Things have been relatively quiet on the pirate front of late. The monsoon has kept all but the most desperate pirates at bay, and notwithstanding the odd flurry of activity in the Red Sea, it has been relatively quiet on the Eastern front.
However many believe there is a perfect storm brewing – more pirates, less navies. With the monsoon lull soon to end, it seems things could take a turn for the worse.
The effects of better weather, new weapons and boats, fresh pirates, an ever greater desire for money would be bad enough, but the fact that many naval forces have been scaled back creates the potential for some worst case scenarios. There is a real danger that there will be the fewest naval assets in the fray for some time.
This is a real recipe for disaster. We can expect the pirates to burst forth post-Ramadan with a renewed capacity and zeal. Just as a new football season kicks off with the potential for a shift in power, as new signings and new kit make everything look so fresh and new, so too will the new pirate season see change.
Driving the changes will be new enhanced weaponry and a new attitude. While there will still be the groups with old AK47s and RPG7s, there will be others who are willing and able to hit harder, faster and with a vicious new end game in sight.
According to recent reports, pirates are changing their attitude and as they look to apply every greater pressure to get ransoms paid, they are claiming that “killing hostages has now become part of the rules”. It seems the pirates are stating that if a rescue is attempted they will immediately kill hostages.
Add to that the ability to strike hard against ships with their newly acquired RPG29s and there is a time of immense concern ahead.