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Navy Seals Special Forces versus Pirates by Mark Yates The British American Security Expert

I have spent many years in the company of, and training of Special Forces around the globe. One of the best benefits is that I receive frequent intelligence updates from serving Special Forces personnel who are deployed in various global theatres of conflict.

I’ve written several articles recently about maritime piracy and the subsequent kidnap for ransom of maritime employees. Therefore it came as no great surprise that as soon as a gang of Somalian pirates decided to hi-jack the Maersk Alabama so quickly into the presidential rein of Barrack Obama, it was only a matter of time before Special Forces were deployed to teach the pirates a lesson in good manners.

Now it’s safe to say these pirates were not exactly Mensa candidates, a fact which repeatedly played out until the final outcome of this kidnapping.

As way of a brief synopsis of the case, An American cargo ship was hijacked by pirates. The Alabama’s 21 man crew fought off the pirates but the Captain was taken hostage after offering himself up to save his crew from further harm Four armed men then surrounded Captain Richard Philips. The Captain leapt into the Indian Ocean approximately 300 miles off the coast of Somalia, but despite a struggle the pirates hauled him back aboard a lifeboat. The pirates demanded a $2 million ransom for the Captain’s release and issued warnings that they would kill him if they were attacked or if the ransom was not paid.

This is when thinks started to get hokey. Other pirates in the area were reported to be heading towards these pirates in a hijacked German vessel. Apparently they believed the Americans would not attack if another foreign vessel was close by. Other pirates released a Norwegian tanker and it’s 27 crew after receiving a $2.4 million ransom.

And so at the Presidents nod it was ‘game on’ the Navy Seals Special Forces versus Pirates. The Navy Seals entered the arena as the USS Bainbridge shadowed the pirates.

Unbeknown to the pirates a Navy Seal team transferred from the USS Boxer to the Bainbridge. The pirates became concerned their boat was getting too close to shore and asked to be pulled out further to sea. The USS Bainbridge kindly obliged with a cable which was attached by Navy divers under cover of darkness without the Pirates knowledge. At daybreak one of the pirates aged 16 asked to negotiate whereupon he was invited aboard and allowed by the commander of the Bainbridge to call his family by cell phone.

Amid all this nicety the Navy Seals had taken up tactical positions and informed the commander they had a good opportunity to shoot the remaining pirates as they were poking their heads out of openings to get fresh air.

This all played out as the young pirate was engaged in conversation with the tactical management team. The commander gave the order to shoot to kill. The seals fired three shots killing the pirates and thus saving Captain Phillips. The young pirate was by now enjoying meal compliments of the US government and had no idea how things were playing out.

This was his rude introduction to the phrase live by the sword-die by the sword. The only way to reduce the number of pirate attacks on maritime vessels is to ensure armed personnel accompany each vessel and that every crew member is trained in counter piracy tactics.

I have spent a great number of years providing close protection and asset protection for lots of corporate clients. During my career I have also provide maritime vessel and crew security in various countries. Maritime security and anti piracy operations cannot be conducted by security operatives trained in conventional close protection skills. Maritime security is a completely different arena and specialised security training should be undertaken before stepping into this arena.

It is my opinion that rules of engagement need to be re-written. Given that access control is the foundation stone of all security operations to reduce the risk, all small vessels approaching larger military or civilian cargo or passenger ships in waters dominated by Pirates should be fired upon to deter pirates.

Mark Yates a security consultant from offers his final perspective. Navy Seals Special Forces versus Pirates- no contest. However Somalian pirates are not rational human beings they have this ridiculous sense of having kicked the rear end of America during the war against them made famous by the Black Hawk Down movie.

Given that American Navy Seals Special Forces and French Special Forces responded to piracy with deadly force recently, the pirates might decide to focus in on softer targets. Alternatively they might escalate their levels of violence as a show of force to deter others from attacking them and forcing the payment of ransom. Either way we have not seen the last of Somalian pirates.

As I write this article my intelligence sources indicate the Somalia Pirates have taken the offensive and have begun firing rocket propelled grenades and full automatic weapons at another US cargo ship The Liberty Sun in a failed hijack attempt.

Pirates have also seized four other ships capturing 60 hostages since the Navy Seals Special Forces killed the three pirates described in this article. Apparently Somalian pirates are targeting more ships and hostages for ransom to demonstrate they are far from intimidated by President Obama’s pledge to confront the pirates.

Mark Yates is recognised globally as the British American security expert after providing his security expertise to government security, intelligence, law enforcement and security agencies in 41 countries. 5 major TV documentaries have been broadcast and hundreds of press articles published about his extremely high risk security operations. Contact him at

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