Fascinated, I have been reading news stories over the past year about the new Somalian pirates. When I read the first story, I was amazed that these guys were operating in our modern world. I thought the gangs of pirates went out with Treasure Island. Apparently there is little or no semblance of a government in Somalia and bad guys rule and do as they wish. Somalia sounds like one of Blackbeard's safe havens back in the golden age of pirates. Algiers was a popular haven for pirates in those days of old. These modern pirates are not far removed from Robert Lewis Stevenson's novels, except they have high powered weapons and electronic communication and motorized craft.
Sure, I have known for years that some piracy took place. For example, bad guys were sometimes taking over rich people's yachts and sometimes the rich people vanished. That is more like murder and robbery but this new bigtime trend is nothing like that. These teams of pirates swarm large cargo ships and ships with commodities or valuables on board. These pirates are not to be confused with terrorists. The pirates are in it for money, not specifically for mayhem or publicity for a cause. They want bucks. They will use their weapons if necessary, but the primary goal is to intimidate with the guns and to hijack the ship and stay on-board until some company or government will pay millions of dollars to get them to leave.
A major breaking story this morning is that, for the first time, the pirates have had the courage to take a ship flying the US flag. The ship they have seized sails out of Virginia and is owned by a US subsidiary of a Danish company. A crew of twenty Americans is being held captive.
These pirates are emboldened. In the last few days, they have taken action against ships with French, British, Italian and now US crews.
It seems like the time has come to stop this international treachery. There must be some way to put an end to this old-world crime that has had a major revival on the open waters. You can read the latest on the capture of the US crew at Reuters.