Academic journal article Military Review

Pirate Alley: Commanding Task Force 151 off Somalia

Academic journal article Military Review

Pirate Alley: Commanding Task Force 151 off Somalia

Article excerpt

PIRATE ALLEY: Commanding Task Force 151 Off Somalia

Rear Adm. Terry McKnight, U.S. Navy, Retired, and Michael Hirsh, Naval Institute Press, Maryland, 2012, 272 pages, $29.95

Pirate Alley: Commanding Task Force 151 off Somalia provides a good look inside the piracy occurring off the coast of Somalia. It is co-authored by retired Rear Adm. Terry McKnight, former commanding officer of Anti-Piracy Combined Task Force 151, which operates in the Gulf of Aden area. To the average reader the problem of piracy appears to be one of numbers-not having enough naval vessels to guard the passage of ships as they transit through the shipping lanes along the coast of Somalia.

McKnight explains in extraordinary detail the multitude of problems associated with patrolling this area. From the sheer size of the area (2.6 million square miles), to the endless legal issues (such as who has jurisdiction over captured Somalia pirates operating a hijacked boat from Yemen that attacked a Panamanian flagged shipped crewed by Filipinos that set sail from Dubai going to Kenya carrying food for a UN food program), when Somalia does not have laws against piracy or a functioning government.

McKnight describes the nature and character of the so-called pirates not as fisherman at all, but rather as front-line (non-swimming) soldiers from inland areas of organized crime looking to make fast money in order to leave Somalia. …

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