Posted by: Dark Defender | October 2, 2008

Why are we pussyfooting around here?

Ive been meaning to write about the pirate situation in Somalia for some time but have been distracted by the financial crisis. 

Ok so currently we have a Ukrainian ship with 30 fairly high tech Russian tanks and a crap load of ammo being held hostage by these pirates.  The US Navy is patrolling the area and vowed to prevent the tanks from being offloaded.  Russia is now getting into the act as well. 

Russia to the rescue?

Russia to the rescue?

Forgive a quick diversion, I think the fact that Russia is sending a single frigate reinforces my earlier point, that Russia’s navy is in a sorry state.  This is a good opportunity for Russia to show both that they are powerful and a responsible member of the “international community”…and they send 1 ship? I think Pooty would love to send a fleet and swing his dick around.  Whats stopping him is in my opinion probably the strain already put on the Russian fleet by operations off of Georgia and the exercise with Venezuela.  Further I really question the state of the Black Sea Fleet given they had to call on a Baltic fleet vessel to respond to trouble off of Somalia. 

Ok getting back to the pirates.  Apparently so far this year the pirates have already collected 30 Million in ransom so far this year.  They are averaging 1 million per hijacking and are able to take and hold ships for weeks on end.

The big bad pirates

The big bad pirates


My question is why? We have a multinational task force on station, the Somali government (such as it is) is practically begging us to take action.  So whats the hold up? It seems to me that our inaction is allowing them to run a very profitable business, of course attacks are up.  I would say our unwillingness to take real action against them and peoples willingness to pay ransom makes even more attacks inevitable.

So I say we change this dynamic.

1) International force to protect shipping.  Accept the EU and even Russia’s help and create a corridor through the area to protect international shipping.  Speed boats which enter the area are warned then shot.  From reports I would think the problem so far has been ships are all over the place making them difficult to protect and identifying the pirates among this chaos is a major problem in stopping them them.  Creating a safe area and restricting it to major shipping should help with this problem.

2) No negotiations, no payments.  When and if a ship is captured, we do not allow it to be held and the pirates leisurely negotiate for payment.  Instead we (US, Russia, EU whoever) raid the ship with special ops, or force it to surrender or be disabled and boarded.  No more payments means in time the clans will stop regarding piracy as a source of easy money and will turn to safer pursuits.  I realize this wont be popular with ship owners (or crews or their families) but this isn’t just about them, its about maintaining freedom of navigation, protecting the world economy and preventing more attacks.

3) Retaliation, if a particular clan ashore is especially active in continuing piracy, take action against them, either with air or even special ops actions designed to degrade their abilities and punish them.  Perhaps even coordinate air strikes with the government to help them take control of the area.  I realize this would mean involving ourselves ashore in Somalia again, which is potentially dangerous (and not really worth it) but if we limit our goals to protecting international shipping I think it is a managable, acceptable risk.


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