What is the world coming to when packs of young men in cheesy little speedboats can terrorize mammoth cargo and passenger vessels?
These so-called Somali “pirates” don’t even know enough to fly a skull and crossbones.
It’s sad when life is so bad that hostage-taking becomes a viable career option. But they’re hijacking vessels trying to bring them food and aid. As a way of overcoming poverty, it’s self-defeating.
And now the civilized world is wringing its hands over whether to arm crews of the targeted ships, and where the captured pirates should be put on trial.
Consider this: the crew of Maersk Alabama was unarmed, and it took circling warships and the USS Bainbridge 5 days to kill just 3 pirates and rescue the Alabama‘s captain, Richard Phillips.
Cost? Probably millions.
This past weekend, the Italian cruise ship MSC Melody had Israeli security guards on board who, embarrassingly, had to retrieve pistols from a safe while passengers kept a gaggle of pirates from climbing up the side by throwing deck furniture at them. But gunfire from the ship eventually repelled the attack.
Cost? A few bullets, plastic tables, and chairs.
It’s a no-brainer that all crews sailing the Indian Ocean should be armed, with orders to shoot to kill if attacked.
It also resolves the question of whose laws will prevail for crimes committed in international waters. Dead pirates need no trial.
The world must confront these seafaring thugs. The next bunch of pirates who sets sail needs to know the sea will be littered with little ghost ships crewed by skeletons or the rotting, bullet-riddled corpses of their predecessors.
If certain death becomes the immediate reward for attacking a ship, the pirates’ career prospects on land should look a lot brighter.