Thursday, April 9, 2009

Taking Care of Pirates the Good Old Fashion Way (We Wish)

On Wednesday, 8 April, Somali pirates seized the American-flagged container ship Maersk Alabama. According to FOX News yesterday this was the first time American sailors have been seized by pirates since 1804.

And in the maritime tradition, worthy of a Horatio Hornblower novel, the sailors retook their ship. Unfortunately, the pirates made off in a life-boat taking Captain Richard Phillips hostage. At the time of this post the guided missile destroyer USS Bainbridge is on-scene and FBI hostage negotiators are assisting the US Navy in this matter.

From the New York Times:

Comrade Karla e-mailed us an Associated Press (AP) version of this story along with the following comments:

"The military component here is always going to be marginal," said Peter Chalk, an expert on maritime national security at the private Rand Corp."

Clearly, this guy hasn't read any history. It was the military that solved the problem in the first place and so will it be the case today, assuming various countries with functioning navies cure their cranial rectitis about everything being a legal problem.

I can see why this particular situation is playing out the way it is given the hostage situation…. but navies sink pirate vessels and hang pirates. Then you find their lairs and destroy them. Seems to work pretty well to me.

Today's message traffic regarding this situation:

From Crassus' destruction of the Cypriot pirate kingdoms to today that'll be true. And if we ever venture far enough into space to have trade there'll be pirates as well with the same solution. Why is this higher math for them?

Comrade Karla: Oh because we're so civilized now don't you know. Morons. Reminds me of that Simpsons episode where the overly clever disarmed humans are conquered by aliens with 2 x 4s "Silly humans, your superior intellects are no match for our primitive weapons…"

Ultimately the key is going after their lairs which of course means messy operations on the land with troops. Going after individual boats and ships is like trying to stop the drug trade by busting the punks who are selling on the street corner.

Exactly, the Brits just took a page from the Romans. Destroy the basecamp. (except they didn't salt the earth and decorate the highways with crucifixions).

Sure they did...only they were hung on gibbets and from crow cages in the ports in conspicuous places where incoming/outgoing sea trafficcould see them. This both provided a warning to pirates and a heartyboost of morale for the merchant crews!
This prompted Comrade Karla to provide us with the above photograph of Execution Dock, possibly at or near Wapping, UK:

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