Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I Should Say So--Look at the Blouse!

The cruise ship pirate attack story keeps getting better and better: It turns out that Somalia has three "well-organized pirate groups" operating off its coast and that since March 15 there have been 25 pirate attacks in Somali waters.

More: The cruise ship employed a sonic weapon against the pirates.


Anonymous said...

Bet the poor people on the cruise ship hadn't packed for that. Some of them had cameras, though, and captured the pirates smiling as they shot at the ship. Why do they have to be so...dramatic and flamboyant? It just makes me want to...set myself on FIRE!

arrScott said...

"Worse and worse," you mean. Maritime piracy has been getting worse almost every year for a decade now, and pirate groups are becoming larger and more organized. What had been a crime of opportunistic small gangs is becoming a highly organized racket. And most of the world's maritime pirates just happen to be Muslims who operate in the same regions as many of the world's most active and organized violent Islamists (the Horn of Africa and southern Arabia; the Indonesian archipelago; the Philippines).

Pirates have already moved from raiding ships in order to commit simple robbery to seizing ships for their cargoes, reflagging the ships for continued use in the smuggling racket. These reflagged "ghost ships," many of them repainted and given forged documents in corrupt Chinese ports, form an unregulated fleet of apparently legitimate vessels already used by rogue governments in their dealings with terrorist groups like Hizballah and Fatah's al-Aqsa Brigades. In addition, maritime security experts believe businesses owned or established by Osama bin Laden operate several, possibly a dozen, of these pirate-seized "ghost ships."

There is a naval front in the war on terror, which has been largely ignored by our civilian leaders, from the president on down. Fortunately, the U.S. Navy remains on station around the globe, although without the material resources and diplomatic relations it needs to take the fight for the freedom of the seas to the pirates. (Few pirate attacks occur in international waters where the Navy can operate without local permission.) Military-to-military contacts outside of civilian diplomatic channels are helping somewhat, but the problem of maritime piracy is getting more acute nonetheless.

If North Korea, Pakistan, or, one day, Iran, ever export nuclear warheads, they will probably make use of pirate organizations. And if terrorists ever obtain a nuclear device, the surest way to deliver it to an American city would be on board a pirate-seized "ghost ship." Such a vessel can approach a number of our largest coastal cities and explode a nuclear device with almost no chance of detection or interdiction.

About the only good thing to come of last year's tsunami was that an unknown but significantly large number of pirates in and around the Strait of Malacca were killed and/or their boats destroyed. This has led to a decline in worldwide pirate attacks in 2005.