Counter-piracy escort operations in the Gulf of Aden
Lucas, Thomas W.
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Increased pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden (GOA) has gotten the attention of the international community, and many countries are engaged in counter-piracy operations to protect vulnerable shipping and provide humanitarian aid. In February 2009, the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) was established in order to introduce safer and more organized passage for all merchant vessels transiting the GOA. This thesis uses simulation to identify the key factors involved in escorting vulnerable shipping through the Gulf of Aden (GOA). Specifically, a scenario in which a group of merchant ships travels under escort of a warship is modeled using an agent-based simulation environment. Using state-of-the-art experimental designs, over 300,000 counter-piracy escort missions are simulated and analyzed. The results indicate that convoys are most successful when they contain fewer than 14 merchant ships, travel at speeds greater than 18 knots, position the warship in front or on the flank of the convoy, and identify pirates at a range of no less than 4 kilometers. It is found that three or more pirate vessels are especially difficult to counter, as are pirates travelling at speeds greater than 39 knots.
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