Saturday, April 11, 2009

There's More Than One Way to Skin a Pirate

I am on vacation with my family, so I haven't been following politics as closely as I normally do. Having said that, I have been bombarded by the pirate story. If you have escaped the news, go check out Fox News or CNN, I am not going to repeat the details here. However, as I write this, the situation is that the captain of the Maersk Alabama is still being held by pirates. The Alabama itself made it to port sometime yesterday, but the crew is still on board the vessel. It seems the FBI is considering the ship a crime scene and is trying to build a case against the pirates. Negotiations with "elders" claiming to represent the pirates today broke off when the American negotiators insisted the pirates be handed over to local authorities.

Before I get on my soap box, let me point out that my criticism's are not directed exclusively at the Obama administration. I wrote about pirates last year, and I was not impressed with how we handled that situation either. As I said then, pirates are the blood suckers of the modern world. All western nations should respond to pirates with as much speed and firepower as necessary. I would be quite happy if the Navy captured these pirates and hang them from the yard arm. One could make the argument that we should do everything in our power to return the captain safely home. Any outcome of the current situation that allows the pirates holding this captive to live will result in more pirate attacks on vessels flying U.S. colors. Our ships haven't been attacked by pirates in hundereds of years becuase we were preceived as too big of a threat to attack. If we do anything to diminish that view, we will see more pirate attacks, more hostages, more demands for ransom, and perhaps, more dead sailors.

When you attempt to take a ship by force, you take your life into your own hands. It's time to show pirates that if you attack American ships, we will respond with everything in our arsenal.


Drudge and others are reporting that the Navy rescued the captain after a firefight that killed three of the four pirates. Good Work!!


Brandon said...

It's great news that Captain Phillips was successfully rescued, but the solution to the problem is not the Navy as you suggest. We're wasting the resources of multimillion dollar destroyers and cruisers designed to shoot down Soviet planes and missiles to shoot up skiffs.

A better solution would be to aid neighboring nations to set up their own coast guards that could protect vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden.

Temporarily, our Navy as well as the other navies making up TF 151 would be better served if they can round up the ships into convoys. Roughly 100 ships transit the sea area in question daily, if the task force escorts the northbound and southbound sea traffic in two compact convoys, they would eliminate the gaps and duplicity in anti-piracy patrols that currently exist.

Our own coast guard, along with the British and possibly the French, could help train the new coast guards and possibly provide them with the cutters and weapons they would need. As the indigenous coast guards stand up, they can take over the convoy escorts and our ships and the NATO and EU ships can return to more important missions. It's a low risk, high reward scenario for us and our allies. We would stop wasting resources and it would take very little resources to start and train the new coast guards.

Andy D said...

Great comment Brandon. Long time no see. I am going to put my response to your comment in a new post.

pack04 said...

Have we not learned that giving arms to our "allies" comes back to bite us in the ass? What motivation do indigenous coast guards have to keep the pirates at bay?
The pirates are very popular in their home country. How long until those popular pirates make friends with those indigenous countries (that we have given arms to)? When they become friends what happens? That whole shipping channel would then become very dangerous and probably not usable.

As another thought now you have 100 ship convoys all together not spaced out. While grouping them together is a good idea for traveling this shipping lane what happens when they get to say the Suez canal in a huge bunch? They can't all go through at the same time. Same thing for ports? All bunched up like sitting ducks.