- Category: News Aggregator
02 Aug 2012
- Written by Shiptalk
It has been an extremely and unusually quiet month on the piracy front, as the Monsoon has hit the HRA hard. But does the weather fully explain the piracy downturn – or is there something more sinister going on?
Notwithstanding the weather window, why is the GoA and Indian Ocean so quiet? Amongst the theories being bandied around is a suggestion that the Somali pirates have adopted a new battle technique, the “Fabian strategy”. Some believe they may be employing the strategy where assaults are avoided in favour of wearing down an opponent through a war of attrition or indirection.
This strategy derives its name from Fabius Maximus, the dictator of the Roman Republic given the task of defeating the great Carthaginian general Hannibal in southern Italy (218–202 BC). Hannibal (he of the elephants over the Alps fame) had wrought devastation on those who took to the field against him – and so Fabius knew that by avoiding him, he could buy time, exploiting Hannibal’s strategic vulnerabilities.
By withdrawing from the field, some believe the pirates are simply waiting it out until the navies are recalled, and the shipowners stop using armed guards. The strategic weakness of the navy and private security is cost – if the pirate “enemy” appears to have vanished, then who is going to keep paying? With time on their side, it could just be that the pirates are biding their time, and we could see a new rise in activity as soon as the conditions allow.
This would of course hint at a level of centralised command and control which has never been thought to exist – but with the navies massed off their coastline, and with armed guards protecting increasing numbers of vessels perhaps the elders have all had the bright idea at the same time?
Time will tell…for the record Fabius failed because the Romans loved fighting too much, will the Somali love of piracy be their undoing too?