I mostly focus on Somali piracy since that’s where all of my experience lies, but the tactics being honed by Somali pirates are starting to migrate to West Africa, which has a burgeoning piracy epidemic of their own:
West African pirates are now using motherships to stage attacks, according to an article published by Tradewindsciting a report from Bergen Risk Solutions, a risk analysis and mitigation firm specializing in oil and gas and shipping companies operating in West Africa.
According to the report, at least four staging vessels, or motherships, were used to aid attacks on ships and oil rigs in the first quarter of 2012 off the coast of Nigeria.
As the article goes on to note, most of the West coast piracy is of the “snatch and grab” variety – more of an armed robbery at sea than a kidnap-and-ransom plot. I will be curious to see exactly how far this develops for the West African gangs, and what other tactics they might borrow from their more experienced counterparts in the East Africa.