Preventing Piracy: The U.S. Response to Piracy

A Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Team and Navy personnel assigned to the visit, board, search and seizure team, both assigned to guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, conduct a pre-counterpiracy operations brief. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

A Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Team and Navy personnel assigned to the visit, board, search and seizure team, both assigned to guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, conduct a pre-counterpiracy operations brief. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Today, Rear Adm. Kevin Cook, director of Prevention Policy, testified before the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation to discuss maritime piracy and the Coast Guard’s role in addressing this threat to freedom of the seas, to the safety of shipping and the global supply chain, and most importantly to the safety of mariners.

Rear Adm. Kevin Cook, director of Prevention Policy. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Rear Adm. Kevin Cook, director of Prevention Policy. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

During his oral testimony, Rear Adm. Cook stated that “the responsibility of combating maritime piracy is a shared one. That responsibility is equally shared among vessel owners and operators, Flag states, and the international community”.

He assured the Committee that the Coast Guard is committed to fulfilling its statutory and regulatory responsibilities for the safety and security of U.S. merchant vessels and crews. And, that the Coast Guard will remain engaged with the maritime industry in the implementation of counter-piracy measures identified in the Coast Guard’s Maritime Security (MARSEC) Directive, as well as with the international community through the Coast Guard’s role in the International Maritime Organization and the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.

Click here to read Rear Adm. Cook’s written testimony.

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8 Responses

  1. Christopher Lagan says:

    Readers,

    Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced that five men from Somalia were sentenced to life followed by a consecutive 80 years in prison for engaging in piracy and related offenses in their attack on the USS Nicholas.

    To read more, visit:

    Respectfully,
    Christopher Lagan
    United States Coast Guard
    Public Affairs

  2. J Nicoll says:

    Merchant Marine vessels are for the most part unarmed – how can they COMBAT piracy? It it the duty of naval forces to ensure the freedom of the seas. It was because of piracy that the United States Navy came into being. What has changed?

  3. Az says:

    Most merchant vessels hire security teams.
    What has changed since the days of Blackbeard?
    The number of merchant vessels on the high seas, the demand for imported/exported goods globally, the USN’s involvement with the war on terror and the war on drugs, despite a declining budget.
    The technology of the current pirates (faster boats, bigger guns)

  4. Subdude says:

    This seems to be more an act of war than simple piracy.

  5. Guest says:

    @ J Nicoll, I don’t think that the Admiral was suggesting that Merchant Marine vessels combat piracy on their own….he was stating that the United States Coast Guard is committed to their safety and security. The Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Team works WITH the Navy to try to combat piracy in that area. These are highly trained “special forces” teams that put themselves in harms way by choice. This problem is enormous and there is huge area to TRY to cover….my take on this is that the Admiral was suggesting the all vessels traveling in the area be vigilant and aware of their surroundings and notify the proper authorities if they think a ship is suspicious. Currently there are over 800 hostages on over 100 vessels under the control of the pirates….to get an idea of what they are up against, please copy and paste the link below….it’s a real time map for piracy in that area, the area is enormous and these guys serving have a daunting task ahead of them. You should be posting support for the troops who will be boarding these pirated vessels and pirate ships.

  6. Christine Lebosada says:

    ThanX a Lot!!.. For Your GreAt Service!…& God Bless Each One Of You!…

  7. Lt. Connie Braesch says:

    J Nicolle, the responsibility of combating piracy is a shared one.

    The U.S. Coast Guard provides guidance on how U.S. vessels can protect themselves with private armed or unarmed security teams. Port Security Advisories are issued including vessel specific risk assessments, which can be found at homeport.uscg.mil/piracy.

    The U.S. Navy is part of a multinational force called Combined Task Force (CTF) 151. Established in January 2009, CTF 151 conducts counterpiracy operations throughout the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) area of responsibility to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations. CTF 151 has been commanded by the U.S. Navy, the Korean Navy and the Turkish Navy.

    Regards,
    Lt. Connie Braesch
    Coast Guard Public Affairs

  8. Trojanny says:

    Remember the German ‘merchant’ ships, I believe in WWII, that would suddenly drop their sides when Allied Forces got close, and start blasting w/ the newly exposed heavy artillery? I wonder about a modern-day adaptation? (Do they have they mostly target? Leak work that a large such vessel is coming through a prime spot for pirates…….). Just an idea !!!