Walking the plank

So, they let those dastardly pirates go free. Free to run back to their fishing villages and spread the word that it really is a free for all on the high seas. Even being caught by a naval force just means lots of food and water for a few days before being sent home to try ones luck again.

Now let’s face it, most young Somali men face a bleak future in their home country, a land rife with extremist fighting and warlords in a lawless society.

Their options are few and far between, but I can’t help think piracy is a nice way out of it for them. They risk their lives to search out a ship, I have heard reports of pirates being forced to board vessels out of desperation as they have no food and water left  to get back to the coast or the mother ship.

But capturing a ship, or being captured themselves both offer nice rewards. Is this not a win-win situation for them.

The former offers a small slice of a multi million dollar ransom, the other the opportunity to be hauled before a court, preferably in Europe, to be found guilty and then incarcerated in a nice dry warm prison cell, from which they can emerge in five years time, having learnt a European language, and claim asylum. They can then remain in a nice rich Western country that was forced to have them because it had some, oft tenuous, connection to the ship they were attempting to kidnap.

The fact that imprisonment means so little to the pirates, who get better conditions in many a prison than their apparent lives in Somalia offer, goes someway to show what shipping is being faced with. And for a shipowner the problem is somewhat similar that of finding stowaways on-board.

There is no deterrent, and life means so little in such a lawless country that has seen so much internal warfare. I even wonder, given the reports of how these pirates are out at sea for so long looking for ships to attack,just how cut throat it is, just how many of them die of thirst or the knife of a fellow pirate.

Now I am not getting all liberal, nor pandering to the human rights people, nor am I saying these pirates should be left to suffer and die at sea. But so long as there is a tempting juicy apples within their reach, and there’s so much to gain, this problem is here to stay, especially of the groundsmen are powerless.

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