20 March 2006

How dangerous are modern Pirates?

This piracy incident seems to grow as more and more people notice it and comment on it. I have seen the two of what I feel personally are the best bloggers (and the guys that got me interested in making my own); Neptunus Lex and Cdr Salamander. I have also since posting my short history lecture gotten a couple emails asking "Pirates like Black Beard, Jack Sparrow and such?". Well these Somalis were pirates in all of the legal sense of the terms and honestly if I had someone sticking a gun in my face or shooting rounds across my bow of my ship; expletives and the word pirates would be coming out of my mouth.
These are modern pirates:


Here are some of the weapons the USN captured over the weekend with these pirates.

Not this:


So that being said. Modern Pirates are some pretty vicious bunch like I said partially in an earlier post . The International Maritime Bureau has a Piracy Reporting Center in S.E. Asia. From the stats that I have read published by them they have had reported to them by shipping owners losses on average USD$35-50million per ship (that can add up to about 1-2 Billion dollars in lost revenue) that transit certain areas. Some of what pirates steal is either cargo, portions of the ship's equipment (things such as radios, life boats, ropes, etc), robbing the crew, to out right capture of a ship so that a large majority of its cargo is offload in a friendly anchorage.
So what does that mean to the common person reading this? Well basic economics. If a company is losing money to pirates stealing their goods then they need to pass that loss off to their consumers. Sometimes the price changes is minor but it is there.
What is really bad is how a large number of nations that are economically "third-world" have turned a blind eye to piracy operating in their home waters. Some of those places do so because it seems to favor the strongest politico that is in power and when they do clean up it is done almost similar in the way that some police forces in the USA use to look the other way when the Mob did hits. Go through arrest a couple low level guys and pretend to clean things up for a while and make good new video doing it. In reality the bite they did was either a portion that he bosses wanted to die or were their own competitors. So that being said there is attempts to combat piracy. Part of it has been a renewed effort by the US Navy as part of the larger Global War on Terrorism, the other part has been the increase in awareness on most nations parts about the need to combat piracy in their waters, and finally attempt to convene another UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and for the US and the rest of Europe to push for and allow "Hot Pursuit" of pirates into the territorial waters of other nations. Piracy is not something that we need to let stand and those nations that allow it or turn a blind eye to it should be put in the same category as the terrorist sponsoring states.
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