Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Pirates in the Strait

Yo-ho-ho!Pirates are back in the news.

They’re not flying the Jolly Roger, and they’re not off the coast of Somalia this time. And the headline for the story looks strange indeed: “Japanese repel pirate attack”.

According to this AP story in The Australian:

A Japanese bulk carrier foiled a pirate attack yesterday in the Strait of Malacca off Indonesia’s coast, days after two UN-chartered vessels were raided by pirates in the same area.

The attacks raised concerns about a resurgence of piracy in the strait, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and a key link between Asia and Europe.


In the latest attack, pirates travelling on a blue-hulled unlit speedboat off the coast of Indonesia’s Aceh province followed the 26,000-tonne Japanese vessel, and attempted to board it by the stern.

But an alert duty officer raised the alarm.

And how did the Japanese crew fight off the pirates? Rail gun? AK-47s? Flamethrowers? Nope.

The crew turned on floodlights and sprayed the raiders with water from fire hoses, preventing them from boarding.

Smart move — no way to run out of ammunition.

Maybe the raid on the Japanese vessel was a mistake, since their previous targets had been UN ships:

Indonesian ships patrol the Strait of MalaccaOn Sunday night, pirates successfully boarded two UN chartered ships carrying construction material for the reconstruction of the tsunami-hit Aceh province.

Both ships, flying Indonesian flags, had sailed from Belawan in Sumatra and were heading for Aceh when they were attacked and looted.

No injuries were reported among the all-Indonesian crew aboard the two vessels, hired by the UN World Food Program.

The bureaucrats at Turtle Bay could solve the problem in time-honored UN fashion: register the pirates as a new “Non-Governmental Organization” and voilà! No more piracy!

They’d then be officially designated as an “Indigenous Auxiliary Aid-Distribution Partner”, or IAADP, and given the imprimatur of Kofi Annan himself.

Nobody would even notice the difference between that and the usual way of doing business via the UN.

You think I’m joking, but wait and see…


Epaminondas said...

The Straights is one of busiest shipping points on earth ... isn't this an ideal spot to put some frigates?

Or better yet a small sub to follow these sob's?

Forget Turtle Bay, they're at Emeril's for lunch, double parked

Always On Watch said...

Piracy--an Islamic tradition dating back some 200 years.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

You think I’m joking, but wait and see…

Actually, you may be joking about not joking but I think its not a joke.

At a guess the UN hired ships were in cahoots with the "pirates" (if the pirates were not actually hired for the purpose) and took a cut of the profit. And that is pretty much UN standard practise. The aid was probably purchased from friends and relatives for inflated prices, and quite possibly destined to be resold commercially by the party receiving the aid. Consequently it is only logical that the transport side join in the game, and oops! pirates stole the aid! For extra bastard points the stolen aid may be sold again to the UN in order to be stolen again to ...... etc. All this insecurity demands more security staff, who may or may not be qualified but since they are not actually providing security that doesn't matter. Of course security staff decrease the margin for piracy by adding another layer to those receiving a cut, but hey, as long as New York is happy ....

You see? International cooperation at work. Corruption is your friend, and Kofi's! It cuts out that uneccessary violence and everybody profits. The UN staff, their friends and relatives and associates in the logistics and supply and security and distibution businesses and NGOs, and governments both receiving and giving and transiting. Thats many many many people. Just neither the ones who pay for this, nor those who really need it.

Anyone think I'm joking?

X said...

Entries on wikipedia are an excellent idea, but watch out for the clique that roams the place removing things that aren't considered PC. Your page will have to be actively maintained in its current state until they give up. :)

David Foster said...

What would a pirate do with a *bulk carrier* if he caught it? The whole nature of the vessel is that the cargo is relatively low-value per cubic foot...not something you can easily carry away...

Baron Bodissey said...

David, that's what I meant when I said I thought the pirates had made a mistake.

Or possibly they are stupid pirates. They may eventually become contenders for the Darwin awards...