Somalian pirates…

January 10, 2009

I am glad to report that a Saudi Arabian tanker vessel, which holds 2 million barrels of oil, was released by Somalian pirates today, according to a BBC report. Seized about two months ago, the ship and its 25 member crew were held hostage until the ransom the captors demanded was paid. This is one of dozens of ship seizures that have occurred in the Gulf of Arden and Indian Ocean in the past year or so, causing countries such as Iran and China, among others, to send their naval fleets to the region to protect their merchant vessels. Counter attacks involving missiles and gunfire have become more common as publicity on the seizures has grown, thwarting many attempts of the pirates. Only within the last quarter of 2008 did we begin to hear any news of these attacks, as the number of captures and attempts at capture increased with the Somalian pirates making grand demands from the countries involved.

A reported money drop onto the deck of the Sirius Star

A reported money drop onto the deck of the Sirius Star

The Sirius Star reportedly received a delivery by parachute containing the $3 million ransom, presumably from the Saudi government. I realize that it is not the United States that is involved, but why are the Saudis paying off this ransom demand? The U.S. government would absolutely refuse to deal with pirate-terrorists, as I am sure they would call them, and deal with them in some other manner (most likely restricting them economically or -one hopes as a last resort- with force). And I think that is appropriate as far as these pirates are concerned. As far as I know, Somalia is still run by rival warlords, for lack of a better term, each trying to get more money and weapons to defeat the other factions. People are starving throughout the country and a drought has plagued the region, leaving them in a desperate state. That does not mean that these pirates are sharing the money they gain by holding ships hostage and feeding the country. More likely, they are obtaining more weapons, making the country impenetrable for U.N. aid workers and humanitarian groups. They are hurting their country, while exploiting the poor and hungry to justify their violence and thievery.

Let us no longer aid these warlords and pirates by giving in to their demands. I am sure they realize the increased difficulties that will come from making good on their threats and harming crew members, and I doubt they would resort to that. Let us take action when necessary: be conservative and diplomatic, yet efficient with penalties. I do not like violence and detest war and the reputation we have gained because of our wars. Yet, to prevent the further decay of Somalia and to allow aid to help these people, we must be aggressive and maintain the appropriate and mutually-beneficial, agreed-upon order.


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