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Ear to the Ground

Fighting Pirates in the 21st Century

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Posted on Oct 2, 2008
U.S. Navy / Cmdr. Michael Junge

Pirates have been attacking ships off Somalia for years. Here a merchant vessel sails free after a ransom was paid.

Piracy has gotten so bad off the coast of Somalia that the European Union is prepared to form an anti-piracy force to police the region. The unresolved seizure of a freighter loaded with Russian tanks is the most recent in a spate of incidents involving more than 60 vessels and $30 million in ransom so far this year.


The European Union has agreed to establish an anti-piracy security operation off the coast of Somalia.

French Defence Minister Herve Morin said at least eight countries have agreed to take part.

The deal follows the seizure of a ship laden with 33 tanks—a $20m (£11m) ransom is wanted for its release.

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By Lost, October 5, 2008 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

Wrong reposting on BBC article

There are no Russian tanks, please look on article closely.

“The claim that the tanks on board the Ukrainian ship were going to South Sudan has been strongly denied by Kenyan and Ukrainian authorities.”

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By RightWing, October 3, 2008 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

Duck, I agree with you, but what about their rights,?

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By RightWing, October 3, 2008 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

Aye mateys, Capt. Ahab Obama, I went with the FISA bill, spy all yee want…...

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By cyrena, October 2, 2008 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

By Old Geezer, October 2 at 6:58 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

We have 24/7 satellite coverage of the planet capable of reading headlines off a newspaper. Ships are larger and move at 20 knots. Why is it we cannot SPY an attack before it happens? How can pirates operate in a satellite/GPS world?


A few answers to your questions here old geezer. First, ‘we’ don’t have 24/7 satellite coverage of the entire planet, even though the TV would have us believe that. The Oceans are the large bodies of water that so far, DON’T have even square mile covered by GPS. Yes, there is more global coverage than there was a decade ago, but everything ‘we’ have, THEY have too.

Then, even if we could ‘spy’ an attack before it happens, WHO would be doing the spying? Just more pirates spying on other pirates.

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By DR-Montreal, October 2, 2008 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

Are we supposed to feel sorry for the French war protiteers shipping their weapons by sea, and caught with their pants down off the coast of Somalia? The real global pirates are the U.S., Israel, Britain, France, Russia, Ukraine, Germany and others who arm the 2nd and 3rd world for profit, shamelessly selling to the highest bidder.
Want some armour and helicopter gunships to control the impoverished masses beyond the palace wall? Pop into the Brussels Arms Fair once a year and shop for the latest death systems offered by western governments. Prompt shipment and delivery to a port under your control by tanker assured… eh, unless it is intercepted by pirates.

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By samosamo, October 2, 2008 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

I guess a time finally comes when action is to be taken to prevent something like this especially since it occurs in a frequent manner. So that could mean that whoever is benefitting from these pirates seizing all these ships for ransom will have to go along with the community that wants to stop it. Possible we have not seen nor heard the last of this as there is too much money flowing around in these operations for there not to be some ‘men behind the curtain’ scenario. Remember, Rockerfeller helped the nazis by providing air craft fuel to bomb London and help the russians during the cold war to finance their industry(just like a good little member of the bilderberg group and the cfr & imf) and same as prescott bush—senior, and w’s father/grandfather—helped finance the nazis in wwII.

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By Big B, October 2, 2008 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

The one item I am interested in is not the “yar” pirates, but just where were those tanks headed, and how many more ships packed with munitions are speeding towards the middle east? Don’t we already know what happens when you give a monkey a gun?

Speaking strictly as Pittsbugher, I think we should send our Pirates to the east African coast. Perhaps piracy on the high seas will be more to their liking than baseball.

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By DuckPhup, October 2, 2008 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

There is a related BBC article about life in a pirate town. It relates how piracy is the mainstay of the local economy. The pirating proceeds are used for fancy cars… mansions…

With all those warships hanging around, I think it is only fair that 5 or 10 rounds of 5” HEPD (High Explosive, Point Detonate) per mansion should be applied… followed by a few rounds of Willie-Pete (WP - White Phosphorous). After that, they could take out the docked speedboats and anchored mother ship(s). Then… AFTER that… tell the town-folk that they’ve got 2-hours to evacuate… then level the place, paying particular attention to docks, piers, and related support facilities.

Proceed to the next pirate town… rinse and repeat.

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By Old Geezer, October 2, 2008 at 7:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We have 24/7 satellite coverage of the planet capable of reading headlines off a newspaper. Ships are larger and move at 20 knots. Why is it we cannot SPY an attack before it happens? How can pirates operate in a satellite/GPS world?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 2, 2008 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

Thought pirates were supposed to be on the high seas, with the wind blowing thorough their tooth, what the heck do they want with tanks, oh - they were trying kidnapping?  No, lets call it extortion something we know about here in the good old USA,  Wonder if pirates have an unelected president and a non representative congress?  If so maybe we should allow these pirates to run for office, hell they seem a lot smarter than our pirates. 

“Arr…, me hearties”  newest appropriate greeting for Washington insiders, of course they follow with the ever present,...... wink, wink!

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By Fahrenheit 451, October 2, 2008 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

My God; we haven’t blown them to hell yet?  Why haven’t we blown the ship to Davie Jones Locker?  Something is very wrong here.  This behavior is not normal for America; oh my God!  Whats happening?  I’m so confused!

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