14 April 2009


Shiver me timbers, indeed!

Pirates have attacked 78 ships this year, hijacking 19 of them, and about 17 ships with more than 300 crew still remain in pirates' hands, according to Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.

Each boat carries the potential of a million-dollar ransom.

WTF? How does this happen? How do little boats of pirates hijack ships much larger than themselves and which carry substantially more people aboard? I think it probably has something to do with the pirates being armed and the hijacked ships NOT being armed. It's an oversimplification to say that allowing ships and crews to defend themselves with firepower would sufficiently deter pirate attacks, but it might be a start.

Though the thought might be a tad far-fetched, I don't think it's *completely* unfounded to say that I hope we don't find ourselves engaged in another sort of war abroad (or aboard, as it were) Overseas Contingency Operation, not with our military already stretched as thin as it is. And while I am fairly certain that B.H.O. would not be the one to throw down his glove, I can't say the same for the pirates or the French for that matter...but maybe their bark is worse than their bite.

In the meantime? Thank Goodness for the Navy SEALS!

Check out this AFP article. Excerpt below:
[Defense Secretary Robert M.] Gates, emphasizing the limitations of a purely military approach, said some have suggested bypassing the central government of Somalia and instead establishing relationships with officials of functioning local governments there.

“There is no purely military solution to it,” he said. “And as long as you’ve got this incredible number of poor people and the risks are relatively small, there’s really no way in my view to control it unless you get something on land that begins to change the equation for these kids.”

Gates noted the four pirates involved in kidnapping the Maersk-Alabama captain were 17 to 19 years old, and he cited the dangerous combination of untrained youth and arms.

“Untrained teenagers with heavy weapons,” he told the group of 30 students and faculty members at the Marine Corps War College. “Everybody in the room knows the consequences of that.”

Gates underscored that the piracy issue will likely be an important agenda item in coming weeks.

“All I can tell you is I am confident we will be spending a lot of time in the situation room over the next few weeks trying to figure out what in the world to do about this problem,” he said.

Perhaps I was mistaken on the glove. Maybe it won't be thrown down, but I have a feeling the gloves are at least coming off . . .


Buck said...

I was semi-amazed at the press coverage on this lil event, all the focus put on The One for having the audacity to authorize deadly force. We seem to be living in an alternate universe of sorts... of late.

As for me? I think about a dozen Q-ships might be part of the answer...

Mezzo SF said...

hmmm Q-ships. Perhaps!