Somali Pirates Ramp Up Hijackings
Freed hostage Captain Richard Phillips was supposed to reunite with his crew today in Mombassa. They were scheduled to fly back to the U.S. together. The plan fell apart because Captain Phillips was on the U.S.S. Bainbridge which had to attend to yesterday's failed pirate attempt to take the Liberty Sun, another U.S. ship. While the pirates failed, they caused some damage by throwing rocket grenades at the ship.
France captured 11 pirates yesterday by preempting an attack on a Liberian ship and raiding the pirates' boat before they could launch their attack. Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke yesterday about what's needed: Fewer expensive Navy ships. [More...]
Gates told the Air Force War College that the successful killings of three Somali pirates last week shows that the military doesn't need a billion-dollar ship to chase down a group of teenage pirates.
Here are some stats:
...brigands seized four vessels and more than 75 hostages since Sunday's dramatic rescue of an American freighter captain.
That brought the total number of sailors being held by Somali pirates to over 300 on 16 different ships — a distinct surge in the number of captives over the last few days.
As for the Pirates' future plans: not surprisingly, target American ships:
"We will seek out the Americans and if we capture them we will slaughter them," said a 25-year-old pirate based in the Somali port of Harardhere who gave only his first name, Ismail.
"We will target their ships because we know their flags. Last night, an American-flagged ship escaped us by a whisker. We have showered them with rocket-propelled grenades," boasted Ismail, who did not take part in the attack.
Bringing captured pirates to the U.S. for trial is a huge mistake and an unnecessary economic burden on the U.S. The world-wide attention to the individual pirates will make martyrs them. Handing them over to the State of Puntland or Kenyan courts, where they will receive lengthy prison terms, is a far worse fate for them.
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