Sea Transportation: The Scary Somali Pirates

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January 30, 2006: Somali pirates are unfazed by seeing one of their ships seized by an American destroyer on January 21st. The next day, pirates seized a UAE (United Arab Emirates) ship 240 kilometers off the Somali coast, and are holding the ship, and its crew of twenty, for ransom. A few days later, two speedboats full of armed pirates attempted to take a larger ship, but were unable to board. Meanwhile, one of the pirate leaders has threatened to kill some of their captives if the pirates held by the Americans are not released.

The U.S. Navy has warned merchant ships to stay 400 kilometers from the coast of Somalia. But that costs the shipping companies in terms of additional fuel and time. So ships take a chance, cruising closer to the Somali coast. Most of the time, that works. But the pirates are still out there, at least 240 kilometers out there in the case of the captured UAE ship. No nation has expressed an interest in clearing out the pirates, which would require attacking the ports the pirates use as bases. It is believed cheaper, and a lot less trouble, to warn commercial shipping to stay far off the Somali coast.

 


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