Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pirates Back Down

Not everything is going the Somali pirates’ way.

One hijacked ship has just been freed by military action — Somali military action, yet! — and another group of pirates has failed to make good on their threat to blow up the Ukrainian ship full of T-72 tanks if their demands weren’t met.

According to Fox News:

Soldiers from a semiautonomous Somali region, their guns blazing, freed a Panama-flagged cargo ship from pirates Tuesday as other pirates failed to act on their threat to blow up an arms-laden Ukrainian ship if no ransom was paid.

Relatives of crew members of the Ukrainian vessel, which is carrying battle tanks and other heavy weapons, have asked Ukraine to pay the ransom pirates have demanded. The demand started at US$20 million but appears to have been reduced.

The Panama-flagged vessel and its 11 crew members — nine Syrians and two Somalis — were freed after a gunbattle in which one soldier was killed and three wounded, said Deputy Seaport Minister Abdiqadir Muse Geele. No hostages or pirates were hurt, Geele said.

The 10 pirates who had held the ship since Thursday surrendered when they ran out of ammunition, said Geele, a deputy minister in the government of the northern Somalia semiautonomous region of Puntland.

Puntland’s Foreign Minister Ali Abdi Aware said his government’s ragtag coast guard can fight pirates in the region, which is a hotbed of maritime hijackings.

“We will continue to fight against pirates,” Aware said. “The world should halt paying ransom.”

The MV Faina, carrying a crew of 20, is still in one piece, said Lt. Stephanie Murdock, a spokeswoman for the 5th Fleet in Bahrain.

American warships continue to monitor the Faina, which is anchored near the Somali port of Hobyo, Murdock said.
- - - - - - - - -
A spokesman for the pirates had said Monday they were considering extending the deadline. They have held the ship and its crew since Sept. 25.

The pirates were not available for comment Tuesday.

Relatives of the crew members demanded Monday that the Ukrainian government stop delaying and just pay the ransom. They tried and failed to meet with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.

Ukraine’s government says it opposes the use of force against the pirates, but as a matter of policy it will not negotiate with terrorists. The government of Somalia has authorized other nations to use military force to end the hijacking.

The ship’s operator, the Tomex Corp. of Odessa, Ukraine, has not commented on negotiations.

The threat by the pirates holding the Faina was unusual. Pirates operating off Somalia rarely harm their hostages, instead holding out for ransoms that often exceed US$1 million.

Pirates have seized more than two dozen ships this year off the Horn of Africa, but the Faina has drawn intense interest because of its military cargo. U.S. warships have surrounded it since the beginning of the incident to prevent pirates from unloading the weapons.

International pressure on the pirates is growing. NATO is sending seven ships to the treacherous waters in which the Faina is being held.

My favorite line in this story: “The pirates were not available for comment.”

What are they, the board members of Fannie Mae?

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
    26 The Russians are Chasing the Somali Pirates
    26 A Quarrel Among Pirates
  Oct 1 Somali Government Asks for Russian Help Against Pirates
    3 Taking Kickbacks From Pirates
    9 Those Wascally Pirates
    9 Paying the Ransom


spackle said...

"The Panama-flagged vessel and its 11 crew members — nine Syrians and two Somalis — were freed after a gunbattle in which one soldier was killed and three wounded."

Is it just me or is it strange that force is used when the crew members happen to most likely be Muslim?

One_of_the_last_few_Patriots_left said...

"Geele, a deputy minister in the government of...northern Somalia...Puntland."

Government?? It is strange to see the word "government" in the same sentance with the word Somalia.
(But considering the stuff that our government here in the USA has been doing, I can't help but wonder if they are not actually better off without one.)

"We will continue to fight against pirates," Aware said. "The world should halt paying ransom."

No! Really?? You mean civilized people shouldn't BOOTLICK a bunch of ULTRA-VIOLENT THIRD WORLD BARBARIAN THUGS???
But, if we fight back, we might hurt the pirates feelings.......

OMMAG said...

I've been promoting the idea that the US military should just sink that Ukranian Freighter.

They can give the pirates a two minute warning and start target practice with the gunships.