Vultures Row: Arrgh!


With the fairly recent Pirates movies it sometimes escapes our attention that there are still real pirates out there.

Some 200 people are being held hostage and around 26 ships are still held by the pirates. 62 vessels have been attacked off the coast of Africa alone this year. There is a US led effort at combating this, but the effort has hardly slowed the frequency of the attacks.

It is interesting that the most powerful navy in the world, can't deal with pirates. It is not like the days of old when any navy ship ran across a pirate and could open up with all cannon blazing. Today's pirates don't have their own ships, they use speed boats and swarm a merchant man, taking her over in minutes. The average age of a merchant crew is in the 60s, the pirates on the other hand are often young men in their 20s and 30s armed with machetes and automatic rifles. Hardly a match.

After a war ship encounters the pirates, the navy has to call its parent command, inform them if the situation and await orders. The ship shadows the captured vessel and then waits. In the mean time the crew is abused and the goods off loaded.


The highest profile case this year has been the MV Faina, a Ukrainian registered cargo ship loaded with 33 t-72 tanks and other assorted heavy weapons. The tanks are not as much of a concern to US security as something as big as a tank is hard to hide, but it is the explosives, grenades, rocket launchers and ammunition that should be worrisome. The navy has a Burke class destroyer, USS Howards on scene, well about 10 miles away. The pirates have issued a demand for $20 Million US to release the ship. The US is not allowing the ship to off load, but is not doing anything else but watching.


Its nice to know that our multibillion dollar weapon system is there watching while the estimated 30 pirates party and make phone calls to the press.


Blog contents copyright 2010 Vulture 6

Site Meter