You thought piracy had stopped? Just because we don’t see headlines on hijacked ships, doesn’t mean there aren’t any. However, at least one newspaper cares deeply about the issue and regularly carries news and editorials about it.
West Coast Sailors, the newspaper of the Sailors Union of the Pacific, first alerted us years ago, long before the major news organizations covered it. The big problem at that time was the South China Sea. Now, not just Chinese, but Somalian, pirates are jumping onto ships, killing sailors and carrying off cargo.
Eventually, the United Nations woke up and issued a call for “a comprehensive international response” to the problem. Big cotton-pickin’ deal. The WCS reports in its Dec. 16, 2011 issue that “the European Union Naval Force (EU Navfor) has said there will be a shortage of navy vessels at the start of 2012.”
“An EU Navfor spokesman said that based on the current plans, there would be a period from January to March 2012 when the number of ships available to EU Navfor would be below the ideal requirement.” The WCS notes that since the weather is bad at that time, it’s not a terribly big problem, but still, we think the sailors are nervous.
EU Navfor notes that for the period Oct. 2010 to Oct 2011, there were almost 20 attacks, but only one ship was actually hijacked this year, compared to four last year. The pirates are being foiled, but they are getting desperate, a Navfor spokesman said.
Here’s another good metric: in Jan. 2011, pirates were holding 32 ships hostage. By November, they were down to 11. Check at the link for more figures on this. The trend is improving. But there goes the impotent UN, calling on other entities (state and regional organizations) to provide more ships, more arms, more airplanes, more seizures, etc., etc.
Good old UN. Always a day late and a dollar short.
But, while we may sneer at the impotence of this international body of busybodies, take note of the scariest sentence in this article. Read it slowly and carefully, or like IFO, you may miss its real significance:
“The Security Council has extended state authorization to enter Somalia’s territorial waters to suppress piracy and use all necessary means to stop the crime for another year.”