contact with the pirates by satellite phone, and are well placed to provide information on which ships to attack- location, course and cargo. In at least one case, they were in contact with the pirates on a hijacked ship rather than the 'control centre' on the Somali mainland.

The report claims:

"The information that merchant ships sailing through the area volunteer to various international organisations is ending up in the pirates' hands,"

This enables the pirates to select their targets well in advance - and there is even evidence that once a target is selected, the pirates are 'trained' for the specific challenges involved in storming and capturing it.

There are cases where a ship has been hijacked by a team of pirates, then joined by more 'senior' pirates later on. Some captains have reported that the pirates already knew the ports of call, lay out and cargo of the vessels.

The nationality of the ship is also taken into account - some experts think British ships are often avoided because the pirates don't want to give their London network away to the police.

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