Monday, January 12, 2009

Piracy Update

Piracy in the area around the Horn of Africa is back in the news. It seems that the United States Navy is planning to join the fight after all. Well, sort of.

A new international naval force under American command will soon begin patrols to confront escalating attacks by Somali pirates after more than 100 ships came under siege in the past year, the U.S. Navy said Thursday.

But the mission—expected to begin operations next week—appears more of an attempt to sharpen the military focus against piracy rather than a signal of expanded offensives across one of the world's most crucial shipping lanes.

The force will carry no wider authority to strike at pirate vessels at sea or specific mandates to move against havens on shore—which some maritime experts believe is necessary to weaken the pirate gangs that have taken control of dozens of cargo vessels and an oil tanker.
Typical. Too little. Too late. Too toothless. The Somalis are quaking in their boots.

Not to worry, though. The Somali pirates have released the oil supertanker they hijacked late last Fall. Of course, it took a substantial ransom to accomplish the vessel's return.

But, in what can only be deemed an amazing bit of irony, some of the pirates won't get to enjoy their ill-gotten booty because they're dead.
Five Somali pirates drowned when a wave washed off their getaway boat as they squabbled over over how to split their $3 million ransom.
Ah, sweet schadenfreude!