Thursday, October 02, 2008

Pirates of the African Horn

The Somali pirates are confusing me. I know you can't go around stealing cargo off freighter ships. I know that pirates probably do very bad things sometimes.

But damned if it doesn't sound like something cool and right out of another century. There's even a pirate village, where an entire infrastructure has sprung up around piracy. I have to admit that it sounds so romantic, so Robin Hood. Like many people, I have an affinity for the underdog (which works less well in dating, but that's another story).

So I'm watching the pirates who have the Ukranian ship right now, and I'm reading about their grand statements, and as romantic as it sounds to "only die once," I'm guessing that they have seen too many movies, and maybe don't quite understand that being surrounded by US warships and having the EU organizing an ass-kicking means that yes, you only die once, and that time is likely coming to them quite soon.

Should have quit while they were ahead. Should have walked away from the Ukranian ship once it sparked so much interest. Instead, their entire pirate-ville and way-of-life is going to get stomped.

Silly pirates.

I posted a gallery of photos of freighter ships from my 2001 trip around the world. I traveled on four ships that year, though no pirates happened to board.


Zora said...

Did you read the interview with one of the pirates in the NYT yesterday? (I think the whole thing was online only--oh, here.)

They cast themselves as more like the Somali coast guard, keeping an eye out for illegal fishing, dumping...and arms dealing.

I'm definitely pro-pirate.

Marie said...


"Our name is the Central Region Coast Guard."

Even funnier how many of the commenters compared them to guys in finance holding us for $700 billion in ransom. What a riot.

But, uh, the pirates will get stomped. Was there ever any doubt?

Amanda Castleman said...

"Resting on laurels" just doesn't seem to be their strong suit, sadly. Me, I'd probably knock off after the $30m haul. But the average marauder seemingly never has enough booty...

Marc Siry said...

They had a good gig going, as long as they stayed below the threshold of awareness and cost. If they had stuck to knocking off trawlers full of scrap metal for a few hundred thou a pop, no one would have bothered to mobilize a nuclear-armed navy to go after them.

Marie said...

And if they'd quickly said, "Oops, sorry, here, take your weapons, please, we really don't want any more here where enough people have died already," they might have managed to keep their way of life going for a bit longer.

Which I suppose proves that while they like a nice adventure, they are likely kind of stupid. Which is a shame. I like the notion of a bright, scrappy pirate who just needs an opportunity and a little education.