Somali Pirates Hijack ship, Crew Takes it Back

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Lord Blackadder, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #1
    The latest example of piracy off Somalia comes with a twist.

    Apparently the American crew of the US-flagged container ship fought back after being boarded and managed to re-take the ship. The captain remains a hostage with the pirates, who fled in a small boat but are demanding a ransom for the captain.

    A US warship is en route.

    This article from the Beeb lays out some interesting facts concerning the regulations and rules of engagement that are hampering the fight against piracy in Somali waters. For example, international regulations (probably dating from the era of Q-ships and commerce raiders) forbid the creation of armed merchant vessels.

    Warships sent by the U.N. do not have the freedom to simply blow the **** out of pirate vessels they encounter...they are a deterrent, but the pirates strike quickly and have the luxury of not operating under any rules of engagement. While I certainly don't want to romanticize the violence of the age of sail, it seems we are really tying our hands behind our back here.

    The UN needs to take strong action here. The Somali government has no control over the pirate bases and this situation seems unlikely to change. Total ransoms paid to pirates is approaching 100 million US dollars - just think how much mischief they can get into with that kind of money! It is going to show up in all the wrong places.
     
  2. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a

    QuantumLo0p

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    #2
    I have to believe any warship would fire at an aggressor after being fired upon; being a purely defensive move.

    In the article: "There has also been a legal opinion by the Foreign Office in London that captured pirates cannot necessarily be sent back to whatever authorities can be found in Somalia, in case they are subject to harsh treatment. That would contravene the British Human Rights Act. The pirates captured in the Royal Navy action have now been handed over not to Somalia, but Kenya."

    That is hilarious. Some yanks, including the novice Obama administration, have succumbed to the fantasy of foreign rogue forces somehow being protected under a country's constitutional law when committing acts of war against that country but on foreign soil.

    Individual combatants acting alone and separate from a nation's military are not granted protection under the Geneva Convention nor are they entitled to due process (in the U.S.) under the writ of habeas corpus. Unfortunately the Obama administration is granting such writ to terror combatants in the United States' criminal court system. There IS NO such provision in the constitution of the United States of America that grants such rights therefore the rights do not exist as they pertain to dealing with forces from the United States. That misguided policy turns a battle field into a crime scene. What tangled web they have woven.

    I do not pretend to know much about British constitutional law but if they feel they cannot send a Somali pirate back to Somalia to face his accusers in their own court of law then I feel all is lost and I fear the Brits have lost their way.
     
  3. theDUB macrumors 6502a

    theDUB

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  4. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #4
    There are a lot of issues; one is that Somalia's "government" barely exists. Pirates have to be tried outside of Somalia itself.

    The rules of engagement are complex and cripple what is on paper a powerful international flotilla of warships. If they had more freedom to act they would be more effective.

    The area being patrolled is too large; either the the size of the UN fleet must be substantially increased, or the UN force must be allowed more leeway to chase and engage pirates.
     
  5. allmIne macrumors 6502a

    allmIne

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    #5
    The other issue is that almost any trial will take a few weeks; the boat owners want that boat back on the sea and on its way, and generally prefer to pay a ransom and get on with it.

    While this remains the case, there's no deterrent for the pirates.

    Good to see the Navies protecting a shipping lane for food escorts, though. That's definitely something.
     
  6. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #6
    I thought this occurred around the Horn of Africa, not the Gulf of Aden???
     
  7. allmIne macrumors 6502a

    allmIne

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    #7
    Correct sir. It was a British ship hijacked last week in the Gulf of Aden, while the American ship was hijacked around the Horn of Africa.

    + 1 observational skills!

    British ship in Gulf of Aden

    American ship, Horn of Africa

    The US reports seem to conflict the UK reports in terms of location. It's my patriotic duty to believe the UK reports :)
     
  8. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #8
    I just remember the newscaster opining that they felt the waters off of Somalia were getting a little warm this time of year, so they decided to head further South. :p
     
  9. fogelbaby macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Dude we should be killing those guys

    I just can't believe that it isn't the UN militaries right to fire upon any pirate ship seen harassing a ship. Clearly they won't stop until somebody starts fighting back, so what are we waiting for. With all the ridiculous things that the US does with its military, its equally ridiculous that we don't do what is clearly the right thing to do - freaking destroy their ships. I suspect that piracy would decline sharply if the next pirate ship to attack a vessel got a tomahawk missile into its bow. Or maybe even better a nice strafing run from a FA/18.

    And I am in general a pacifist.

    And what's with this idea that merchant vessels can't be armed? Isn't today's situation evidence that they should be? A few 50 cal machine guns on the bow and sterns of a merchant vessel would make quick work of the ships the pirates are using, and wouldn't be so expensive.
     
  10. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #10
    Either that or we could revive the practice of issuing letters of marque. ;)
     
  11. nplima macrumors 6502a

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    I don't' get it.. why is it a completely lawless place when the pirates are attacking, but there are "rules of engagement" and fear of prosecution if someone decides to shoot at pirates?
    If someone in that region decides to shoot first and ask questions later... they'll probably be long gone before some sort of authority would be able to find out what happened, no?
     
  12. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #12
    If we did that, companies like Blackwater and Halliburton would probably be in on the game...:eek:

    Another BBC article dealing with the complexities of fighting piracy.


    The UN needs to rethink the current strategy on this. If shipping owners keep paying out ransoms the pirate attacks will increase in frequency and complexity. They will be more heavily armed, possibly to the point where they pose real risks even to coalition warships.

    I won't pretend that I know how we should deal with this in terms of legal details. But somehow we need to come up with a way to clean out the pirate safe havens and ports. Trying to battle them at sea (with all the attendant restrictions) hands all of the advantage to the pirates.
     
  13. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #13
    I'll bump this thread since the situation has come to a dramatic climax.

    Navy SEALs shot up the pirates and rescued the captain. Three of the four pirates are dead and one captured. From our perspective it's a miraculous and triumphant ending to a dangerous situation.

    It appears that the Navy's hand was forced by several factors:

    - Other pirates were converging on the area.

    -the lifeboat, out of fuel, was drifting close to the Somali shore, where the Bainbridge would be unable to follow.

    I can't imagine how the Navy accomplished this rescue. My hat is off to the crew of the Bainbridge and SEAL team. Unfortunately, this drama (and the recent commando raid by the French to rescue a captured yacht's crew) simply highlights how bad things are.

    The next high-profile hijacking will likely not end as well.

    EDIT: Apparently it went down like this: one of the captors deserted the lifeboat and was taken into custody aboard the Bainbridge. The Bainbridge then somehow managed to take the lifeboat in tow (probably by using a frogman to attach a line to the boat, but that's just a guess) in order to keeping it from drifting too close to the Somali shore. At some point the three remaining captors realized they were being towed back out to sea. They foolishly left the confines of the boat and attacked the Bainbridge with their assault rifles, and Navy sharpshooters shot and killed them.

    A series of very fortunate events, coupled with the professionalism of the US Navy and with the bravery of the Maersk Alabama's crew and especially their captain, has brought this to a successful conclusion. We got lucky this time, and all of the "good guys" came home.

    But people on the news have pointed out (rightly), that the pressures pushing the Somalis to piracy are so great that this will only serve to make them try harder, even to the point where they are willing to engage warships, as the crew of the lifeboat did, with fatal results. This is a serious problem, and the UN should take notice of just how bad things are becoming.
     
  14. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #14
    They're SEALs. That's how they accomplished it.
     
  15. Peace macrumors P6

    Peace

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    #15
    Yup! ;)
     
  16. Lenzflare macrumors newbie

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    #16
    wow...

    so now other solmali pitates are ticked off that the U.S. Navy schwacked their fellow scumbags.

    let's just milk this one, shall we?

    a bunch of thugs decide that so take up arms and take their chances robbing people at sea. an anciet tradition to be sure. everything goes well for a few years and they make a metric sh*t-ton of money. then one day someone steps up and tells the pirates to take a flying f*ck at a fire hydrant. a couple dead pirates and a heck of a story to tell the grandkids later, most of the hostages are free. now we have even more pirates getting angry. they feel that U.S. had no right to kill people that were stupid enough to put themselves in harm's way and they vow to take revenge on the nations that fought back? like the U.S. and French didn't have a right to do play the game too? didn't these idiots know they were taking a chance going out into international waters and daring someone to stop them? i understand that these are some desperate people that see an easy path to money. but they have got to realize that sooner or later someone was going to take action. do they really have any right to be mad? or is this just bluster coming from glorified muggers?
     

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