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Solving the Pirate Problem

Monday, April 13th, 2009
Posted in Politics by Joel Gross

Earlier I had written about the growing problem of piracy off the coast of Somalia. ‚ The pirates have continued to rapidly expand and are becoming better with their techniques. ‚ However, one story of an American ship captain caught by pirates brought much more attention to the issue recently.

The ship Maersk Alabama was captured by pirates, but the captain locked his crew in a hold and surrendered himself in exchange for his crew’s freedom. ‚ After a several day tragicomic standoff between the world’s most powerful navy and a lifeboat, Navy SEAL snipers ended the situation with three bullets. ‚ The fourth pirate had left the boat previously to receive medical treatment for an injury he had sustained. ‚ 

President Barack Obama did well to authorize lethal force here and he has come out with a statement that America is going to take action against other pirates as well.

8 thoughts on “Solving the Pirate Problem

  1. There is an easy way to solve this problem. The US Navy should have a no negotiation/hostage policy. This means that if pirates take over a ship, the US NAVY has full authority to kill everyone on that ship, including passengers. Basically they have the right to send a torpedo towards that ship and blow it up. They NAVY should have one mission, and that is to stop the hijackers at any cost. This way the pirates know that there is no way for them to gain anything from hijacking ships, they will only get killed along with the hostages. Initially this method will cost some innocent lives but very soon hijackers will stop hijacking. In the long run I think this will not only save millions of dollars but also innocent lives.

  2. I actually agree with you, though I wouldn’t torpedo the ships. Simply tell all pirates there will be no negotiations or ransoms from now on. We will kill everyone on board the ship, then bomb the shit out of your hometown. If you don’t want you goddamn elders running around with white phosophorous on their balls, don’t go messing with the good ol’ U.S. Navy. After we follow through a couple times, there will be no more reason for the pirates to exist.

  3. We should make it a bit of a World’s Toughest Military Forces Competition. See who can kill the most pirates, the fastest, with the littlest injury to civilians or private property… You get positive points for pirates killed or maimed, specialty shots, creativity, etc. You lose them for civilians killed (but ultimately pirates should be worth 2 points and civilians only -1, that way there is still incentives to take the risks). We’ll sell the recording rights to Fox, pay off the dead sailors’ family with advertising, and encourage military enlistment in one fell swoop. The international winner gets an extra spot on the UN Security council or payments from foreign countries. Brilliant.

  4. The pirate problem is only a symptom of the larger problem of the failed state of Somalia. While aggressive military force will deter more pirating, the lawlessness of the region can only be overcome by a much larger military involvement in the region – something like Iraq/ Afghanistan. I guess it’s convenient to only care about chaos in a region when it affects your own country, but the attitude of the US towards those three shoeless Somali pirates is a little unsettling.

  5. J, What do you suggest as a solution then? We obviously don’t want to get mired in another Lose-Lose situation like Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan. Should we end piracy and just let the Somalians sort out their own issues amongst themselves?

  6. I don’t have enough information to strategize and prioritize US foreign nation building. What I’m saying is these are miserable, failed chaotic states, with very desperate people. That we efficiently shot these three pirates in the head, while a job well done by our military, is not quite a feat worthy of bragging. It’s more of a grave and sober necessity to protect our own, and that should be the attitude – not blowhard boastfulness. There should be more conversation about the desperate situation the Somalians are in. Check out some pics of the three shoeless pirates here: http://abcnews.go.com/International/popup?id=6863980 More Somalian pirate pictures here: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/03/pirates_of_somalia.html

  7. They’re likely wearing no shoes to avoid the added drag should they fall overboard. Not a sign of “desperation” just strategically dressing for the job. The easiest solution is to arm the merchant marine, or allow companies the option to arm vessels which will be travelling in known pirate territory. This allows the crew to have an immediately viable response and greater numbers. 20 armed seamen versus 4 pirates is a much tougher nut to crack then giant container vessels attempting to evade smaller, speedier boats.

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