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A Quick Thought About Pirates…

April 13, 2009

Somali pirates have operated with impunity for several years. Then they made the mistake of siezing an American cargo vessel and holding the captain hostage. Since that’s not the sort of crap you just let happen, the Navy SEALs showed up and taught the pirates three powerful lessons in ballistics trajectories.

Now the pirates are vowing revenge.

To which I say…huh?

How hard can it be…seriously…to defend shipping against pirates armed with speedboats and assault rifles?

Not very.

Here’s the solution.

1) Form convoys (strength in numbers, yadda yadda)

2) Bring along a cruiser or destroyer or two

3) Profit

Look. We used the convoy system pretty effectively in a little conflict called World War II. And back then we didn’t have the guided munitions or state-of-the-art real-time surveillance that we have today. And instead of dudes with speedboats at AKs, were were fighting off U-BOATS driven by EVIL NAZIS.

How hard is this, seriously?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Bonnie MacDougall permalink
    April 14, 2009 12:37 pm

    Drudged all Sunday, waiting for news: captain’s out, everyone’s dead, Seals are so cool.That American gut feeling swooshed over me. Later,a niggling thought: the 12th century Hebridean history of pillaging and being plundered at the hands of or in league with the Norwegians.Didn’t the great Thane Somerled,Lord of the Isles, truck with pirates? Didn’t he pirate at the Norwegians to establish his independent kingdom? YIKES.Was it ok then but not now? Or is it always whose side you’re on? BUAIDH NO BAS!

  2. Matt permalink*
    April 14, 2009 12:55 pm

    Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh were also what amounted to state-sanctioned pirates (i.e. privateers).

    I don’t think piracy is ever something to be lauded, but I’m also willing to accept that it is sometimes in the interests of the state or individual (just like war…).

    Right now, piracy is easy money for relatively little risk for the Somalians who engage in it. The situation’s actually pretty similar to the Mediterranean pirates of the 1st century B.C.

    Then as now, the key is to make the risks well outweigh the potential reward. Of course, I don’t think world opinion would be okay with approaching the problem the way Pompey did, but escorted convoys backed up by naval firepower could go a long way.

  3. April 15, 2009 7:12 pm

    Ron Paul suggests “letters of marque.”
    This is amusing to me considering that my grandmothers family made a decent profit during the revolution by plundering British shipping under just such letters….
    And I agree with you about convoys but running a Navy much more expensive than buying inurance…thus convoy protection would seem to be outside the realm of a shipping federation. That being said this would be a great Job for the B-team Navy’s of the United Nations. You would think that nations such as Finland and Norway could field enough vessels to fend off guys in boats with AK’s.
    Hell, the Japanese have a trade dependent economy and have been chomping at the bit to re-militarize, let them escort ships.

  4. April 18, 2009 9:23 am

    Just call in Chuck Norris……..Problem Solved!

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