Two South African Maritime Rescue Boats In Action Recently
If there is any date in the year calendar that will be remembered by the entire universe in the past decade and years to come, it will be September 9th, 2001 tagged the 9/11. On that day, the whole world stood still gasping for breath. In the jungles of Africa, Asia and South America and in the developed nations of the world, the emotional impact of the bombing of the twin towers of World Trade Centre in New York and Pentagon in Washington, all in United States of America using commercial aviation planes were greatly felt.
These unexpected attacks brought a new dimension to security issues in Aviation industry and later the maritime industry.
The word “terrorism” became an household name in all parts of the world. The acceptable fact is that if a commercial plane can be used for such atrocity, then the ships and ports will be vulnerable to such attack.
Let’s look into the word Terrorism:
Terrorism can be referred to as disgruntle human element trying to proof their points across the world by carrying out sabotage activities that will attract the world attentions through media publicity. Breaking News in the media are always of disasters ranging for several hurricane winds causing lost of lives properties, to landslide, flooding, bombing explosion, and any act of terrorism. This is to the good publicity for terrorist group.
Who are Terrorists?
In the struggle for freedom of our fatherland from apartheid regimes and Colonial Masters, our great states men in Africa such as Jumo Keyyata of Kenya, Nelson Mandela, Tabo Nbeke, Olive Tambo and many more in South Africa, Namibia, Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo of the then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Kwame Nkuruma of then Gold Coast (now Ghana), Chief Obafemi Awolowo of Nigeria and many more were tagged as Terrorist by the western world and were later charged for treason and some imprisoned. They fought wars, bombed places, carried out acts of sabotage activities which attracted world media. They received sympathy from friendly nations in Africa and other parts of the world. Their gains as “terrorist” is now our freedom today in Africa. Are they actually terrorists as they were called then? No, they were the African Freedom Fighters.
Another brand of terrorism is where a group of people due to their personal believe for their personal goods focused on destruction of selected targets to express their hatred or try to enforce their ideology to the world.
There are no international agreed definitions of the terms “terrorism” and terrorist” even though modern terrorism has been around for almost hundred (100) years.
Maritime terrorism, however, while not as old, is still not a new phenomenon, dating at least as far back as the seizure of the Portuguese passenger ship Santa Maria in 1996, and except for the fact that it occurs, by definition, in the maritime environment, differs little from terrorism ashore. Most, but by no means all, nations concede that terrorism generally consist of an illegal act committed with some connection to a political purpose.
One definition of terrorism is: “politically motivated violence – including assassination, kidnapping, hostage-taking, theft, sabotage, extortion, and intimidation – conducted against government, civilian, or private sector targets by sub-national groups or state agent not constrained by the rules of the law.”
The United Kingdom’s Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1976 defined terrorism as the “use of violence for political ends including violence for the purpose of putting the public or any section of the public in fear.”
The United States Department of State has defined terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups clandestine state agents.” The difficulty with this definition is determining what at or acts are “for political ends” or are “politically motivated.”
If one focuses on the nature of the act itself, and not the motivation, it is far easier to define maritime terrorism.
“Terrorism is sometime effective in gaining specific concessions from target nations. It is used to attract worldwide publicity, support revolutions, create anarchy, and provide reprisal. It is capable of demoralizing whole societies; oppressive regimes employ it to enforce public obedience. Global terrorism promises to alter world politic in the future. Terrorist groups… will ally themselves in the international struggles; new weapons and new technologies will increase the vulnerability of their target; radical governments will employ terrorists to wage surrogate warfare. In any event, terrorism threatens to irreversibly alter traditional theories of national security, military strategy, and perhaps even the concept of government itself.”
Lloyd W. Garrison, Global Terrorism, 1986
Most forms of terrorism are founded in a national culture or subculture. Terrorist group motivations are derived from revolutionary political ideology, ethnicity, religion or some combination of these. As a general rule, the threat from terrorism increases in direct proportion to the amount of aid any particular group receives. Few terrorist groups remain completely autonomous, reject any form of external aid, and are self sustaining. Most are willing to accept support from a variety of international and national sources, and a worldwide financial, training, and supply network has developed over the last fifty years or so for the purposes of providing that support. Because this network is funded by both private organizations as well as individual nations, the line between State-sponsored and non State-sponsored terrorism is not always readily apparent.
No matter where the terrorists operate, their targets remain essentially the same and can be grouped into five basic categories. They are:
Engineering and energy systems (hydroelectric plants, offshore oil rigs, nuclear facilities, gas and oil pipelines, dams and electric power lines).
Communications and supply systems (communications facilities, chemical storage sites, dock facilities, petroleum storage facilities, factories, equipment warehouses, computer facilities, weapons storage sites)
Transportation systems (seaports, rail systems, bus depots, airports and aircraft, trucking facilities, shipyards) Human targets (embassy and government officials, corporate executives, police, judges, schools and school buses, any large congregations such as on passenger ships)
Military targets (sensitive weapons and weapons systems, arms and ammunition, command and control facilities) passenger vessel.
The passenger vessel Achille Lauro is probably history’s most famous hijacking, despite its apparent accidental nature and subsequent failure as a maritime terrorist precedent. The ship was seized at sea off the Egyptian coast by four Palestinian passengers who were accidentally discovered in their cabin by a steward while they were cleaning their weapons. The four were reportedly using the ship to gain entry into the Israeli port of Ashdod, where they planned to attack a nebulously-defined variety of targets in the port area, and possibly take hostages back to the ship. Most of the 750 passengers had gone ashore to tour Egyptian sites, leaving about 150 on board along with the crew of over 300. The hijackers were forced to act as a result of their discovery, and mustered the remaining passengers in the ship’s dining room where they could be more easily watched. They were later moved to the forward lounge. The crew was left unsupervised. One hijacker each maintained control over the passengers, the bridge, radio room, and engine control room.
As soon as the hijackers gained control of the ship, they ordered her to sail north toward Syria, where they hoped to pick up reinforcements. The Syrian Government, however, refused to allow the ship to enter Syrian waters, and the ship then sailed to the coast of Cyprus. Cyprus also refused the vessel entry, and by the third day it returned to Egypt where the hijackers surrendered to Egyptian authorities. At this point, it was learned that one of the passengers, an elderly American, had been murdered and his body dumped at sea. This was an attempt to influence Syria, which the hijackers still hope would allow them into port.
Subsequent investigation established that the hijackers had previously booked passage aboard the ship to test the security at Ashdod. They probably also used the opportunity to gain information about the ship’s layout and crew operations. They demonstrated knowledge of both, in the way the passengers and crew were handled. They also apparently realized from the time they were discovered by the steward that they could not effectively control the ship over a long period of time; all their actions were aimed at using the ship for escape or to obtain reinforcements.
The first attack on merchant navy ship offer the 9/11 is that of the French Tanker SS Limburg which was rammed by a little boat carrying explosive. One Bulgarian sailor died and there was extensive oil pollution. The incident happened of Yemen coast.