11/22/2008

Even the Chicago Tribune understands that there are some benefits from being armed

From Saturday's Chicago Tribune:

How to talk to a pirate
November 22, 2008
An Indian warship destroyed a suspected pirate vessel Tuesday off the Horn of Africa. It was the second time in a week that India has used force to fight piracy off the eastern coast of Africa.

Enough saber-rattling. Sink a ship. Now there's a language pirates can understand. . . . .

All told, more than 90 ships have been hijacked off the Horn of Africa this year. Ransoms paid to free the ships could reach $50 million by the end of the year.

This has caused much hand-wringing in government circles, and some sober decisions by the firms that ship through the region. Some have decided to reroute their ships all the way around the Cape of Good Hope. That could add 12 to 15 days, at a cost of $20,000 to $30,000 per day, to each trip. Better that than have your ship and crew while away the days and weeks in some pirate cove. . . .

The piracy, though, has become a real economic problem.

The international patrols seem to be having little impact. Pirates have responded by moving their raids further offshore. In effect, they've created a much larger field of play. The Sirius Star was captured 450 nautical miles off the Kenyan coast, southeast of Mombasa, in the Indian Ocean—a body of water so vast that naval forces can't provide a blanket patrol.

So it looks like the shipping firms have a decision to make: avoid the region altogether or arm their ships to fend off direct attacks.

There are some creative ways to do that. According to the International Maritime Bureau, a chemical tanker fought off pirates armed with automatic weapons by releasing foam from fire hoses into the waters around the ship. In 2005 a cruise ship used a Long Range Acoustic Device, capable of causing permanent ear damage and temporary vision loss, to fend off a pirate attack on Somalia's coast.Or you can do as India did and stop the pirates the old-fashioned way: sink them.


I was thinking about posting this, but I want to thank Brian Shelley for his note.

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2 Comments:

Blogger The Right Guy said...

We've dealt with Pirates before, all the way back to Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates in the First Barbary War. Force worked well then too.

11/23/2008 12:12 AM  
Blogger Mike W. said...

when their language is violence you must speak to them with violence.

Too bad the Chicago Tribune recoginizes this in the case of piracy, but not in regards to American citizens bearing arms.

11/24/2008 12:32 PM  

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