Posts tagged ‘Horn of Africa’
Two U.S. Air Force pararescuemen — assigned to the 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron — battle the elements to rush a simulated ” victim” to a Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter during Mass Casualty Exercise 12-1, which started in the Grand Bara Desert of Djibouti in September.
The exercise called for the employment of real-world assets. While French and U.S. forces conduct frequent combined training events, this was the first exercise of this type between the two nations in Djibouti. The U.S. forces involved are assigned to Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, or CJTF-HOA. CJTF-HOA which works with coalition partners, such as the French, and with countries in East Africa to promote regional security and stability. To enlarge the photo, just click on the image.
Nigerian Pirates Extending Range
Piracy is on the rise in the waters off west Africa – especially in an around Nigeria – according to statistics from the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Global Piracy Report.
While the number of incidents and ships seized by pirates is down for the 1st Quarter of 2012, compared to the first three months of 2011, the threat of Somali pirates operating in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden remains high, with attacks off Nigeria, Benin and other West African countries increasing, said the Kuala Lampur-based IMB.
Worldwide, there were 102 incidents of piracy or armed robbery at sea during January to March 2012, compared to 142 incidents for the same period last year. In 2012, 11 vessels were reported hijacked worldwide, with 212 crew members taken hostage and four slain. Additionally, 45 vessels were boarded with 32 attempted attacks and 14 vessels fired upon. Five locations were responsible for 70 percent of the 102 incidents: There were 28 incidents near Somalia, 18 near Indonesia, 10 in the waters near Nigeria, 8 in the Gulf of Aden and 7 in the Red Sea.
Nigerian piracy has been “increasing in incidence and extending in range,” says Pottengal Mukundan, director of the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre. The number of reported incidents is twice what it was for the same period last year. At least six of the Nigerian incidents occurred more than 70 nautical miles from the coast “which suggests that fishing vessels are being used as mother ships to attack shipping further afield,” Mukundan said.
But Somalia continues to dominate with 43 attacks including the hijacking of nine vessels and 144 crew members taken hostage. That’s down from 97 incidents and 16 hijackings in the 1st Quarter of 2011. The IMB report suggests actions by numerous navies off the Horn of Africa are responsible for the drop in incidents.
However “it is unlikely that the threat of Somali piracy will diminish in the short to medium term, unless further actions are taken,” the report concluded.
Here is a link to the IMB’s Live Piracy Incident Map.
“I Was Misinformed”
U.S. Navy Lt. Scott Pennoyer, (right), reads Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoff Shepelew the oath of enlistment. As you’ve probably noticed, there’s something different about this photo since both men are underwater. They are both assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 2, Navy explosives experts who are also trained divers and parachutists.
It was Sheplew’s choice to re-enlist beneath the surface of the Gulf of Tadjourna. The Defense Department has presented similar photos in the past.
But what caught our eye is the location: off the coast of Moucha Island, Djibouti. Normally the photos that come out of Djibouti, home to Camp Lemonier the only U.S. base in Africa, look more like this …
The juxtaposition reminds us of the line in the iconic 1942 Humphrey Bogart film Casablanca, when Bogey’s character tells the local police chief he came to Casablanca for the waters.
“The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert!” the policeman blurts out.
“I was misinformed,” Bogey deadpans.
Guess we were misinformed about Djibouti. There’s more to it than desert.
By the Way, 2012 marks the 70th anniversary of the release of Casblanca, which won the Best Picture Academy Award in 1943.
Over the Waves
Reconnaissance Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) conduct insertion exercises from a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter. The Marines, carrying diving fins, plunged into the waters of the Arabian Sea after 15-foot motorized rubber raiding craft were launched out the back of two very low-flying helicopters.
The photographer, Navy Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Alan Gragg, told the Marine Corps flickr page that because this helo was so close to the waters’ surface (about 5 feet) he had to underexpose the shot to see through the cloud of spray. (Click here to see another photo illustrating his point).
The 11th MEU is deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD-8) as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group. The group, part of U.S. Central Command, is supporting maritime security operations and security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility (AOR) in the waters of the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.