After hitting the headlines last year, successful pirate attacks have been on the wane in the early months of 2009, despite a failed attack on a British cruise ship earlier this month. Experts disagree about what has led to the reduction, with some suggesting that bad weather had played its part, but Rear Adm. Terry McKnight of the U.S. Navy attributes the “dramatic” reduction in the number of attacks to the deployment of a British warship, the Royal Navy frigate HMS Northumberland, and the coordinated task force of which she is part.
To wage today’s battles against pirates who took control of 42 ships and captured 815 sailors last year, the Royal Navy is combining machines and methods forged during the Cold War with centuries-old naval warfare skills. The Royal Navy is also hitting back at pirates by using some of the pirates’ own tricks.
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