Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Somali Pirates: A Personal Comment

Once again, I had posted a regular addition to my blog (see below) when world events overtook me. I have been blogging my outrage about the mounting piracy problem, particularly around the Horn of Africa by mainly Somali Pirates. I am sorry to have to say that his tragic incident yesterday just did not surprise me at all. Many of us have been warning about this happening with increased frequency for 2 years now. In case you missed the news reports, here is the Statement from CentCom (U.S. Central Command):
During the boarding of the Quest, the reaction force was engaged by pirates on board the vessel. Two pirates died during the confrontation and 13 were captured and detained along with two pirates already in US Forces custody. The US Forces also found the remains of two other pirates already dead aboard the Quest. In total, it is believed 19 pirates were involved in the hijacking of the S/V Quest.

US Forces have been closely monitoring the S/V Quest for approximately 3 days, once it became known to be pirated. Four U.S. Navy warships comprised the response force dedicated to recovering the S/V Quest: the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), the guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett (DDG 104) and USS Bulkeley (DDG 84). The ships are deployed to the region to conduct maritime security operations and to provide support to operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.

When these attacks began several years ago, the United States Navy had few assets in the area and did virtually no “anti-piracy patrolling”. Today the U.S. Navy has a substantial presence in the area, as does several other countries including England, France, the Netherlands, India and even China as well as others. The problem now is that “international law” prevents active enforcement. In other words, they have to wait to be attacked before they can act, which is a form of insanity. Until our military units are allowed to become aggressively pro-active and strike the pirates before they have a chance to attack, this will continue to be a series of tragic situations and shipping lines will continue to lose millions and millions of dollars (which is passed on to us consumers, of course).

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