Piracy on the High Seas

I’ve been following with interest the increasingly bold acts of high seas piracy taking place in the Indian Ocean off the African coast. While the capture of the Ukrainian-operated MV Faina in September was noteworthy for the loss of a cargo that included Soviet T-72 battle tanks, the taking last month of a Saudi oil tanker with a capacity of 2m barrels (more than one-quarter of Saudi Arabia’s daily output) begs the question, “Have the navies of the world become a bunch of wussies?”
Apparently I’m not the only one to wonder what the complex calculus is that is preventing shipping companies and foreign navies from repelling RPG-armed islamofascistcapitalistpirates in dinghies.

Andrew P. Morriss recently wrote to the Wall Street Journal:

“Your story on the growing numbers of pirates operating off the horn of Africa concludes that piracy is “raising complex questions” and that “America would be ill-advised to act unilaterally against the pirates.” Nonsense. Piracy raises but one question: What is the most effective means of stopping it? The answer to that question has been known since a group of pirates made the mistake of kidnapping the young Julius Caesar. After Caesar had been ransomed, he raised a force of men and captured the pirates. According to Plutarch, the local authorities were unable to decide what to do with the pirates, most likely because they were pondering various complex questions and worrying about acting unilaterally. Impatient with such dithering, Caesar “went off to Pergamus, where he ordered the pirates to be brought forth and crucified; the punishment he had often threatened them with whilst he was in their hands, and they little dreamt he was in earnest.” Pirate problem solved.

Andrew P. Morriss
Professor
Institute for Government and Public Affairs
University of Illinois
Champaign, Ill.

source: The Wall Street Journal online

Piracy Media Coverage

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One Response

  1. how about the us cruise ship outrunning the pirates? http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/03/world/africa/03pirates.html?ref=worldthat's pretty crazy. imagine the stories you would have about getting fired on by pirates and escaping from them on your vacation!

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