Friday, September 26, 2008

The Russians are Chasing the Somali Pirates

Those pesky Somali pirates may have made a mistake: they attracted the attention of the Russians.

By hijacking a Ukrainian freighter full of armament, the pirates have earned a visit from a Russian warship. The British are required by law to give captured Somali pirates asylum when they reach the UK, because the poor buccaneers may face persecution (!) if they are returned to their homeland, but one assumes the Russians will not be observing such niceties.

According to the AP:

Russian Warship Heads to Africa After Pirate Attack

A Russian warship on Friday rushed to intercept a Ukrainian vessel carrying 33 battle tanks and a hoard of ammunition that was seized by pirates off the Horn of Africa — a bold hijacking that again heightened fears about surging piracy and high-seas terrorism.

U.S. naval ships were in the area and “monitoring the situation” and a U.S. Defense Department official said Washington was concerned about the attack. “I think we’re looking at the full range of options here,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

It was unclear whether the pirates who seized the 530-foot-long cargo ship Faina on Thursday knew what it carried. Still, analysts said it would be extremely difficult to sell such high-profile weaponry like Russian tanks..

The hijacking, with worldwide pirate attacks surging this year, could help rally stronger international support behind France, which has pushed aggressively for decisive action against Somali pirates.

Russian navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo told The Associated Press that the missile frigate Neustrashimy left the Baltic Sea port of Baltiisk a day before the hijacking to cooperate with other unspecified countries in anti-piracy efforts.

But he said the ship was then ordered directly to the Somalia coast after Thursday’s attack.
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U.S. Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said the United States was worried about the ship’s cargo. “A ship carrying cargo of that nature being hijacked off the coast of Somalia is something that should concern us, and it does concern us. And we are monitoring the situation and taking a look at what the options might be,” Whitman said.


Roger Middleton, another Chatham House researcher, said it was unlikely the pirates knew there were tanks aboard the Faina, and also said unloading the cargo would be difficult. “Most of their attacks are based on opportunity. So if they see something that looks attackable and looks captureable, they’ll attack it,” he said.

Middleton said it was unclear how the pirates might react if confronted by military action, noting that they have fled from authorities in the past. On the other hand, he said, they are usually well-armed and organized and are based in an unstable country — Somalia. “It could potentially get pretty messy,” he said.

Previous posts about the Somali pirates:

2005 Nov 5 Barbary Pirates Redux
    8 Update on the Somali Pirates
    14 The Mother Ship
2006 Mar 24 The Jamaica-Somalia Connection
  Apr 8 The Taliban, Somali-Style
  Jul 5 Pirates in the Strait
2007 Jun 5 Somali Pirates Take Danish Hostages
    6 The Territorial Waters of a Failed State
    8 Q-Ships for the Somali Coast?
    11 Pirates Demand Ransom for Danish Seamen
    13 Q-Ships, Pirates, and the Waters off Somalia
    25 The Danica White Runs Out of Food and Water
  Jul 11 Gossip-Mongers in Denmark
    21 The Danica White: Eight Weeks and Counting
  Aug 22 The Danica White Has Been Released
  Nov 24 Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Snaps
2008 Apr 21 A Spanish Danica White?
    29 Reputed $1.2 Million Paid to Free Spanish Hostages...
  May 2 A No-Pursuit Policy for Pirates
  Aug 23 Targeting the Somali Pirates
    23 More on Task Force 150
  Sep 8 Danish Ship Averts Pirate Attacks
    11 Those Undeterred Somali Pirates

Hat tip: VH


Afonso Henriques said...

Long live the ressurected two headed eagle of Byzantium!

Those Somalis will now "eat the bread the devil produced".

xlbrl said...

It is an obvious mistake to capture pirates. That is not how you end the problem.

Joanne said...

Is Russia looking to gain brownie points from the Ukraine for this? I'm thinking so.

The Anti-Jihadist said...

Why not hire some outfit like Blackwater to go in and do what needs to be done? Namely--go to the Somali towns that provide shelter, sustenance and supply for the pirates and erase such places from the earth. That would provide an old school 'disincentive' for such misbehavior.

Of course, all it would take is some video on al-Beeb of such action (or its aftermath), accompanied by a disparaging voiceover from some leftie journalist in London tut tutting about 'murderous mercenaries'... and the waves of condemnation would come rolling in.

It would be nice for the Russians to actually take care of the dirty laundry in this particular case. Georgia shows that they care not so much about 'international opinion.'

Henrik R Clausen said...

If the Russians deal with this problem to the satisfaction of Ukraine, they'll earn a *lot* of credit that our dialogue-seeking pissy-ass politicians cannot understand.

Pirates need to be blown out of the water. That'll teach the survivours.

Denmark just returned 10 pirates to the shores of Somalia. Why? Noone was interested in taking them to court. Further, if we had brought them to Denmark, they'd probably apply for asylum!

I repeat, they deserve only to be blown to bits. One decent gun against their crappy boats should do the job. This is war, and actually using the guns of our fine gunboats is quite appropriate.

But it probably takes Russians to get someone to take action. This is not a matter of 'World opinion', it is a matter of protecting out trade, be it weapons or watermelons.

Henrik R Clausen said...

As for dealing with this in accordance to international law, I believe the proper thing would be to issue the government of Somalia (whoever it may be this week) an ultimatum:

Either you eradicate the pirates.

Or we move in and do it for you.

Give them a month. Or two, doesn't matter much. Non-extensible, that's important.

And when that time is up, three or more 'governments' later, we just go in and hammer them relentlessly. Official army, no Blackwater needed, and hard.

Zenster said...

That hysterical giggling you hear in the background is O. Henry (author of The Ransom of Red Chief), laughing from beyond the grave. If ever there was a case of: Be Careful About What You Wish For ...

How these Somali pirates manage to debark from their commandeered vessels without first having assumed room temperature defies all reason. If ever a specific group cried out for terminal swift onset high velocity lead poisoning, it is them.