Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection

18.12.08

Categorie: Africa, Axe vs. Pirates, Naval, Piracy |

mombasa-dec-15-2008.JPG

Mombasa, southern Kenya’s sweltering port town is, in many ways, the center of gravity of the piracy war. While pirates themselves are based mostly in northern Somalia, hundreds of miles from here, the repercussions of piracy — and many of the higher-order command functions on both sides — play out in Mombasa.

Many of the ships most threatened by pirates — fishing boats and coastal freighters — are home-ported in Mombasa. And as this is the major port in East Africa, many large vessels coming from or to Europe via the Suez Canal, braving pirate waters en route, call here. When a ship is released from pirates’ captivity after ransom is paid, it comes here first. In Mombasa is extensive infrastructure (ship’s agents, mariners’ unions, courts) to handle the aftermath of an act of piracy.

Equally, many of the most important leaders on both sides of the piracy fight, plus their intelligence networks, are anchored here. Mombasa ship’s agents, unions reps and shipping executives, representing tens of thousands of maritime professionals and billions of dollars in trade, have been powerful voices advocating for international intervention to thwart piracy.

Take Karim Kudrati, owner of Motaku Shipping, with four freighters. He was a leading proponent of bringing maritime patrol aircraft into the piracy fight. “Unfortunately, the coast is so huge that we don’t have a [military] vessel every time [we need one],” he told me last week. More convoys — that is, warships gathering up large groups of commercial vessels for mutual protection — “is possible,” he said, but barring that, he asked for patrol planes. “I have been recommending … surveillance aircraft,” he said, to extend warships’ eyes and decrease their response time. Sure enough, the E.U. has included a number of patrol planes in its force package as it begins replacing NATO on the piracy front lines.

The bad guys have strong Mombasa ties, too. Kenya has a fast-growing Somali population, fed by legal and illegal immigration. Indeed, some of my Somali journalist friends who have fled their own country are now in hiding in Kenya. While pirate foot-soldiers all operate out of Somalia proper, many of their bosses and financiers are living in Mombasa, according to some of my Kenyan sources.

It makes sense, considering that pirates have spies working for Kenyan maritime offices. Any ship departing Mombasa harbor must file paperwork stating its cargo and destination. According to my sources here, pirate spies read the forms and forward the details to pirate bands, so they know which ships to target. I was told of one Western couple, laying over in Mombasa while on a pleasure cruise around the world, that sensed they might be targeted, so actually filled out their departure forms with misleading information. That caused all sorts of problems at their actual destination, but it was better than being nabbed by pirates.

What Kenyan authorities is doing about this is hard to say. The pirate networks lie in shadows. Everyone knows about them but nobody can really prove anything. And with so many people, Kenyans and Somalis alike, profiting big from sea crime, there’s strong incentive for those supporting piracy to keep right on doing it.

(Photo: me)

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10 Responses to “Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection”

  1. 111 says:

    WHILE YOU ARE DISCUSSING NAVAL INFORMATION I CAME ACROSS THIS ARTICLE TODAY AND WONDERED IF YOU MIGHT TAKE A LOOK AT IT. IT STATES THE PROCESS OF REFUELING AND REPLENISHING IS THE OBVIOUS CAUSE. JTF HAS STATED AS WELL AS DR THAT THIS IS ACTUALLY TIME WHEN RUSSIA IS SELLLING OFF SIRPLUS TO SOUTH AMERICAN NATIONS FOR MONEY TO PURCHASE DRONES AND OTHER ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY. MY QUESTION IS ; IF THIS IS SUCH WHY IS RUSSIA REPLENISHING AND GASSING UP IF THERE IS AN EMBARGO IN CUBA. IT LOOKS TO ME LIKE THIS MAY ALSO BE BEOND SUPPLYING ARMS A CHANCE AT THUBMIG UP A 2ND SITE IN CUBA AGAIN , IN RETALIATION TO TTHE DMS IN POLAND. THIS IS ALL HYPOTHETICAL AT THIS POINT BUT ALBA, A BOLIVIAN COLLABORATIVE WITH SEVERAL OTHER SOUTH AMERICAN NATIONS ARE SEEMINGLY GATHERING IN AN ALLIANCE WITH COMMUNIST/MARXIST REGIMES SIMILAR TO POST COLD WAR ERA TIMES. THIE INTERSTING POINT IS THAT DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION RUSSIA DID THIS SAME MANEUVER IN CUBA BEFORE, AND WE ARE ON THE VIRGE OF BEING THERE AGAIN. COINCIDENCE AGAIN ? DOES HISTORY TRUELY REPEAT ITSELF OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=40990

  2. [...] Related: E.U. Counter-Pirate Force Expands U.S. Navy Coordinates Counter-Piracy Fleets Pirates Not Just the Stuff of Legends How Pirates Get Paid Axe vs. Pirates: Convoy! Axe vs. Pirates: “I Fear No One but God.” Chinese Seafarers Kick Pirate Ass Kenyan Navy Fires Rhetorical Broadside against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Everyday Kenyans Suffering Effects of Somali Piracy Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection Piracy Threatens Somalia Aid Effort Axe vs. Pirates: The Panic Button Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close Call Somali Piracy Puts Squeeze on Kenyans Mombasa Looks Like This E.U. Deploying Vessel against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Welcome to Mombasa No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  3. [...] Related: Pirate-fighting ship’s big problems Japan, South Korea team up to fight piratesbr> Establishing a Somali coast guard? Coast Guard’s tips for beating pirates U.S. Navy Coordinates Counter-Piracy Fleets Pirates Not Just the Stuff of Legends How Pirates Get Paid Axe vs. Pirates: Convoy! Axe vs. Pirates: “I Fear No One but God.” Chinese Seafarers Kick Pirate Ass Kenyan Navy Fires Rhetorical Broadside against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Everyday Kenyans Suffering Effects of Somali Piracy Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection Piracy Threatens Somalia Aid Effort Axe vs. Pirates: The Panic Button Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close Call Somali Piracy Puts Squeeze on Kenyans Mombasa Looks Like This E.U. Deploying Vessel against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Welcome to Mombasa No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  4. [...] Related: Skewz: On the Trail of Pirates C-SPAN: Somali Piracy Overview Kenyan navy sits out pirate fight Coasties and Marines join Navy pirate-fighters Inside the Navy’s prison ship Video: pirates hijack help World mobilizes to fight pirates Why robots can’t fight pirates Navy’s new “soft” pirate-fighters Pirate-fighting ship’s big problems Japan, South Korea team up to fight pirates Establishing a Somali coast guard? Coast Guard’s tips for beating pirates U.S. Navy Coordinates Counter-Piracy Fleets Pirates Not Just the Stuff of Legends How Pirates Get Paid Axe vs. Pirates: Convoy! Axe vs. Pirates: “I Fear No One but God.” Chinese Seafarers Kick Pirate Ass Kenyan Navy Fires Rhetorical Broadside against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Everyday Kenyans Suffering Effects of Somali Piracy Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection Piracy Threatens Somalia Aid Effort Axe vs. Pirates: The Panic Button Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close Call Somali Piracy Puts Squeeze on Kenyans Mombasa Looks Like This E.U. Deploying Vessel against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Welcome to Mombasa No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  5. [...] Related: Exclusive Video: How the Littoral Combat Ship Will Fight Pirates Offiziere.ch: Pirate Attacks Decline, but for How Long? Proceedings: Defeating Somali Pirates on Land Video: Kennedy Mwale’s Big (Pirate) Adventure Who Watches the (Pirate) Watchers? U.S. Navy Uses “Smart Power” to Fight Pirates Exclusive Video: MV Faina Released by Pirates Coast Guard: Prosecuting Pirates an “Excruciating Process” Skewz: On the Trail of Pirates C-SPAN: Somali Piracy Overview Kenyan navy sits out pirate fight Coasties and Marines join Navy pirate-fighters Inside the Navy’s prison ship Video: pirates hijack help World mobilizes to fight pirates Why robots can’t fight pirates Navy’s new “soft” pirate-fighters Pirate-fighting ship’s big problems Japan, South Korea team up to fight pirates Establishing a Somali coast guard? Coast Guard’s tips for beating pirates U.S. Navy Coordinates Counter-Piracy Fleets Pirates Not Just the Stuff of Legends How Pirates Get Paid Axe vs. Pirates: Convoy! Axe vs. Pirates: “I Fear No One but God.” Chinese Seafarers Kick Pirate Ass Kenyan Navy Fires Rhetorical Broadside against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Everyday Kenyans Suffering Effects of Somali Piracy Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection Piracy Threatens Somalia Aid Effort Axe vs. Pirates: The Panic Button Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close Call Somali Piracy Puts Squeeze on Kenyans Mombasa Looks Like This E.U. Deploying Vessel against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Welcome to Mombasa 2 Comments so far Leave a comment [...]

  6. [...] Related: Wired.co.uk: Beating Somali Pirates at Their Own Game Piracy War Escalates: Korean Seafarer Shot in Attack Video: How the Littoral Combat Ship Will Fight Pirates Offiziere.ch: Pirate Attacks Decline, but for How Long? Proceedings: Defeating Somali Pirates on Land Video: Kennedy Mwale’s Big (Pirate) Adventure Who Watches the (Pirate) Watchers? U.S. Navy Uses “Smart Power” to Fight Pirates Exclusive Video: MV Faina Released by Pirates Coast Guard: Prosecuting Pirates an “Excruciating Process” Skewz: On the Trail of Pirates C-SPAN: Somali Piracy Overview Kenyan navy sits out pirate fight Coasties and Marines join Navy pirate-fighters Inside the Navy’s prison ship Video: pirates hijack help World mobilizes to fight pirates Why robots can’t fight pirates Navy’s new “soft” pirate-fighters Pirate-fighting ship’s big problems Japan, South Korea team up to fight pirates Establishing a Somali coast guard? Coast Guard’s tips for beating pirates U.S. Navy Coordinates Counter-Piracy Fleets Pirates Not Just the Stuff of Legends How Pirates Get Paid Axe vs. Pirates: Convoy! Axe vs. Pirates: “I Fear No One but God.” Chinese Seafarers Kick Pirate Ass Kenyan Navy Fires Rhetorical Broadside against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Everyday Kenyans Suffering Effects of Somali Piracy Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection Piracy Threatens Somalia Aid Effort Axe vs. Pirates: The Panic Button Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close Call Somali Piracy Puts Squeeze on Kenyans Mombasa Looks Like This E.U. Deploying Vessel against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Welcome to Mombasa No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  7. [...] Related: Esquire.com: Five Pirated Crews who Didn’t Fare as Well as the Americans Pirates Seize Ship with U.S. Crew Wired.co.uk: Beating Somali Pirates at Their Own Game Piracy War Escalates: Korean Seafarer Shot in Attack Video: How the Littoral Combat Ship Will Fight Pirates Offiziere.ch: Pirate Attacks Decline, but for How Long? Proceedings: Defeating Somali Pirates on Land Video: Kennedy Mwale’s Big (Pirate) Adventure Who Watches the (Pirate) Watchers? U.S. Navy Uses “Smart Power” to Fight Pirates Exclusive Video: MV Faina Released by Pirates Coast Guard: Prosecuting Pirates an “Excruciating Process” Skewz: On the Trail of Pirates C-SPAN: Somali Piracy Overview Kenyan navy sits out pirate fight Coasties and Marines join Navy pirate-fighters Inside the Navy’s prison ship Video: pirates hijack help World mobilizes to fight pirates Why robots can’t fight pirates Navy’s new “soft” pirate-fighters Pirate-fighting ship’s big problems Japan, South Korea team up to fight pirates Establishing a Somali coast guard? Coast Guard’s tips for beating pirates U.S. Navy Coordinates Counter-Piracy Fleets Pirates Not Just the Stuff of Legends How Pirates Get Paid Axe vs. Pirates: Convoy! Axe vs. Pirates: “I Fear No One but God.” Chinese Seafarers Kick Pirate Ass Kenyan Navy Fires Rhetorical Broadside against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Everyday Kenyans Suffering Effects of Somali Piracy Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection Piracy Threatens Somalia Aid Effort Axe vs. Pirates: The Panic Button Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close Call Somali Piracy Puts Squeeze on Kenyans Mombasa Looks Like This E.U. Deploying Vessel against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Welcome to Mombasa No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  8. [...] Related: NATO General: Piracy Legal Challenge “Complex” Google, Radio Mix for Pirate Early Warning Pirates Smarter, More Dangerous, More Numerous South Park Goes Pirating Coast Guard’s Legal War on Pirates Mental Floss: Ten Things You Didn’t Know about Pirates Somali Pirates versus the Tuna Trade Esquire.com: Five Pirated Crews who Didn’t Fare as Well as the Americans Pirates Seize Ship with U.S. Crew Wired.co.uk: Beating Somali Pirates at Their Own Game Piracy War Escalates: Korean Seafarer Shot in Attack Video: How the Littoral Combat Ship Will Fight Pirates Offiziere.ch: Pirate Attacks Decline, but for How Long? Proceedings: Defeating Somali Pirates on Land Video: Kennedy Mwale’s Big (Pirate) Adventure Who Watches the (Pirate) Watchers? U.S. Navy Uses “Smart Power” to Fight Pirates Exclusive Video: MV Faina Released by Pirates Coast Guard: Prosecuting Pirates an “Excruciating Process” Skewz: On the Trail of Pirates C-SPAN: Somali Piracy Overview Kenyan navy sits out pirate fight Coasties and Marines join Navy pirate-fighters Inside the Navy’s prison ship Video: pirates hijack help World mobilizes to fight pirates Why robots can’t fight pirates Navy’s new “soft” pirate-fighters Pirate-fighting ship’s big problems Japan, South Korea team up to fight pirates Establishing a Somali coast guard? Coast Guard’s tips for beating pirates U.S. Navy Coordinates Counter-Piracy Fleets Pirates Not Just the Stuff of Legends How Pirates Get Paid Axe vs. Pirates: Convoy! Axe vs. Pirates: “I Fear No One but God.” Chinese Seafarers Kick Pirate Ass Kenyan Navy Fires Rhetorical Broadside against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Everyday Kenyans Suffering Effects of Somali Piracy Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection Piracy Threatens Somalia Aid Effort Axe vs. Pirates: The Panic Button Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close Call Somali Piracy Puts Squeeze on Kenyans Mombasa Looks Like This E.U. Deploying Vessel against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Welcome to Mombasa 1 Comment so far Leave a comment [...]

  9. [...] What Reuters doesn’t mention is Mwangura’s reputation in the East African maritime community. During my stay in Mombasa in December, one former co-worker accused Mwangura of believing himself “like Jesus” — in other words, the only man who can save the world from Somali pirates. Others said Mwangura demands payments for news tips: a big no-no in professional journalism. Perhaps most alarmingly, some raised questions about Mwangura’s sources. Considering Mwangura’s apparent inside access, it could be that he employs some of the same people that pirates pay to provide key intel on ship movements. [...]

  10. [...] Strippenzieher hinter den somalischen Piraten befinden sich oft in Kenia: David Axe, “Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection“, War is Boring, [...]

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