Pirates off Somalia pretty much launched this blog three years ago this month. Three years after a cruise used an LRAD to fend of pirates one hundred miles offshore and little firm called Top Cat was awarded a $50m contract, piracy remains a significant issue. So significant that blog friend Galrahn tell us Santa’s elves may have to resort to wooden toys (made from bamboo? where’s the bamboo coming from? doh!):

Could the Somalian pirates ruin Christmas? Maybe, according to PC World, who notes that shipping company’s in Mombai are so frustrated with Somalian piracy shooting up their ships heading through the Suez that they are contemplating moving materials around the Cape of Good Hope instead. What does that mean? Well, higher prices for one, delayed shipments for another.

To investigate, friend David Axe is headed off to Somalia to practice more citizen journalism and needs your help.

The first week of December, I will be heading to the Horn of Africa to cover theescalating piracy crisis. I’m working hard to get sufficient assignments to cover expenses, but it’s looking pretty bleak. This is expensive work — costs for me will total around $10,000 — and in recent years the rates for freelancers have dropped by around half. So far, the value of my assignments is just $2,200 $2,800. I’m committed to doing this work, cost be damned, but it’d be nice not to fall into complete financial ruin.

Help out Dave if you can.

From Nov-Dec 2005:

From ‘today’:

Note: two years ago I had a category for piracy, but I killed it to keep the category list clean and focused. In lieu of reinstating “piracy”, a new, broader and necessary category is introduced with this post: Non-State Actors.

3 thoughts on “Pirates!

  1. I follow the Piracy situation pretty closely as well. It will never go away until governments relax restrictions and allow shipping companies to arm the crews. Only solution.

  2. @AnonymousI don’t agree. That solution is similar to arming all civilians in an insurgency. Arming merchants is a bad path and one that has been avoided for centuries for a reason.
    While crime, on the sea or on land, can’t be eliminated, it can be mitigated by intelligent countermeasures. In the case of Somali pirates, you don’t just use fly swatters to swat the flies but you find where they are breeding. The condition of piracy is rampant in areas without law and order and without alternatives.
    Now perhaps non-lethal devices, like the LRAD that was suspiciously onboard the S.S. Seabourne Spirit, should be permitted.

  3. I’ll add to my comment… private resources, ala Top Cat, Greystone (“Grey Water”?) etc could be an alternative. But remember Pinkerton and Wells Fargo agents from the American Old West operated as the law in lawless areas in ways that may be distasteful today. In the end, they still don’t address the root cause and you’re left swatting at flies. True, they’re flies with guns, but…Let’s go back to maritime law, notably the abolition of privateers. Would private sector fighters get letters of marque? Would they fly the flag of their sponsoring nation? If they don’t, then as far as I understand, they’re subject to harsh penalties under laws established over a century ago to do away with privateers. An interesting contemporary read on that subject is: The Abolition of Privateering and the Declaration of Paris.

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