Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Real Life Off the Horn of Africa

This movie is seven minutes long and some of it is slow. But the endings justify the meanwhiles.

Somali pirates seized a Russian oil tanker and took its crew hostage. Russian commandos have retaken the ship and captured the pirates. This film is shot by the commandos aboard the retaken ship. At the end the Russians have transferred the pirates from the tanker back to their pirate ship.

Except for a brief exchange in English, the dialogue is in Russian.

Concerned Citizen, a Russian speaker, writes:
The communications one can overhear on the Russian commando video are all of a routine nature. there are at least two teams of commandos (perhaps the boarding party divided the target between the pilot house and the crew compartment. The two teams can be heard using tactical call-signs describing their positions in the pirate vessel. One of the commandos can also be heard communicating in VHF with the commander of the Russian Destroyer.

The commando team is passing weapon type and count information back to the Russian surface vessel. The commandos appear casually interested in the large number of automatic weapons being secured. While searching for weapons, the commandos are very concerned that they secure any RPGs. One interesting and important phrase: the one of the commandos reports to the Russian vessel that the automatic weapons, while all of Soviet design, are not of Russian manufacture and this leaves the question of provenance open. The next section of video concerns securing the prisoners. They are ordered to take off their outer shirts. There is a count of injured and non-injured prisoners passed on to the surface vessel.

I do not believe the pirates were placed back on their own vessel. It appears that charges were set by the commandos and the vessel was destroyed. There is a great deal of self-congratulating going on as the pirate vessel burns as well as a discussion of how long the vessel will burn. One commando remarks that it depends on the amount of fuel in the vessel. Again, aside from the remarks concerning the non-Russian manufacture of the weapons, the communication appears routine. I would add that there is a great deal more chatter going on than I would expect from an equivalent U.S. unit.

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