Friday, November 14, 2008

Royal Navy 2, Pirates Naught

FOLLOWING ON THE HEELS OF a report on NPR of the life of a Somali pirate — in which the reporter took considerable risk, and moral license, to interview one of the many seagoing thieves plaguing the critical sea lane through the Gulf of Aden — comes news that a British warship, aided by Russian vessels, finally took some hard action against these scum. From Wired Magazine's Danger Room blog:
For years, Somali pirates have terrorized the waters of East Africa, with only the occasional spasm of opposition. But now, NATO has begun to patrol the area in force. And the pirates are starting to get smacked back. On Tuesday, the British Royal Navy "repelled a pirate attack on a Danish cargo ship off the coast of Yemen, shooting dead two men," the BBC reports.
The pirates were given a chance to surrender, but after they fired small arms at the HMS Cumberland, the British sailors returned fire and dropped a pair of them.

Years ago, I recall reading a New York Times Sunday magazine article by Jack Hitt about modern-day pirates. I recall being surprised at how prevalent the problem had become. As evidenced by the first link in the quote above, Somalia's coast is now a hot zone for such crime.

I have no sympathies for the dead pirates, and I think it's about time such a clear signal was sent that this shit won't fly. One of the commenters to the article had the same thought I did: that the naval powers of the world should begin dispatching WW II–style Q-ships to begin throwing the Fear into these scum. I had an ambiguous reaction to the NPR report; though it was fascinating, I still felt like the world would've been better served had the story ended with the reporter emptying the pirate's skull with a shotgun. But that's a violation of journalistic trust, and let's face it, several of my favorite books were written by, or in collaboration with, Mafiosi. Still, if you look at the list of previous stories on the topic beneath the story behind the first link in the quote, this is clearly not a new problem, with over 100 incidents this year. Well, there are two pirates who won't be joining the next raid.

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