It would both assign specific geographic corridor areas of responsibility by country navy, as well as direct the Command’s “attack assets” to the point of violation (i.e. where a pirate vessel crosses into the “kill zone”). The corridor assignments would then yield complete coverage of the defined shipping transit lane, unlike now where there is chaotic and uncoordinated overlap and therefore “underlaps” (i.e. holes) in coverage as the different country warships cruise wherever they want. This new approach yields a much more potent, geography encompassing, robust, effective and efficient use of the same assets being employed today.
Command support pieces include:
1) Rules of Engagement:
Create the SOS attack and pursuit protocol rules of engagement. This includes both attacking pirate ships and land bases, pre-emptively as need be too, superseding any prior “hot pursuit” protocol. If Somalia can’t control and/or perhaps even seen as endorsing the problem, then the activity should be decisively dealt with as if any country has been attacked and thereby allowed any prudent action in retaliation and future prevention.
2) UNAPC Air Attack Assets and Base Setup:
Leveraging the existing Djibouti airfield infrastructure, deploy several attack jets (rotating basis by UNAPC countries), to support air assaults on pirate vessel and land based pirate havens/nests as identified and directed by UNAPC. Given the military jets speed and ability to strike multiple targets, this would likely require just two or three jets. After the first few attacks, the pirates should get the message and the jets rarely need to be flown, maintained at the ready in deterrent mode.
3) UNAPC Special Forces Team:
Create a UNAPC Special Forces team, based in Djibouti, to pre-emptively attack pirate land/port based strongholds, leveraging intelligence garnered by UNAPC from participating countries.
4) “No Pirate Zone” Corridor:
Create the “no pirate” zone corridor through the Gulf of Aden and announce to the world. This would mean the central transit route, with a 25 mile wide border on each side of the route. This 50 mile wide corridor would be through the entire trouble zone of the Gulf of Aden. It would be approximately 500 miles long starting at the base of the Red Sea at Bab el Mandeb and extend to the longitudinal tip of the Horn of Africa. To the commercial ships, it’s a “safe zone”. To the pirates, it will be a “kill zone”.
5) Transit Lane Protocol:
Establish a commercial ship transit plan protocol. That means any commercial ship will be required to provide a detailed transit plan to UNAPC (much like a commercial jet provides a flight plan to FAA) so it can monitor its transit. Those ships will be equipped with specific UNAPC satellite tracking transponders/beacons and monitored at the UNAPC command center vis-à-vis satellite imaging of the transit lane and cross beacon referencing. Any ships not transponder equipped will be considered hostile.
6) Global Shipping Warnings:
Clear and repeated warnings to the global community that unauthorized vessels entering the “no pirate” zone will be immediately attacked and obliterated, no questions asked and no warnings given. So abide by the safe transit rules, or be mistaken (particularly at night) for a pirate vessel and suffer the consequences.
In conclusion, there is a time and a place to promote and romance pirates. It’s called Hollywood and Disney World. There are then times like now to execute a “zero tolerance, take no prisoners, no questions asked” policy on piracy.
Going forward, it is important to change “SOS” from a distress call which predatory pirates are drawn to like sharks to a wounded fish, to one that they fear and tells them they have only seconds to live. Only then will the attacks stop and the sea lanes become open and safe once again.