Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pirates, What the Hell?

I am not talking about this kind of pirate!

I am talking about this kind of pirate, well sort of!
What the hell is going on off the cost of Africa? I mean are we back in the 1700’s when Blackbeard or Captain Jack Sparrow ruled the open waters? I had heard of these Somali Pirates a few weeks ago and I thought it was a crazy concept. Small single engine boats approach a huge ship, climb up ladders or shut up ropes and climb up them and take control of the vessel. How could they do this so easily? Wouldn’t you think the crew of the ship would see them approaching and find a way to fend them off before they were able to board and gain control? Don’t they have weapons on board to protect themselves? These are all good questions right? Well in doing some reading about the recent American Captain that was taken hostage I found out that most of these huge ships have relatively small crews and they are not armed with anything more than a flare gun. They might notice the ships approaching on the radar but they assume they are fishing boats passing near by. So by the time they realize they are under attack, it is too late.

I could not be more pleased in the outcome of the Maersk Alabama hijacking and the five-day hostage standoff. I love the fact that the Navy Seals were called in and took care of business with three shots. I am glad to see the President Obama ordered this action. I was really worried that he was going to stand aside and let this Captain die. Especially since just last week he was apologizing for American and its forceful use of the military especially against people of Muslim faith. But after the successful return of the Captain, President Obama stated that in order to fight the pirates along the Horn of Africa, the United States must work with its partners to prevent future attacks and to “continue to be prepared to confront them when they arise, and to ensure that those that commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes.”

So you would think that would cause these modern day pirates to think twice about hijacking again. But it didn’t! They have actually captured four ships and took more than 60 crewmembers hostage in a brazen hijacking spree. "Our latest hijackings were meant to show that no one can deter us from protecting our waters from the enemy because we believe in dying for our land," Omar Dahir Idle, a pirate based in the coastal town of Harardhere, told and Associate Press reporter. "The recent American operation, French navy attack on our colleagues or any other operation mean nothing to us." They have also stated that they will kill all American and French hostages they might take. So far this year, Pirates have attacked 78 ships, hijacking 19 of them, and about 17 ships with more than 300 crew still remain in pirates' hands. Each ship represents about a million-dollar ransom.

This is all very crazy, it is like the Wild West out there and I something has to be done. I wouldn’t count on the United Nations to step in, so someone else will have to. I am not saying it will be the US, but I am sure we will be willing to help. It seems that most of the Somali pirates are actually young men between the ages of 17 and 25 years old. They see this as the only way to make money in their corrupt warlord controlled country. All I know is they better be careful what they wish for. If they believe they are protecting their land and are willing to die for it, than that just might happen!

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