Archived posts from category ‘Axe vs. Pirates’

World Politics Review: Kenya Strikes Legal Blow against Piracy

Kenya won a quiet but significant victory over Somali pirates (pictured) that have waged a devastating campaign against its maritime economy when a judge at the Mombasa federal court formally charged eight Somali pirates with felonies under Kenyan law on Dec. 11. The eight men were captured by the British Royal Navy in November while [...]

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World Politics Review: Somalia Fighting Threatens Food Deliveries

In November, the port of Merka in southern Somalia, previously held by the U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) alliance, was captured without a fight by soldiers of the rival Islamic Courts Union (ICU). In the aftermath of Merka’s fall, the U.N. worried that the ICU might halt aid shipments to the starving country. Those fears [...]


Axe vs. Pirates: Leg One Complete

After three weeks talking to victims of Somali piracy, I’m done in Mombasa, Kenya. Next phase of “Axe vs. Pirates” commences in a couple months, when I head out to West Africa to observe U.S. Navy maritime security training. Phase three, an embark with U.S. forces in the Gulf of Aden, is still pending, but [...]

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Axe vs. Pirates: Convoy!

Two Sundays ago the new European Union naval force deployed to East African waters escorted its first food ship to Somalia from this sweltering port town. The two-day dash by the MV Semlow and the HMS Northumberland marked the beginning of a planned yearlong U.N.-E.U. effort to feed as many as 4 million Somalis. That’s [...]


Axe vs. Pirates: “I Fear No One but God”

Captain Tariq Farooqi, 51, pictured, stands on the bridge of the MV Onega I, overseeing the loading of 7,000 tons of food and cooking oil into her cavernous hold. It’s a hot day in Mombasa, as cargo handlers and Onega’s 22-man crew prepare the vessel for her Tuesday run from here to Mogadishu, delivering her [...]


Chinese Seafarers Kick Pirate Ass

The Chinese Navy has decided to send warships to help combat piracy off the Somali coast. Chinese fishing vessels and freighters have been hard hit by this year’s spike in piracy. The Chinese deployment, which the U.S. welcomes as a chance to increase cooperation with Beijing, will take weeks to organize and travel the distance [...]


World Politics Review: Kenyan Navy Fires Rhetorical Broadside against Pirates

The top Kenyan army officer staged a dramatic press conference in this port town on Monday, intending to strike fear in the hearts of Somali pirates that have waged an escalating war on shipping in African waters. “Any attempt to commit any act of piracy within Kenya will be resisted very strongly,” Gen. Jeremiah Kianga, [...]


Axe vs. Pirates: Everyday Kenyans Suffering Effects of Somali Piracy

When the giant cruise ships pull into Mombasa’s harbor and disgorge hundreds of Western tourists, souvenir vendors are there on the pier to greet them. The vendors’ curios — carvings of animals and wooden utensils — sell for $10 or more in a city where many workers earn just a few dollars per day. John [...]


Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection

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 [...]


Inter Press Service: Piracy Threatens Somalia Aid Effort

MOMBASA, Dec 17 (IPS) – Pirate attacks in East African waters this year have disrupted the delivery of much-needed food aid to Somalia. With millions of lives at stake, U.N. World Food Program officials said the commencement last week of a European Union naval escort mission should help guarantee regular food shipments in the early [...]


Axe vs. Pirates: The Panic Button

The ships that make the two-day run from Mombasa, Kenya, to Somalia carrying vital humanitarian supplies are frequent targets of pirate attacks — and have been for more than a decade. How have ship’s crew adapted? Same way the pirates have adapted over the years: with simple technology and no-nonsense tactics. On Wednesday, the small [...]


Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close-Call

Kennedy Mwale, 32, pictured, is a freelance tour guide in Mombasa’s old port, a claustrophobic melange of Arab and Portuguese architecture with one small stone pier. A week ago Monday, three small cargo ships were tied to the pier. Scores of shirtless stevedores lugged bags of cement and tossed them into the ships’ holds. The [...]