Somali Pirates VS Ship’s Private Security Guards

A team member of a private security team aboard the MV Avocet points his weapon at an incoming pirate skiff in the Arabian Sea, likely sometime in 2011.

We have come a long way since the height of Somali piracy when highly organized pirate gangs roamed the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean in search of merchant ships to hijack for multi-million dollar ransoms.

During the most active years, from 2008 to 2012, armed pirates were attacking hundreds of ships per year, successfully pirating more than 130 vessels and taking their crews hostage – some of whom were held captive for years in the most abominable conditions imaginable. Fortunately, a combination of international naval presence in the region and private armed security teams contracted by the ship owners was successful in suppressing the scourge of piracy in Horn of Africa region. And while a spate of recent incidents bearing the characteristics of Somali piracy during its peak have been a cause for alarm, Somali piracy is far from the point it was at over a half-decade ago.

So when a video posted last week by a supposedly pro-seafarer page showing a shipboard security team opening fire on an incoming pirate skiff went viral, we thought it was necessary to provide some context and/or details – since absolutely none was given.

The video in question is titled “Somali Pirates VS Ship’s Private Security Guards” and since it was posted last Thursday it has racked up over 12 million views, easily reaching YouTube’s top trending list. It has also prompted some publishers to re-post as if this just happened. The problem is, the video is now more five years old.

Video Details

The video in question was originally posted online by an unidentified source in April 2012. Details of the video were not immediately clear in the original posting on LiveLeak, but in May 2012 Bloomberg was able to track down the video’s origin and shed some light on the incident after it sparked a debate about the guards’ use of of force, which many at the time called excessive.

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