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Blogwatch

April 8, 2009
After Somali pirates seize U.S. ship, crew regains control

Pirates in the waters off the coast of Somalia seized an American-flagged ship and took American hostages on Wednesday. Twenty American crew members on the cargo ship were held for several hours by four Somali pirates, later regaining their freedom. But late Wednesday, the ship’s captain reportedly was still being held hostage in a lifeboat. 

The ship was headed for Kenya with a cargo of food and relief supplies. The high seas drama is part of the ongoing battle to beat back a growing resurgence of Somali pirate attacks.

Barry Parker, a writer and a maritime consultant on shipping, joins Daljit Dhaliwal to discuss piracy, an enormous and expensive international threat.

Blogger Derek Reveron at the “New Atlanticist” blog downplays the significance of the hostages’ nationality, writing that the attack was not rooted in a desire to challenge the U.S.:

While the media continue to highlight the fact that the United States is now a victim, we shouldn’t rush to seeing this as an attack on the US government. There’s no evidence to suggest that a US-flagged ship was deliberately targeted. Rather, pirates targeted a slow ship where their probability of success was higher.

This hijacking was the sixth over the last week.  Their other targets were a British-owned cargo ship, a German container carrier, a Taiwanese tuna fishing vessel, a Yemeni tugboat and a small French yacht. All of these hijackings have one thing in common: they could not fend off a pirate attack. Greed, not ideology, underlies the attacks.

A blogger at “UN Dispatch” writes that the international community faces an insurmountable task when trying to track down pirates:

As many ships that NATO, EU, the United States, China, Japan, Russia, and other countries put off the coast of Somalia, they still have to cover an area of over a million square miles of water. And, we’re dealing with pirates out here.

[…]For now, the United States and other countries will almost certainly bolster the international naval presence, hoping, effectively, that with a few more people looking, they’ll be able to catch those needles in the haystack.

Blogger Dave Schuler at “Outside the Beltway” writes that the real problems are onshore in Somalia (listen to our online radio show on lawlessness in Somalia) and discusses how best to deal with piracy:

I’ve been covering the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia for some time here and, as I’ve said before, the real solution to the problem is a solid government in Somalia, a tall, possibly unachievable order. Failing that I think the problem should be faced pragmatically.

Putting enough naval capacity into the area to do any real good will be an expensive proposition. It might well be cheaper simply to pay the ransoms. However, there could well come a point where the piracy is more than a simple irritant.

In their current condition international institutions are not robust enough to deal with piracy or terrorism or any similar issues, indeed, they may well operate against dealing with these issues in an effective manner. It will be up to the individual navies of the world and, most especially, to ours as the largest of the world’s navies to deal with the problem.

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Comments

3 comments

#3

BRING BACK >> MICHAEL SAVIDGE << !!!!

I feel that he IS the voice for World Focus. This lady which is last few days can not bring “Life” to the stories like Michael!

#2

The only way to put a stop to this piracy crap-is to patrol the area and to utilize submarines to blow these pirates right out of the water. This is terrorism-on the high seas and sets the stage to supply these water rats with an unlimited supply of cargo that they can barter and trade as well as accumulate millions of dollars in ransom money nine ways to Sunday. This is not a difficult situation to deal with. With state of the art technology and satellite capability-these pirates should be toast! Surely, this is a no brainer and something that militarily should have been nipped in the bud-months ago. This is a matter that should be brought before the UN Security Council as it affects international cargo and maritime travel throughout that region. A patrol of military ships and submarines can outwit these thugs and a military force should fire on these thugs as clearly that would put a stop to this piracy terrorism on the high seas-once and for all!

#1

Why not put some F-22’s and awac’s on this..since we can’t cover the area with sea power….we need to kill these thugs, take their boats and put any survivors in —well somewhere like GitMo!

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