Wednesday, April 15, 2009

11 Pirates Are Seized in Raid by French Navy

It's good to see the civilized world is having a little success fighting back against Somali piracy. Here is what the New York Times is reporting today:
French forces detained 11 suspected pirates during an assault on what they described as a pirate “mother ship” in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Somalia Wednesday, less than 24 hours after an American cargo ship was attacked by pirates in the same region. The French forces initially responded to a distress call from a Liberian-flagged container ship, the Safmarine Asia, which came under attack by rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire from two small pirate skiffs Tuesday night. A helicopter from the Nivôse arrived on the scene and observed the skiffs retreating and returning to the “mother ship” — actually, a 30-foot boat — which was being used as a floating base about 460 miles off the Somali coast, according to a statement by the European Union’s Maritime Security Center. The French forces then mounted their assault on the boat on Wednesday, and found a range of firearms and equipment on board along with 17 barrels of fuel. The Nivôse took the boat and the skiffs in tow and made for the port of Mombasa, Kenya, the Maritime Security Center said. Once it arrives, the detainees are expected to be sent on to France to be prosecuted.

I have an idea that I have not heard from anyone else: station 20 or so submarines at intervals off the coast of Somalia on the lookout for pirates. Whenever and wherever the subs spot (on sonar) a small boat, the type the pirates are using, heading out to sea, have the submarines fire a torpedo and, shiver me timbers, blow the pirates to kingdom come. Insofar as the argument is, we won't spot them because the sea is too large, I have to wonder in counterpoint: the small pirate crafts don't seem to have trouble locating the merchant ships in that big sea. I think if the likelihood of death for the pirates became greater than 50 percent, they would give up this inane hostage-taking scheme.

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