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Somalia And The World’s Pirate Problem

Somali Pirates. Four Americans dead. Now a Danish sailboat with seven aboard hijacked. How to deal with a bolder and more violent piracy.

French warship FS Nivose with Somali pirate skiffs off the Somali coast on Friday March 5, 2010. (AP /EU NAVFOR)

French warship FS Nivose with Somali pirate skiffs off the Somali coast on Friday March 5, 2010. (AP /EU NAVFOR)

The pirates of Somalia just get bolder. Deep in the Indian Ocean now. Far off the Horn of Africa. All over the sea lanes that feed the vital Suez canal. They’re taking yachts. We all know of the four Americans who died in pirate country. Now it’s a Danish family, grabbed. They take oil tankers. Two million barrels of Kuwaiti crude worth $200 million in one attack last month. They’re holding maybe 800 sailors to ransom. Fifty vessels. And they’re killing.

This hour On Point: the fierce challenge of Somalia’s pirates. Plus we get the latest from the Libyan revolution.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Jeffrey Gettleman, East Africa bureau chief for the New York Times.

Roger Middleton, consultant researcher for the Africa Program at Chatham House and author of the briefing paper “Piracy in Somalia: Threatening Global Trade, Feeding Local War.”

E.J. Hogendoorn, Horn of Africa project director at the International Crisis Group.

Martin Fletcher, associate editor for the Times of London.  He is currently reporting from Tripoli, Libya.

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  • Abraham

    The solution of piracy in a nutshell: address the lack of effective government in Somalia and the constant meddling of Ethiopia in the domestic affairs of Somalia. At the end, these pirates are victims of the abject poverty in Somalia and decades of chaos that drove them to the extent of endangering everyone, including their lives.

    • Cory

      Deja vu!

  • Abraham

    The solution of piracy in a nutshell: address the lack of effective government in Somalia and the constant meddling of Ethiopia in the domestic affairs of Somalia. At the end, these pirates are victims of the abject poverty in Somalia and decades of chaos that drove them to the extent of endangering everyone, including their lives.

    • Cory

      Okay, I’ll be the bad guy here… Abraham, no one gives a rip about Somalia. That’s why they have no government and haven’t for many years. No one is interested in solving Somalia’s problems before they solve their own. The UN is a silly, hollow shell of its original intention. The state in which I live is claiming to be bankrupt and is cutting spending on education. How much tax money do you think I want to spend on trying to fix Somalia?

      These “skiffs” must be stopped and searched. If weapons are found on board the ship should be sunk and the “pirates” allowed to swim home. It is a tough and miserable world, and this piracy issue ought to be stomped out of existence.

  • Cory

    One solution is to avoid taking your pleasure yacht around the horn of East Africa!!!

    • BHA in Vermont

      The other option is to go around the Cape of Good Hope. It is a long and treacherous journey. Thus the Suez Canal was built.

    • Brb

      You mean run away like a liberal?

  • Cory

    I love the photo.. modern warship and two pirate rowboats! Remind me again what the problem is?

    • BHA in Vermont

      A few warships can’t cover the thousands of square miles that the pirates ply. That is why the boats need the 50 calibers. The best defense here is a good offense. Of course that would be a bit of a problem with the private sail boats the pirates are going for now.

    • young college Republican

      It’s a French “warship”…the crew is on strike for 2 months vacation a year, unlimited cigarettes, and no compulsory bathing

  • Cory

    Here is your two part solution, and it is easy as pie.

    1. Keep a light carrier in the area w/ a few helicopters on it to patrol the area. Pay for its upkeep with a coalition of contributors so no one has to foot the entire bill.

    2. Adjust maritime law to allow merchant vessels to be lightly armed. Judging from the photo, a few .50 cal machine guns on the side rails and a few semi auto rifles for the crew would be more than enough.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gallo000 Tony Gallo

      i agree

  • Zeno

    In part, Indiscriminate and illegal fishing by the international community has destroyed the economy of Somalia. Once the fish were gone, they shifted to piracy. It the part of the story that is NEVER told.

    They should be more prosperous however, they have the totally deregulated state that republicans are always touting as the best thing for the USA.

    • Cory

      I agree with you most of the time, but this one is pretty close to a lost cause Zeno. The UN has no teeth or cash, and the most powerful and wealthy nation on earth doesn’t like paying it’s membership dues. Would these UN patrols be allowed to discharge weapons, or are the powder blue helets supposed to frighten the pirates into submission? There is no money for this sort of foolishness. Kill pirates and destroy their boats whenever they are found. We aren’t going to help Somalia. They don’t have anything of value, so they are beneath our (and everyone elses) radar.

      • Zeno

        I agree with you. The UN seems to be a lost cause. I guess I should have written “what should have been done”. There is no money, and I am tired of the US being involved in police actions…even by proxy.

        • Ecapurro

          Good time for the UN to ask the European and Russian navies to get off their behinds and get involved in solving at leas one problem. One that affects them more that it does us.

  • Michael

    Will we hear about the dumping of chemicals off the somalia coast that wreak the Somalian economy? Or will the show talk about the reaction to pirates but not the cause? Or the gutting of it’s coastal seas by foreign companies.

    One needs to address the cause as well as reactions, I hope the guest will do so. But i’m not holding my breath.

  • Cory

    Two of the first 9 comments have suggested that Somalia has to be helped to establish a government, their fishing areas repaired, and all sorts of nice solutions.

    Anyone from here on out who poses these solutions must answer two questions. First, who cares about Somalia. Second, who is willing to put their money where their good intentions are?

    I can’t take you seriously if you don’t address these two very real concerns.

    • Stillin

      I care about Somalia…we are ALL THE HUMAN RACE. I care about US.

      • Cory

        As much as you care about your kids, your neighbors, and your country?

  • Anonymous

    Aren’t most of these ships registered to the Bahamas, Panama, and Liberia to avoid taxes and regulation? The US Navy shouldn’t protect tax cheats unless they bill them for it.

  • Anonymous

    Aren’t most of these ships registered to the Bahamas, Panama, and Liberia to avoid taxes and regulation? The US Navy shouldn’t protect tax cheats unless they bill them for it.

  • Stillin

    One of our GREATEST rappers/ the writer of the anthem of the WORLD CUP SOCCER tournament, came out of Somalia, K’Naan. In Somalia, people suffer…when people suffer, they become desperate. I am tired of reading/hearing about some people, who have A TON OF MONEY, AFTER TAXES, AND SPARE TIME…sailing around the world, and then whooops! We are in trouble with the pirates…know this, the pirates are desperate, and so is a lot of the rest of the world. Trust that.

    • Cory

      So what are you saying? I think if you finish your thought I might agree with you!

    • Ecapurro

      What about the tankers or others transports? If the Somali suffer is because they can not govern themselves. They have turn that country into a 21st century island of Tortuga. The alternative is for the Western countries to invade and attempt to re-establish a running government (and get blame for becoming a colonial power). It has become clear that as in nature, where the alpha wolf kills the unruly pup, it is time for the UN Nations to do the same with this country. Yeah, I know: here I ago asking for someone to kill a bunch of innocent and not so innocent people. Again, what is the alternative: letting them reach the next century still suffering and pestering the rest of the world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gallo000 Tony Gallo

    These ships should be armed. When pirates attack, ummm I dont know KILL THEM???

  • Ecapurro

    Hanging them or have them walk the plank. It worked before; it will work again. On the other hand, we know where their boats are, so why not blow them up at the moorings? A navy force with an aircraft carrier can take care of the problem: English or French preferable.

  • Bradford

    somali’s have turned to piracy in part because of the deep
    poverty of the country. Fishing off the coast, a rich fishing ground
    that for decades helped sustain the country, have been decimated by
    international fishing boats that come right up to the coast and leave
    local fishermen impossible to live. If international fishing boats came
    up so close to the US coast and fished them out… we’d be at war.
    More criminals have joined the pirates.. but for awhile I was on the
    side of what they were doing to survive.

    • Philonous

      Pirates are criminals; they’re not the pathetic downtrodden.

    • Rick Mathes

      Excellent point! The root of crime is often traced back to an empty stomach. I was in favor of blowing up pirate motherships, but maybe U.N. should “also” look at forcing other counties not be able to rape Somalia’s natural resources.

  • Philonous

    The British faced piracy in the Caribbean in the colonial period, and unlike the Spanish, they dealt with it. The merchant ships were armed, and the Royal Navy swarmed the region hunting. The pirates were sunk or hanged. It worked before, and we can do it again. If, on the other hand, we negotiate with them, that will only encourage them and make them feel legitimate.

    As to Somalia itself, we tried to help there some twenty years ago, and that didn’t work. The people of a country have to work things out for themselves. If we want to build a nation, we have to spend much more time and money than we are willing to do.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Somalian piracy became a growth industry simply because ever escalating ransoms were paid.

  • JD Hamilton

    We need to take out the financiers who are bank-roll
    ing the pirates.

    • BHA in Vermont

      That would be the insurance companies who pay the ransoms

      • Philonous

        Yes, as has been suggested many times before, making paying ransom a Class A felony.

  • Philonous

    What I don’t understand is why anyone would sail through that region by choice.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Philonous

    What, you expect honor among thieves? Whenever the interest of one goes against that of another, shots get fired. Have you witnessed the gangs in America?

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • BHA in Vermont

    When the pirates stop coming back to the mother ship or shore, they will stop attacking ships. 50 caliber guns on the rail will solve the problem.

  • Rick Mathes

    Can the U.S. get a U.N. approval to literally blow all verified pirate motherships out of the water? That would put a damper on “private pirate investors!” It seems to me that once hostile intent was verified, friendly satilites could triangulate the pirate mothership vessel and fire a missle. Because the mothership isn’t anywhere near the hijacked ship, there would little chance of mistaking a hostile target.

    • Philonous

      You care what the U.N. would approve? Just do it. How many battleships does the U.N. have?

      • Cory

        I don’t think anyone has battleships anymore. The final US battleships of the Iowa class are all mothballed or museums now. (Wisconsin, Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri)

        • Philonous

          I was alluding to the old line about how the pope might object to Napoleon or Hitler or whoever, and the military dictator in question asked how many divisions he had.

    • BHA in Vermont

      I presume you aren’t suggesting the satellite fires the missile but is somehow connected to a missile launcher elsewhere? Not sure how that would work. If, indeed you are suggesting missile firing satellites – there are international treaties against such things.

      Now having satellites help guide a drone loaded with hellfire missiles – GREAT IDEA, as long as you KNOW that the ship is infested with pirates and has no hostages aboard.

      • Philonous

        How about a few gunships? Fly those over the region with orders to sink anything that doesn’t comply.

  • Phil from CT

    This seems to be a perfect scenario for monitoring by remote controlled drones which can cover large areas and fire missiles to destroy these pirates. Remember the Marines at Ripoli despatching these terrorists during the Jefferson administration?

  • Philonous

    No, no, no–we don’t wimper for the Somalis. We don’t have to change their country. We have to get serious about making piracy so dangerous to the pirate that it becomes unacceptable.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Njbee

    why would private citizens sail any where near these areas … with their children?

  • Harry

    I saw some documentary on PBS and the people of Somalia had formed a stock market regarding the pirates.

    Can you guest talk more about this?

    I thought it was very innovative.

  • Philonous

    That’s why we send in a destroyer an shoot the docks.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Philonous

    How about issuing a letter of marque to interested ship masters and hand them weapons?

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Loring Palmer

    Please: what are the causes and conditions that have caused this turn into crime? Because this is a symptom of desperation. Was the ravishing of their fishing livelihood part of this? For example, look how the drug trade pops up when all other employment opportunities dry up. Look at Afganastan, Mexico, and Pittsberg.

    • Philonous

      Who cares? If they want our economy, they have to get themselves together. Striking out at international travellers isn’t a justifiable answer.

  • Philonous

    The same was true about the Caribbean during Spanish colonialism and North Africa in the early nineteenth century. We didn’t worry about what make them make bad choices then. We killed them.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Chris

    Is satellite surveillance feasible to track pirates ? Using technology to direct overwhelming force would be an effective deterrent. The cost of the pirates’ menace is significant enough that eradicating pirates would be cheaper than paying ransoms.

    • RickMathes

      Chirs, I recognize using overwhelming force is not economical, thus the missle idea. We have so many ICBM silos doing nothing anyway, why not utilize them and do some live testing. I do want acknowledge BRADFORD’s point about Somalian pirates being a result of their stripped economy.

  • Stickmon

    Unfortunately the only solution is for an international strike force to blow Somalia OFF the map. It is too bad, but the hostages will be collateral damage, but I bet there will be no more “pirating” after that happens.
    Jimi

  • Philonous

    The pirate problem won’t be solved by NGOs that see everything as needing charity. You make piracy too dangerous to the pirate, and it goes away.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Philonous

    How about a series of raids on shore–cutting out expeditions. We send in the marines to destroy the docks and grab the pirate kings.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • cia

    It seems unbelievable that these small pirate skiffs take over huge tanker ships. The tanker ships should be armed and just shoot these guys. As far as the American and Danish yachts, it’s my opinion that it was very risky behavior to be in that area knowing that the pirates are there. They brought it on themselves.

    • Philonous

      Unfortunately, under international law, merchant ships are disarmed most of the time. We need to abrogate that agreement and do what has to be done.

  • Anonymous

    Mine their coast.

  • cia

    Yes, what Rick says. I hadn’t seen his comment before I posted, but I think we are saying the same thing.

  • Philonous

    Life is risky. If you put yourself in those waters, you accept the risk. I’d rather die in a rescue attempt than live as someone who made piracy more successful.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Chris

    The international community should prevent fishing trawlers from operating in the area. These huge factory ships take all the fish and don’t leave any for the small fishermen who operate off the coasts; this is a problem all over the world. It was the original reason why Somalis turned to piracy. Of course now, piracy has become such big business that the pirates would probably not be content to go back to fishing. But don’t keep exacerbating the problem.

  • Philonous

    We did it during the world wars–it’s called a convoy system. It’s efficient, and it works.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Oggie

    Drones/satellites could be used to track ship traffic & to ID fast moving threats deployed from mother ship, etc.

    Deploy the XM-25 Weapon system & eradicate all pirates on sight at sea.

    Blockade their ports & sink any (all) prize that approaches safe haven.

    There in no negotiating with privates, they only understand destructive intervention (see: British Empire).

  • Ellen Dibble

    How did we beat the Barbary pirates when we were a young nation, those being out of what is now the Libyan coast…

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Thomas Jefferson sent in the marines. Remember the ‘shores of Tripoli’…

      • Philonous

        Just so and without worrying about the poor conditions of the Berber pirates on shore.

      • Philonous

        Just so and without worrying about the poor conditions of the Berber pirates on shore.

      • Philonous

        Just so and without worrying about the poor conditions of the Berber pirates on shore.

      • Ellen Dibble

        Well, Worried, I always thought the “shores of Tripoli” was us liberating Northern Libya from Italy which was slaughtering the natives by the million and putting them in camps. So we started World War II by invading north Africa, from Tripoli. Something like that. I don’t think that was how we stopped the pirates in 1810 or thereabouts.

        • Philonous

          We send the Navy and Marines and attacked the shore bases and captures or sank their vessels. We didn’t try to take over the land.

  • MikeW

    Pirate problem solution:

    International maritime authorities issue a uniquely-identified, cryptographically signed radar transponder with distress-signal capabilities to every legitimate vessel.

    Navies of civilized countries sink every vessel without one.

  • sarah

    What about the role of toxic dumping and over fishing of the Somali coast?

    Sarah age 11

  • Philonous

    Piracy has always been attractive when merchants and nations were weak.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Philonous

    Piracy has always been attractive when merchants and nations were weak.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Philonous

    Piracy has always been attractive when merchants and nations were weak.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Ellen Dibble

    I see a Robin Hood thing going on here. If millions of dollars are out there to be plucked from a wealthy world, clearly some of it has to be siphoned off to a very poor country.
    I’m not saying I agree, but I see the point.
    This gets complicated a lot when I’m hearing just now that the pirates have allied with international terrorists, feeding them part of their profits. If there is a religious “moral” underpinning on top of that economic motive, there is a real issue.
    And oh, yes, Hillary Clinton yesterday was telling a congressional hearing that a lot of the terrorists in this part of the world have been part of an exodus from EASTERN Libya, the part that is now setting up independence. She is really worried about — well, you see what I mean. Not that I agree.

  • Loay

    We are being hoist by our own petard. These were formally peaceful fishermen who used to fish their own waters profitably. During the collapse of the central government, giant European trawlers moved in and basicly fished the area out without regard. What were the indigenous fishermen to do? Starve. They have just taken their undoubted sailing skills and put them to other uses. Look for more of the same as fish stocks collapse. Point the finger to all those responsible. Other fishermen are watching closely and this gene is out of the bottle.

    Loay

  • Ellen Dibble

    By the way, if you want to visit Somalia (Lonely Planet), you pay $10 to $15 a day for an armed guard. Otherwise, it’s not too expensive.

  • Philonous

    So the vessels have fifteen minutes of warning? Load, aim, and fire! A .50 caliber round through a skiff is about all that it takes.

    As to whether the ports in the weak-willed countries of destination wouldn’t like armed merchant vessels coming in, perhaps they don’t need oil or other trade goods.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Philonous

    The pirates don’t seem to care about shooting at the tanker.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Eric M. Jones

    Oh, Boo-hooo…it’s a HARD JOB. That’s all I hear these clowsn saying.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Look at the map. The area is vast. An ocean is not something a navy can blanket the way they can a strait, for instance.

      • Philonous

        The British did in the Caribbean. It took a while, but the Royal Navy cleaned out piracy.

        • Ellen Dibble

          Really? I’ll look into that, how exactly, how much money was being usurped by the pirates, how much profit was being forgone (was that before the British gave up the trade in slaves? Wilberforce, I think? Or was that when the British were still making money from the rum part of that racket)…

          • Philonous

            Who cares about slavery? The pirates were bleeding the Spanish treasure ships dry. I presume that the British paid for their Navy in a similar manner to our system. The point was that valuable cargo was being stolen, and the military solution worked.

          • Ellen Dibble

            I still think the map will reveal that the Caribbean is/was much, much easier to patrol. There are more islands, for instance. In the Indian Ocean there is Diego Garcia or Diego Rivera, some little island that is an American military base, but apparently one island is not enough. If you want to compare, think of the Pacific ocean in World War II. It took a while, and quite a lot of troops and ships, but the Japanese were a unified force. If the leader gave up, the “pirates” gave up.

          • Philonous

            Yes, Diego Garcia. We already have a base there. Besides, a carrier is capable of independent operation for a long time.

  • Rose

    Why is there no equivalent to armed air marshalls that are on airplanes?

  • Ellen Dibble

    What about paying Somalis to protect ships from Somali pirates? Like armed guards for tourists. It seems like a bribe, but it’s honest work.

    • Serenity

      Exactly! :)

      Honest work, no excuse for the more straight-laced Somalis to have no choice but become a pirate so their families don’t starve to death

      • Philonous

        How does bribery lead to honest work? We don’t hire gang members to protect us in the city.

        • Ellen Dibble

          If we (travelers?) pay Somalis to guard ships, it begins to be dishonest work if Somalis then up the piracy in order to justify the need for a counterforce. That was what I had in mind.

  • Mark DiDonato

    Tom, your guest explained that the sea area was too big to effectively patrol but he didn’t address the point the caller was making that it would make sense to have the ships going through in convoy and only on specific routes protected by private security forces paid for by the owers of the shipping companies until they there is effective way of eliminating the pirate chiefs due to effective intelligence gathering is completed. It shouldn’t be that hard to determine who the big players are and then to eliminate them.

  • Jack

    I am a 74 year old single handed circumnavigator and have sailed all oceans. There is a misconception that pirates are out looking for yachts in the middle of the ocean. Incorrect. They check you out in the harbor for what might be aboard and then follow you. So, radio silence is useless. Why did the 54 footer “Quest” sail alone, why not round Cape of Good Hope?

  • Abtmsw

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the roots of this problem. This piracy began as a way to police the waters to prevent illegal dumping of toxic chemicals and overfishing by foreign countries. Yes, it has now become an incredibly lucrative business, and of course the money is now the main impetus. What would you do if you had the choices of poverty or dying in war, versus a possibly huge amount of money that can feed your entire family? For Somalis, the real problem is the 20-year war and the lack of a legitimate central government. Until this problem is solved, all your ideas of bombing the pirate ships and hanging the pirates just adds violence onto violence. It won’t end piracy. Somalia needs peace and justice.

  • Philonous

    Identify a pirate? Let’s see: a Somali in a boat with a gun who won’t comply with orders. Easy.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Ellen Dibble

    Somalia was an Italian colony. Libya was an Italian colony. You obtain independence and find yourself with a corrupt government that nobody “believes in.” Don’t colonizers teach their subjects good governance?

    • Abtmsw

      I’m going to assume you mean this ironically. It’s hard to discern tone in text.

      • Ellen Dibble

        Truly a tone of concern and inquiry. This was not a big part of my education, but I’m thinking it’s relevant.

  • Kimberely Rector

    Could your guests discuss the possible application of directional acoustic weapons to dispel Somali pirates? I understand that several types of non-lethal acoustic weapons currently exist, manufactured by such US firms as The SARA lab in Cypress, CA and American Technology Corporation (ATC) in San Diego, CA.

    It seems that if every ship sailing in range of the pirates had such a weapon, then pirates would quickly find their job much less appealing.

    • Cory

      Or…. we could kill them.

  • roger

    why is all the focus on catching the pirates in the act? is there some international maritime law which says ‘we’ can not attack the mother ship? a few satellite passes should be able to identify which trawlers/ freighters/ tankers are launching skiffs. it would be like how the united states was chasing i-e-d planters in iraq – by targeting the house they came out of or went into by looking at the near constant stream of video coming out of surveillance satellites/ planes/ drones/ etc

    • Jim

      Amen! We can gather sufficient intel to figure out which ships are carrying the rats. Once we do, they get a visit from a drone carrying rockets. Smile, rats! You’re the next contestants on “Feed the Fish!”

  • Ryan

    What does Somalia have to offer in the way of crops, natural resources, etc. that could even offer the start of any legitimate industry in the country? In the absence of any other lucrative options, what is the incentive for Somalia as a whole to abandon piracy?

    • Philonous

      Do you ask the burgler or mugger attacking you why he doesn’t have a legitimate job? Who cares? You turn off the attacker.

      • Serenity

        Of course you defend yourself.

        But then what? Wait for them to come again & just keep fighting back & forth? What if they kill YOU? That won’t stop them, and they will continue to the next target.

        Wouldn’t you rather understand? Probably not possible with an individual… but with a group of “thugs” eg a local gang of muggers? That’s possible. Find out way.

        • Serenity

          I mean, find out WHY.

  • Philonous

    Pull out all aid until the Somalis learn to behave.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR
    http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/

  • Zeno

    Calls for US military action to protect private transport is a waste of tax dollars. The pirates are not taking US military ships. If the shippers can pay out 5 million per ship to the pirates, then they can pay for their own security forces to escort them.

    Why should the US taxpayer pay to police the world.

    • Philonous

      Because they’re taking cargoes that we are buying. Should the police fight hijackers who attack Walmart trucks?

      • Zeno

        Only in US waters or mainland. Until then its up to the corporations to protect their own goods.

        • Philonous

          Well, yes, and that means arming the merchant vessels, no?

          • Zeno

            It up to the corporations to overrule international shipping laws or hire protection. It not the responsibility of the US government or our military in any way.

          • Philonous

            I think that it is our responsibility to protect our interests, here or overseas. That’s the difference in our positions.

          • Philonous

            I also support arming the merchants. This isn’t a problem that can be solved by one solution.

          • Serenity

            I have no problem with arming the merchants. They can even try your suggestion of just killing off anyone who gets near.

            But is that really a way of life for a merchant? Do they really want to have their daily life run that way?

            They CAN come up with a diplomatic solution.

            There is no way the Somali pirates are willing to understand, empathize with, the position of the merchant traders if the merchant traders are willing to understand, empathize with, the position of the Somali pirates.

            It is IMPOSSIBLE to come up with a lasting, workable solution until both sides are willing to consider the position of the other side, their concerns, their needs, etc.

          • Zeno

            Our interests? Using our military as a security subsidy to private corporations? If they hire their own security then they will have a reason to take appropriate actions in the future of their private commerce.

            I’m tired of corporations socializing the losses and privatizing the gains.

          • Philonous

            I’d have no objection to assessing fees on vessels passing through the region.

          • Zeno

            It is not the responsibility of the US government to collect “protection” fees like some group of inner city thugs. Private corporations are wholly responsible for the security and transport of their goods until they are operating in US territory.

            This is not a US military problem.

          • Jim

            There could be great profit in coming up with a business model whereby I, as “ACME Ship Security, LLC.” positions one ship at the mouth of the gulf, and another at the other end of the danger zone. I offer a crack team of ex-military fighters, armed to the teeth with anti-ship missiles and 50 caliber machine guns. You as a ship owner can choose to rent my team before you enter the danger area, and then drop them off to my other ship once you’re past the danger area. If you don’t do that, you take your chances.

          • Serenity

            I agree with you, absolutely.

            If the companies have the CONSEQUENCES of their CHOICE in how to do business (ie using pirate-filled shipping routes to ship expensive merchandise), they should also have the responsibility behind their choices.

            When they feel the consequences (rather than have it spread out to taxpayers who have nothing to do with the business, & whom don’t profit from the business), they will come up with an ideal solution.

            The solution can only come from the 2 sides working together.

  • BHA in Vermont

    Ghadafi is clearly insane at this point. Everything he says in his speeches is so far from reality you have to wonder if he has even looked out the window.

    Insane people are not rational. I believe he truly would fight until the last drop of Libyan blood has been spilled as he has promised.

    • Jim

      … and the award for the most puzzling non-sequitor goes to….

    • Brennan511

      Yeah, but fighting AL QUAIDA is typing the scales in OUR FAVOR…
      And President GW Bush was always described as a “schitzophrenic style”
      War is all crazy [Clinton saved $, but HIV was still quite deadly then]
      But STATISTICAL PREVENTION [t.y.n.] is “uncool”

  • Serenity

    Ethical solution: Remember what we (U.S.) did for Japan after we won WWII. We didn’t want a repeat of poverty-stricken Germany providing fertile ground for Hitler, so we provided Japan with aid to help them re-build.

    Fact: Somali pirates find a huge benefit in what they are doing, in large part due to their extreme desperation.

    Fact: The int’l community spends a small fortune every time they have to go on rescue missions and by the amount of stolen goods, not to mention the dire HUMAN cost.

    So why doesn’t the Int’l community offer aid to Somalia, conditioned on controlling the piracy (they were able to control it before). $XX aid each year, conditioned on containing pirates. Max X number of years until they can get their country up & functioning.

    US & other countries look good, gain support of Somali ppl, makes pirates look very bad. Much less incentive to be a pirate.

    • Philonous

      What you propose requires a total military defeat first. We didn’t aid Germany and Japan until after we wiped them out.

      • Serenity

        Philonous – But why wait? Wait for more people to be murdered, more goods to be stolen? Deeper levels of desperation that makes piracy such an easy choice?

        Why not a preventative?

        With Japan, it *was* a preventative measure. We had nothing to fear from the very weak Japanese after WWII. We wanted to prevent a problem decades later.

        • Philonous

          Because the kind of aid that you’re proposing requires no resistance from the native population. It requires nation-building. We can’t build up what hasn’t been torn down.

          • Serenity

            It has to be a no-strings attached deal.

            We don’t need to send OUR people in to THEIR country.

            That does not work – breeds far more resentment & anger than it resolves.

            All we need to see is an extreme reduction in piracy, and they get the aid.

            Other than they, we stay out of it.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Because Somalia has no functional government and hasn’t for years. Who would you give this money to?

      • Serenity

        Given such an amazing opportunity, the good Somali people (of which I’m sure there are many, despite the pirates) would rise up to accept this act of mercy.

        The people of Somalia can ensure they get their pirates to stop their criminal acts.

        Won’t work for ALL of course, but they would be shaming their families etc. Culture counts for a lot.

        And under the Islamic religion, to commit crimes against those trying to help you would be seen as utterly unacceptable.

        So it would be a no-win situation for the pirates.

        Aiding the Somalis is win-win.

        • Jimboeerfan

          About the comment on the Islamic faith… Seriously – how can you possibly be this naive? Has this EVER worked for any other group of islamic extremists? Has the Koran ever stopped Al Qaida from committing acts of extreme atrocity? Has it ever informed their behavior in the slightest way? Why would it be different for Somali criminals and pirates?

          • Serenity

            Did you listen to the program?

            They talked about a religious group being in control in Somalia some while ago.

            They outlawed piracy as being against Islamic (Sharia) law and piracy went WAY down.

            As if you don’t already know that extremists “hijack” religious teachings for their own gain. No religion teaches hatred & violence.

            Just like the group of Christians protesting at the funerals of gay service men. Is that part of the Christian faith – the venom, the hatred? Of course not!

            Or the group of extremist Christians who condone, and take part in, murdering abortion doctors?

            If you read the Koran it is clear that violence is not condoned and is actually condemned as a punishable sin (though it is allowed, as with the Bible, as a last resort — ie to defend a direct attack, as payback of a murder for an unjustified murder etc). But both the Bible and Koran say it’s better to forgive than to punish with murder.

          • Jim

            Sure, next time my ship is hijacked and they’re pointing guns in my face, I’ll just mosey up and say “I forgive you.”

            How do you even find your way out of your own house in the morning? Seriously!

    • Zeno

      The US has been down that road and we paid the price. If the other nations in the region want to pump their money into Somalia then no one is stopping them.

      • Serenity

        It doesn’t have to be the US; it really should NOT be the US, unless the piracy begins to affect us a lot.

        It should come from the nations most affected by the piracy.

        Better yet, let it be a PRIVATE deal between the merchants (who sail those routes) and the Somalis.

        Win-win.

    • Cory

      Or….. We could kill the Somali pirates who attempt to attack shipping. NO ONE GENUINELY GIVES A RIP ABOUT SOMALIA’S PROBLEMS!

      • Serenity

        Killing doesn’t work. It just makes us a target.

        We don’t want to fuel their anger & make things worse.

        We need to address the ROOT of the problem.

        Band-aid solutions never work. The underlying issue must be addressed. As long as they are so impoverished, they feel justified, even righteous, about what they are doing. Maybe their families & communities rationalize it as well, find it easy to accept given their desperation.

        Take away the problem (or a good part of it) – they lose their ability to rationalize, can’t justify. They lose support from their families & communities

        • Philonous

          Killing doesn’t work? It has before. It doesn’t work today because we’re too weak-willed to carry through.

          • Serenity

            You could probably name a few examples where it worked.

            But than anyone could comeback with the Blowback for that action.

            Killing begets killing, mercy begets mercy. Even if that response takes a while.

          • Philonous

            Sorry, but mercy begets mercy only among rational people. You want examples?

            The Caribbean during the colonial period
            The North Atlantic during the world wars
            North Africa during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries

            And on and on. . .

          • Serenity

            Well, I wouldn’t really agree with that.
            But, I do think it can take time in some cases to see the positive response of mercy – it takes time for people to trust mercy when they deal with suffering & poverty every day (esp while we all sit in comparative luxury).
            And in particular, when mercy is not really to help, but used to manipulate – as with most colonies. The newcomers took over & manipulated people of the new lands (pretty much everywhere). Even the colonists who felt they were doing good & right… that was from THEIR perspective, not the perspective of the people whose resources, lands & way of life was ripped from them.

            But if you talk to Somalis (I have) they really are just normal people. Sure there are some truly criminal-minded as in any country/culture, but most people only commit such acts when driven to desperation. Like I said before, most of us in US/Europe & the developed world cannot begin to fathom what it’s life to live in extreme poverty, watching children die from starvation & easily cured illness. It’s amazing what such hardships can do to the mind, to emotions – blocking rational thought, blocking concern & caring for “the other”.

            So when these otherwise “normal” people are given a chance, given hope, see a light out of their immeasurable suffering… they will stop the criminal acts. Those acts will no longer serve their purpose, even if they aren’t yet to a point where it’s because they “care” about the other side.

          • Philonous

            I can’t give mercy to someone who is hitting me. Stop punching, and then I’ll think about it.

          • Serenity

            Just like Jesus taught. (Not)

          • Serenity

            You might have a different reaction if you CARED about the person who was hitting you!

            Eg, a rebellious 18-year-old son.

            If it was your own son doing the hitting, you might just withhold a violent response and ask yourself “WHY”. And then you might figure out a non-violent solution.

            Problem is, people don’t care anymore. They only care about people who are part of their own lives (if even that), with no compassion & kindness & mercy for anyone else.

    • Jim

      So we bribe them out of being pirates? I’d rather arrange for them to have an accelerated meeting with their deity.

      • Serenity

        You mean, bribe them like we do many other countries?

        Sure, for a set period of time.

        But I prefer to call it giving them a hand up, not just a hand out.

        Compare it to local youth who get involved in drugs & gangs. They do so because there is no hope, or there is money (& glamour?) in that way of life, and poverty otherwise.

        Wouldn’t you help someone out of their misery, knowing that you & your loved ones – or even the community in general – have so much to gain?

        • Jim

          I’m ok with a combination of approaches. Give them aid to address the underlying problems, but ALSO destroy, with extreme prejudice, anyone engaging in piracy. No reason we can’t do both, is there?

          • Philonous

            We’ve tried aid before. We lost our people and produced no good effect. Until the territory is in submission, we can’t rebuild it. Really, it’s their responsibility to make their country work, but responsibility isn’t popular these days.

          • Serenity

            That’s not a mentality of compassion & mercy.

            Perhaps that is what is lost in this “modern” world.

            When people have it far too easy in life, it is difficult to understand the plight of those suffering so inhumanely.

            Most people the world over would do just fine if they could have an honest (even if meager) living, AND the dignity of being treated like a fellow human being.

            But we would not even want to give that to anyone.

            Just bring ‘em to their knees. Show whose tough, show whose boss.

            Might makes right.

  • Jim

    Zero tolerance. You come within 500 yards of my ship without a legitimate reason, you die… simple as that. No capturing, no arrests, we just blow your boat to smithereens, and you with it. Turn these douches into fish bait for the next few months, and they’ll get the message. Put an arms supply ship at one end of the danger area, and rent arms and/or a few men who know how to use them, to any ship that wants them. Have another ship at the other end of the danger zone where you turn the arms and men you rented back in, kind of like borrowing a library book for a couple of days. That way you don’t have to have the arms on board when you reach your destination. If you DON’T want to use this service, fine – take your chances and pay the ransoms…

    • Serenity

      But like they said on the program, that region is a very busy shipping area.

      By the time the ships realize that a nearby ship is a pirate ship, it’s pretty much too late to do anything about it.

      Even if there was some way to do that, it becomes a tit-for-tat. They WILL find a way around it.

      You see, they are SO that the risk of death doesn’t stop them. And as they also noted, you take out a few at a time, there are many more waiting to replace them.

      • Philonous

        How is it too late? It only takes a second or two to make a gun ready to fire.

        • Serenity

          See my post above.

          Violence begets violence.

          I’m hard pressed to find a single, LASTING example where responding with violence stopped the violence. It may delay it, it may *look* like success… but every time it has come back with a vengeance.

          Japan is the one example I can think of off the top of my head where we GAVE AID to PREVENT a future consequence. And so far, over 60 years later, we have nothing to fear from the Japanese. (well in terms of violence… maybe we should fear their technological expertise, hehe)

          As the mighty superpower that WON over the Japanese, we could have done anything. We could have let them suffer, we could have even pushed them down further. But we took the high road, and it paid off in more ways than one.. (How many here like Sony products? Hondas? :) )

          • Philonous

            Yes, but we had to defeat them first. We aren’t in that stage at the moment with regard to Somalia.

            As to violence begetting violence, of course it does. Let me quote Jeff Cooper here: One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that ‘violence begets violence.’ I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure — and in some cases I have — that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy.

          • Serenity

            So we need more deaths on both sides first?

            WHY do we have to DEFEAT them first?

            Just what exactly does that prove? That we have no mercy at all unless the other side is completely down in the dirt? In other words, to bring the other side so low they have to BEG for mercy?

            (I don’t recall that being the preferred way in any of the religious scriptures… or even in ethical, non-religious arguments).

            That quote doesn’t address the issue, and doesn’t relate to reality.

            If you have a gang after your neighborhood, robbing local homes, stealing cars etc. Yes, you can fight them, get them jailed, maybe kill a few. Do you really think it will stop? No. They will come back & fight stronger, harder. If you kill them, their fellow gang members & families will want revenge. Eventually, as demographics has proven, the good folks move out of those neighborhoods (and into the suburbs).
            Except in those perhaps rare cases where the communities reach out to deal with the root causes. Then they transform the communities.

            We can’t look at this from OUR (supposedly :) ) logical, rational (comfortabl, well-fed, well-clothed) perspectives. It’s THEIR perspective that makes them do what they do.

          • Philonous

            People who prey on the weak are not worth my mercy. They are craven curs. They are also cowards. They go after those who are easy to abuse. Anyone who chooses to attack innocents has put himself outside the pale of my obligations to my fellow human beings.

          • Serenity

            Again, you are thinking from the perspective of someone who has plenty of food, shelter & clothing… for most of us, the biggest issue we face is having to move from a big house to a smaller one, or to give up a third car or boat, or buy an older model car instead of a nice new one. Hardly life threatening.

            Most of these folks have to decide whether to attack a trade ship for goods they can sell to feed their family, or stay home and watch their babies/siblings/cousins/parents starve to death. And I mean, literally, to the DEATH.

            Easy for us to talk about all this in our comfy little world, clueless to what is going in a good part of the world.

            They ARE doing wrong – no one disputes that, even, daresay, their own families. But their suffering & desperation means they do not think clearly. They are too wracked with starvation and heartache to have the luxury of being able to think rationally.

            Sad to see that no one is willing to put themselves in their shoes. And easy for us to think of nothing but guns & bombs when we (the US, plus allies) have all the power & might to attack anyone in the world.

            Wonder how we would react if WE were the weak ones… we were the ones with starving family members.

            Note that they don’t attack just for the evil of killing. There are plenty of people who do that. There is a difference, thought it might be hard for you to comprehend that.

          • Jim

            We don’t have to “defeat” somalia! If THEY make the intelligent decision to stop attacking defenseless ships, then THEY will be left alone! We need only defeat the handful of idiots who choose the path of piracy. They won’t have to beg for mercy because they’ll already be DEAD. To the extent that they stop attacking ships, they’ll be left alone. What’s hard to understand about that?

          • Hussein shafkovic’

            Somali piracy are defending their coastal areas , because before Somali pirates the western countries are taking the fish and the sea resource illegally and also they put their industrial  west in Somali coastal areas 

          • Jim

            And I can’t think of a single event in all of human history where projecting WEAKNESS led to a desirable outcome. Too bad Chamberlain didn’t understand that. Might have had a few million more folks of the Jewish faith still alive today.

      • jim

        It takes time for a ship to approach your ship, cozy up against it, break out the grappling hooks, board the vessel, etc. I’m just saying, if you establish a “No Float” zone around a ship, and basically just put anyone on notice that if you violate it, you will be greeted by a hail of 50 caliber machine gun fire and/or rocket propelled grenades, then no pirate in their right mind would challenge you. They keep doing it because it pays off. The minute it STOPS paying off, and they start dying in numbers in the process, watch how quick it stops.

        • Serenity

          Accdg to what was said on the program, by the time anyone realizes one of the many nearby ships is a pirate ship (when they start sending out the skiffs), they only have about 15 minutes to react.

          So let’s say the merchant ship fires some guns & kills some. Pirates fire back, kills some. And it goes back & forth. You will likely have deaths on both sides, and the pirates *still* may win (get the goods).

          Then next time, the pirates change their plan. More subtle, more sneaky. Maybe they go out in larger numbers. Maybe they ramp up their weaponry, getting missiles etc.

          And so the “war” begins.

          And even those Somalis who are against piracy begin to see this as a battle against their people, an unnecessary extreme (from their confused perspective due to suffering & poverty).

          Then what? Do the pirates expand into other waterways? Begin terrorist operations on land too?

          To whose benefit??

          • Philonous

            We’re talking about people of limited means here. The situation is the same as it was in the time of piracy years ago in the Caribbean. The pirates were rarely well armed. They went after soft targets. Hard targets were just too dangerous.

            As to the fifteen minutes, have you ever cocked and fired a rifle? A good .30-’06 can be made ready in seconds and has much better range and effectiveness than the 7.62 x 39 rounds that the pirates are likely using.

          • Serenity

            I don’t doubt that they can get quite a few gun shots out.

            But they are unlikely to kill every pirate on board, and shots are likely to come back.

            Even *if* they could kill off all the pirates without deaths of their own, how do you think the Somalis will react?

            Do you, honestly, believe they will just give up and stop piracy? Go back to their starving families & say, “I give up, we will all just have to bear our starvation & prepare to die.”

            Of course not. They will fight, longer & harder. They will gain more support from people who don’t support them now, or who are hesitant to support the crime of piracy.

            They will turn around and use at least some of that money to smuggle arms.

            They may even respond with unexpected, horrific attacks in placing where our guards our down, where we least expect it. Just wait till they take out a dozen crew on a merchant ship in previously peaceful waters, stealing their goods. Then the danger zone expands, & more violence ensues.

            As outlined in the book Blowback (Chalmers Johnson)

          • Philonous

            The effective range of an AK-47 is about 300 meters at the maximum, but more reasonably around a hundred. A .30-’06 can reach well beyond that. What will they say when they get home? They won’t get home.

          • Serenity

            But do you *really* think there won’t be 10, 100, 1000 more pirates to follow… more determined than ever? (revenge)

          • Jim

            I certainly HOPE there are… The more that come, the more we remove from the gene pool…

          • Jim

            I know exactly how the Somalis will react. They’ll sit around the campfire, and Rahman will say “Hey Abdul, wanna go rob a ship today?”

            And Abdul will answer “Uh, yeah – not so much… the last twenty times that was tried, our brothers were summarily executed in the attempt, and we lost a good fishing boat.”

            And Rahman will say “Yeah, you’re right. Let’s go find something else to do with our evening.”

            WHO GIVES A RATS-ASS what the Somalis will think of this? THEY are the ones committing the piracy! Do you imagine that any sane person cares if they think ill of the people making them pay for it?

          • jim

            Or imagine if someone had radioed the Enola Gay ten minutes before delivering its payload and said “Hey guys, you know what? Turn the plane around – we don’t want the Japanese to think badly of us. They might not like us very much if we follow through with this.”

          • Philonous

            And that’s exactly the point I’ve been making to Serenity. Nationbuilding only works after a total defeat.

          • Tranquildreams2

            Nation building costs a fortune, taking resources away from the people (ie Americans). It also builds a huge amount of resentment bc no one wants foreigners building THEIR country.

            Nationbuilding should never be an option.

            And it would not need to be if we weren’t so violent & uncivilized that we need break a people/their country down to smithereens rather than let them surrender (or leave them on their own).

            That’s why our Founding Fathers were so successful. They did not want to control other countries, but only trade in peace with them.

          • jim

            Any well-trained and well-armed security team could turn those bastards into fish food with almost NO risk of sustaining losses on their own. The pirates don’t have the arms, training, or strategic positioning advantage to take on a ship that resists. It would take a trained on-board security team less than 5 minutes to arm, deploy and execute the enemy.

    • Serenity

      Plus… I’d like to see the reaction when some non-pirate ship gets too close & gets blown away.

      Imagine the nightmare.

      • Philonous

        Stop and state who you are! Anyone who refuses to comply after a given period is a threat.

      • Jim

        You really think that would happen, KNOWING that the rules of the game have changed? Not a prayer. There would be no reason for any two ships to pass within a MILE of each other out on the open ocean. Just for pure navigational safety reasons, they wouldn’t do it… Anyone that comes up to your boat unidentified and unannounced gets sunk. Period. If you have a legitimate reason to be there, you’ll announce yourself and consent to be identified well before you get close. They’re called “radios.” I’m pretty sure most ships have them. Piracy is a risk-reward calculation. Right now that balance is skewed FAR, FAR too much to the “reward” side of the equation. Change the balance over to the “risk” side, and the behavior stops.

        • Serenity

          What about local fishermen?

          Do you really think these folks all have tv & internet to know what’s going on??

          • Jim

            From the ignorance displayed in many of your comments, I suppose your next “solution” would be for us taxpayers to give them all computers and internet hookups, at our expense… you know – so they’ll like us better and be nicer.

  • Ellen

    I haven’t read other comments. Sorry – But I hope this discussion has acknowledged the fact that when the Somali fishermen had good fishing waters there was NO piracy. Piracy began when other countries invaded their waters and began dumping their waste off the coast of Somalia and ruined the fishing livelihood of the people. If there was a chance for the coastal people to earn a decent living – there would be no piracy. It is probably too late to return to the pristine waters that they had for many generations. What about compensation for their loss of livelihood?

    • Serenity

      Excellent point!

      It wouldn’t be the first time – far from it – that developed countries take (or ruin) resources that locals need to SURVIVE.

      And people wonders why they do these so-called “irrational” acts such as piracy.

    • Garth

      I’m amazed at the deliberate ignorance. So many have NO clue why the Somalis were reduced to this. If NPR can’t tell the WHOLE story, then I’m definitely on the fence about their funding.

  • Tedhuge

    The United Nations should pass a resolution, “Pay no ransom no matter what the situation. Anyone or group who pays will be punished for aiding criminals.” This should have happened starting with the Lindberg kidnapping.

    • Serenity

      The US govt has *always* paid ransoms. And bribes.

      They just hide it, or disguise it.

      It’s part of reality.

      The US govt also accepts ransoms, and bribes – however well disguised.

  • Ellen

    What about enforcing rules to keep other nations ships out of Somalia’s waters??

    • Jim

      most of the piracy occurs in international waters.

      • Ellen

        Do you have a source for that?

        I know that before the piracy began ships from Europe & Russia (maybe USA? not sure) were dumping waste in Somalia’s waters and killing the fish.

        Maybe the piracy has gone beyond their own borders – but – again, the solution is to improve their economic situation – When will the US learn that? – Now we have our own Secretary of Defense today admitting that killing people has not worked in Afghanistan.

        • Philonous

          As I’ve pointed out before, killing pirates has worked before. It just takes the will to do it. Afghanistan is a nation with plenty of places to hide. The open ocean is different, and the rest of us cannot permit these cowards to stop international commerce.

        • young college Republican

          Link lady needs a web source

    • wsb

      My understanding is that we are talking about an area of ocean roughly 4 times the size of Texas. It isn’t as if the United States Navy doesn’t have anything else to do… Only a political solution will effectively solve this problem.

  • david

    Simple solution: if a vessel goes outside it’s terrritorial waters, ask it to identify itself, take a look at the vessel from the air, ask again, If they refuse, blow them out of the water! Problem solved!

  • Ishmael

    Comments:

    1) have yet to hear a reasonable rationale why shipping companies refuse to provide protection on their ships

    2) best solution so far: enlist the assistance of Somalis to patrol their own waters, funded by shipping companies or the UN

    3) the international community isn’t serious about piracy off Somalia, so the most reasonable existing solution is to avoid those waters and give them up to the criminals

    4) early US presidents did pay bribes to pirates

  • Garth

    What is truly sad is how Somalia came to this. What did the international community do when Somali waters were fished-out and polluted by huge foreign ships? When Somalis begged the UN to do something? Now that piracy is recourse-turned-profitable, the question really is; “Who is to blame?”

    -Garth, Buffalo,NY

  • John Tauscher

    My son is a US Marine and has been trained in “Maritime Special Operations.” At this time a Marine Expeditionary Unit…2000 strong is sailing to the Indian Ocean. My guess is they will be looking for pirates. They have more air, sea and land capabilities than you can imagine. The pirates will be in real trouble if their mission is to protect the sea lanes.

  • Rosebaypro

    Two pronged approach:
    1. Help the country to find profitable employment for its citizens.
    2. Find the mother ships and bomb the hell out of them on sight. Bomb their other floating vessels also.

  • Anonymous

    This is actually a pretty simply solution to solve.

    An AV-8 can do over 600mph, and has a range of over 1400 miles. As a VTOL aircraft, it doesn’t require a large aircraft carrier to operate from. A half dozen such small ships with one or two AV-8s could cover the area.

    Response time would be under 60 minutes in all cases.

    In the meantime, mounting a single mini-gun on the fan-tail of the ship would certainly dissuade the Somalis from trying to storm the ship. Stand off the pirates for 30-60 minutes, the AV-8 delivers a Maverick, and the pirate ship and all it’s inhabitants are vapor.

    As for ports who will not allow armed vessels to visit – shipping companies need to boycott those ports. If the ships stop going there, the ports won’t survive (and it will be tough for the country as a whole).

    There is no solution in Somalia short of saturation bombing.

    Instead of spending money on Somalia development, spend the money to kill pirates.

    • Brennan511

      I’d like to like “like” this one, –lot’s of logistics [MAPS would be nice]– but the “killing” thing is fatigued, complicatED and incomplete. BREEDING -I.V.F.- and “immaculate MISSconception” is the GOOD IMPACT that needs to envoy civilization and responsibility.

      By the way, I’m gonna take the VTOL for a spin, I’ll be back in an hour or so, you can fly the cessna 152, it gets good gas milage /FUEL ECONOMY and that’s a “good thing” re-Pete inn a boat.

  • Anonymous

    The bottom line is, in every case, the pirates must die and their boats and weapons destroyed.

    As long as there’s big profit to be made, it will be like illegal drugs. Someone will take the risk to make lots of money. But if there’s certainty of death – no pirate returns alive from any attempt to capture a ship – word will get out. Wanting to be a pirate will be wanting to be dead.

  • Brennan511

    The ultimate MATH is to part the seas and bring mohamed to the mountain [Jobs & civility CAN BE BRED!. "IVF embryonic weapons"]
    Forget about black-hawks, navy seals and black ninjas… It’s about White STORKES, BABEY-Seals and grey-GODS!

    They want to hijak our! vessels and get paid… well when they go home to their WOMEN, well “those vessels” could already be “hijaked” Z-IMpregnatED with “perpetually good paying!!!” GOOD GENES as elements of true civility.
    Ultimately the pirates could become/work as scouts… searching for and documenting! the very poverty that BREEDS corrupt desperation that threatens just as it begs… “genocide” is NEVER [even in DIRT POOR, dangerous nasty regions] , but China & Isreal continue to seek good seeds and to cultivate them, DESPITE! the stringent WWII actions they both suffered, and China & Isreal are powerful places. True China IS “exterminating” it’s criminals…but it’s only been going on for a few thousand years [5,000 years?].
    If they inspect a “fishing boat” can they then “monitor” that vessel remotely, GPS and all?
    Just a few “sting ships” could fill their galleys with criminals, while sailing away in paradise with Top communications and ever-more sting ships.

  • John A C Cartner

    Here is the problem: The master has the soverieign warrant of the flag state to enforce flag state laws on his vessel. He has no sovereign imunity and the vessel has no soveriegn immunity, unlike a warship. If an armed guard kills a pirate that is likely a crime — with defenses to be sure — but still a crime. The master and the killer may be charged. The promise of a prosecutor not to prosecute is likely not forthcoming because the prosecutor would take the position that it may have been a pirate and may not have been — let the judge work it out. He is sworn to prosecute crimes in his view, not to try the facts. A letter of marque does not work because under that doctrine, the captured ship and cargo go to admiralty prize court which deals in things, not people. The only real way to have armed guards is to have the flag state hire the armed guards giving them contract soveriegn immunity of a limited sort and have the owner reimburse the state for the costs.

    John A. C. Cartner
    J.A.C. Cartner, et al, THE INTERNATIONAL LAW OF THE SHIPMASTER (2009) Informa/Lloyds [London] http://www.shipmasterlaw.com

  • RM

    It’s embarrassing reading through all of these comments. The speakers on the show continued to tell the callers why all of their suggestions of striking back with violence won’t work, yet typical Americans don’t listen. The people on the show have made a career our of studying these problems and have suggested how to start to resolve this problem. Do you actually think they might know a little more than you – the people who just come up with a some on-the-fly solution after listening for 5 minutes?

    Learn to listen people! Very few problems are solved with bombs and guns.

    Secondly – save the whole bleeding heart liberal comments. I grew up on a farm around guns – out in the middle of nowhere with no police to help if we needed it. Yes – we were on our own to protect ourselves, however that’s a lot different than sailing the seas and dealing with masses of pirates who have been trained to do this for a living. Handing some guns to people sailing through those waters isn’t going to solve a damn thing and expecting the Navy to fix this problem is going to work either.

  • William

    It is remarkable that thugs in small boats are keeping almost all the Navies of the world at bay.

  • Ishmael

    In this program there seemed to have been more emphasis on what *cannot* be done about “piracy” than on what *can* be done. Negative, unrealistically pessimistic views about the topic.

  • Peter Newberger

    Could the Navy go in via submarine or wait via submarine as the pirates come out? Sneak attack.

  • Pingback: Douglas R. Beam Law Blawg and Legal News - Somalia And The World’s Pirate Problem

  • Steve Maciel

    Here’s my thoughts on preventing piracy:

    There’s basically 3 phases of the ordeal and levels of difficulty of preventing / stopping / capturing the pirates:

    1st) The ‘before’ stage. This is a very difficult stage and it’s almost impossible to patrol everywhere all the time to prevent the ordeal from happening. I get that.

    2nd) The ‘during’ stage. While the ship is under the pirates control is also very difficult / nearly impossible to control because the hostages are human shields and could be killed. I get that.

    3rd) The ‘after’ stage. After the ordeal / all negotiations are over.

    OK, here’s the part I don’t get… once it’s all said and done, how do the pirates get a away? I’ll grant that Phases # 1 & 2 are VERY difficult to deal with, however Phase 3 is a no-brainer! What do we do at that point? Say, “Oh well, another score for the pirates” and sail away??? The pirates only have one option at that point: to get back in their boat and leave. Why are they not captured then? We know where they are – there’s only one option for escape – what happens at that point? It’s not like the have a submarine and can slip away undetected.

    So here’s my question: With all our modern technology, ie: night vision, satellite tracking, etc., how is is possible that the pirates can get away at the end? Can’t we simply wait them out, follow them away from the boat, and say “OK you rascals, we’ve got you now, pull over”?!? Can anyone explain this to me?

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.vert1 Richard Vert

    This makes me so mad I can’t see straight. America spends billions to fight a “war” on its own people who want to smoke pot. Even put together an elaborate scheme to arrest, convict, and jail Tommy Chong for having his picture on a bong. But don’t have the time to secure our borders or keep the oceans safe. 

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