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  • Office of Naval Intelligence, Piracy Division
    Posted by Bettina Chavanne 3:40 PM on Nov 14, 2008

    I wonder how tired they are of pirate jokes over at the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). Or maybe they all wear patches over their eyes and yell "Aaaargh!" at each other all day long. Probably not, given that real-world pirates in the 21st century are a nasty bunch - nothing as romantic and CGI-generated as on the big screen.

    ONI's Civil Maritime Analysis Department provides a weekly summary of piracy acts and hostile actions against commercial shipping worldwide. What's interesting is that they use information collected and processed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). NGA is one giant surveillance agency, and it can use its powers for good or evil, so to speak. It disseminates data on hurricanes, floods, other natural disasters, and ... piracy.

    A sampling from the pirate rap sheet for a week in October is actually rather chilling. The high seas are still a dangerous place:

    The Gulf of Aden is a hot spot, and the Somalis seem to be the busiest pirates. ONI analyzed data from past attacks in the region. Turns out over a two month period, 21 incidents involved shots fired and vessel seizure. All but one hijacking occurred during daylight hours. Average speed of the vessels fired on but not boarded was 15 knots, average speed of vessels successfully boarded by pirates was 14 knots. ONI has advised all ships to proceed through the area at maximum possible speed and travel at night.

    Tags: ar99, piracy, ONI

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