Friday, May 02, 2008

A No-Pursuit Policy for Pirates

I reported last week about the capture by pirates of a Spanish fishing boat, and the rumored $1.2 million in ransom that was paid by the Spanish government to secure the release of the boat’s crew.

Today AMDG at La Yijad en Eurabia has revealed a startling twist to the story: the Spanish government refused to allow one of its naval vessels to pursue the pirates after they captured the fishing boat.

According to AMDG (who is translating from a Spanish-language news source):

Spanish Government did not gave permission to chase down the kidnappers when they run away with the ransom

The frigate Mendez Nunez is equipped with sophisticated surveillance systems for sea, land and air. It was monitoring in real time every move of the Somali pirates, who with the booty in their hands, flee the scene with several Zodiacs letting safe and alone the fishermen in Playa Bakio ship. The frigate, with a 600-kilometer range radar, did not intervene, in spite of having planned an operation to capture kidnappers and being at short distance of the ship. They had orders from the Spanish government not to do so, even when the lives of fishermen were not risk.


Among the recent acts of piracy in Somali waters, the Spanish tuna ship is the only one “resolved” without military intervention. That is, is the only case in recent years where it has been possible for the criminals to escape with the loot under the eyes of a naval ship that has the most advanced combat systems and high technology in the world. A system that, apart form Spain, only the U.S. Navy has [They may be exaggerating… If this is the case, it is obviously because it was acquired from the US Navy. In any case, the name of the system is not mentioned — translator]. In previous cases, a French yacht and a Dubai tanker, the French army and the Somali one intervened in the operation. In the Spanish case, the frigate was only allowed to act as a passive witness.

The way chosen by Zapatero — the “diplomatic negotiation” —which has led to accept the blackmail with the surrender of the ransom money — has caused great embarrassment among the Armed Forces, which fail to understand why the Government did not allow the frigate to intervene in order to prevent the escape of the kidnappers with the ransom. They consider that the decision of the Executive represents a serious setback for the international prestige of the Spanish Armed Forces and say that their European colleagues have let them know their surprise for the failure to intervene against the Somali kidnappers.

- - - - - - - - -

The sources consulted claim that it would have been perfectly feasible to undertake an operation similar to that of France. In this case, following the payment of the ransom, the French forces deployed in the area followed the hijackers of the yacht “Le Ponant” and capture them onshore. After being arrested, the pirates were taken to an aircraft carrier and sent to France. […] On the opposite, Zapatero’s Government chose not to act despite the fact that the control and surveillance systems of the frigate and the preparation of the troops guaranteed a successful intervention.


De la Vega [Vice-president], satisfied

While the pirates enjoy the spoils and the Armed Forces criticize that the military was only allowed to act as witnesses to a crime, Teresa Fernandez de la Vega declared yesterday that the executive “has done everything needed and nothing that should not be done” and refused to speak about the payment of a ransom.

Source: El Gobierno impidió que la fragata actuara después de pagar el rescate. Moreover, this article (Spanish) elaborates on the growing irritation among military and the opposition against the Government’s decision not to capture the pirates.

Go over to La Yijad en Eurabia for links to the original news articles and additional information in Spanish.


Andrew X said...

The world is very simple to understand.

Cowardice is a magnificent virtue, to be taught, to live by, to hold holy.

Courage and valor are contemptible, disgraceful, and deserving of the worst condemnation.

Understand and internalize these two concepts, and vast swaths of global politics and sociology suddenly become clear.

And civilization will be just fine, no need to worry. Move along.

Jungle Jim said...

There is an easier solution than catching the pirates and bringing them to justice.

Sink their ship.

closed said...

Or just hang them from the yardarm.

you'd be surprised what laws and treaties are still on the books.

Frank said...

Hey, paying ransoms work just fine. Just ask the Heptarchy about paying Danegeld. What is the Heptarchy you ask? Well, it was a bunch of kingdoms in Britain that eventually got conquered and became part of the Danel...nevermind, it's not important...they got the hostages back, didn't they?

Henrik R Clausen said...

Explosives delivered at high speed remains my favorite 'payment' to pirates...

By bailing out their own staff in this cowardly way, the Spanish government shows a terrifying lack of solidarity with all other nations having ships in that area - that is, just about every seagoing nation.

They got their boys out. And are hoping that next time the pirates will nab someone else.

The pirates are in business, and this is fairly profitable, as long as the 'business risks' are small. We need to increase those risks. Or simply run them out of money so they can't get fuel & ammunition.

The Spanish response accomplished none of those goals.

Bilgeman said...

I'll don my ceremonial robes here to speak for my brother seamen.

For f*ck's sake, ARM us!

Stuff yer gun control and non-violence philosophy staright up yer stern gland.
And if you're gonna "play lawyer" and not let your Navy sink pirates, then make space to stuff yer frigates, too.

This rusty old beat-down piece of ship is my HOME, see?

What kind of asswipes make it illegal for men to defend their homes?

ARM us.

(And you can then save a lot of money by not building, operating and crewing naval and coast guard vessels that would be allowed to do nothing more than float around with their thumbs up their bum.)

Anonymous said...

Or just hang them from the'd be surprised what laws and treaties are still on the books.

The new UN "Law of the Sea" (LOST) Treaty puts the Turtle Bay Pirates who brought you the Oil-for-Food scam into direct control of the 71% of the Earth's surface covered by water. You can imagine they will protect their own and outlaw the mistreatment of Somali pirates.

Anonymous said...

I suppose next we will get a story of how Interpol was pursuing kidnappers after they received their ransom but were told to veer off because a run of the license plate through the computer revealed the getaway car was registered to a one Mohammad Hassim Jamal ibn al-Fayed.

Profitsbeard said...

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison knew what to do with their Islamic (Barbary) Pirates.

Capture their ships, hang their crews, and repeat as necessary.

Nothing in the construction of the neck has changed enough to alter this winning recipe.

Joanne said...

Gee, an easy 1.2 million for less than a day's work - I wonder how many more pirates will want for a piece of the action.

PRCalDude said...

Are we dealing with the Barbary powers all over again now?

closed said...

Some of the more important nations haven't signed that piece of garbage.

And Bilgeman: privately owned American Flagged merchantmen do have the right to arm their vessels.

Including cannon ( hint: a Destructive Device transfer to a corporative entity does not require Law Enforcement approval ... just paperwork and a $200 tax on the breach-ring and on each HE shell ).

Canadian privateers discovered this the hard way in 1812 ...

( if you vessel is American-flagged, then it is disarmed per the owner's policy ... not by law )

Bilgeman said...


"( if you vessel is American-flagged, then it is disarmed per the owner's policy ... not by law )"

From 20 years before the mast, I can tell you that company policy IS THE LAW out here.

The thing is, many countries get their knickers in a twist about US ships having guns...even the Captain's lousy .38.

The Japanese, for one. I know a master who had to sink a derelict in the South China Sea, and his next port of call was in Japan.

The Japanese authorities went apesh*t...made him fill out affidavits and such for each and every round he'd fired to sink the hulk.

Sad fact of the matter is that companies are so terrified by possible litigation that they're willing to let their crews be killed or captured, rather than allow them a fighting chance at self-defense.