Monday, November 17, 2008


The pirates are about again, me buckos. But it's not funny. Not funny at all.

Somali pirates have commandeered a Saudi oil tanker off the coast of Africa. That these pirates have taken over the Sirius Star is a serious problem. The tanker has 2 million barrels of crude oil on it. The value of the oil is about $100 million or so, but the problem isn't necessarily the monetary value of the booty. It's the fact that these pirates could unleash an environmental catastrophe on the African coast that would dwarf the damage done by the Exxon Valdez. There's about 20 times the amount of oil on the Sirius Star as their was on the Valdez. It would be very easy to imagine these guys running arground somewhere, or scuttling the ship if their demands are not met.

The continuing problem is that Somalia is essentially a lawless state and there's no one who seems willing to undertake the effort to control these guys. The report I've linked from the Times of London indicates that the pirates have greatly expanded their range and are now operating well into the Indian Ocean. The attack took place some 450 nautical miles southeast of the Kenyan coast, which is a long ways from Somalia.

There are a lot of problems in the world and we certainly don't have the means to solve them all. An incident like this is a pretty good reminder that no matter the results of this election, we don't have the option of turning inward too much. To do so would be, well, inconceivable.


Anonymous said...

Someone needs to reign in those Swarthy Dogs. Arghhh!

In all seriousness, how hard can it possibly be to send in some naval ships, or perhaps Puff the Magic Dragon, and take these lawless idiots out. I'd think even the French Navy would have the technology for that.

Night Writer said...

My understanding is that most of the piracy taking place off the coast of Africa and in the vicinity of the Malacca Straits are "smash & grab" types of raids conducted via small boats such as zodiacs. Taking over a tanker, 450 miles out at sea, bespeaks a greater capability and ambition at work. All the more reason right now to move in on these particular pirates with a commando raid and return the survivors to their homeland - from about 1,000 feet up.