Tell me if I'm missing something, but this seems like an overly obvious solution to the Somali pirate attacks.
From various sources I've heard, there are somewhere on the order of 50-100 military ships patrolling international waters off Somalia
Rather than trying to patrol a bazillion square miles of open water
for randomly roaming pirates attacking randomly roaming yachts and cargo ships, why not take the approach the problem in a similar way to the World War 2 defense against u-boat attacks, which was to arrange large heavily protected convoys.
If just half of those 50-100 boats were to work together to build even a weekly convoy north-south along the coast, up through the straights, I can only imagine that they would get dozens of ships waiting at port for a week for the military convoy. The advantages are so obvious to me - the military staff have a predictable outlay of resources, they reduce the area needed to patrol by a factor of about a billion, it forms natural convoys of private and commercial
ships and it is standard practice that military convoys can defend themselves from vessels so much as approaching, let alone having to worry about engaging the pirates after they've already taken hostages.
Imagine the deterrent effect if a weekly convoy was run up the coast with a dozen yachts, a dozen commercial
ships and two or three military destroyers with orders to fire on any ship that approaches the convoy without identifying itself (perhaps a few warning shots first?).
If I were traveling the area, I would wait a month for a military convoy (if they only ran monthly). Given the cost to commercial shipping
, they might even be willing to help fund it at this point (rather than lose a few more supertankers full of cargo).
Other than the obvious issue of varying speed (sail boats being the slow link in the chain), are there issues with this idea? Why do you think it hasn't been discussed?
I have seen such an operation on land. My uncle visited Ethiopia a number of years ago during local conflicts and the military was running road convoys once a day to outlying villages along roads that were subject to frequent attacks from small gangs of insurgents trying to hijack vehicles. It's amazing the deterrent effect a tank and a few 20mm machine guns
mounted on trucks can have on simple tribal mugging gangs.