26 April 2009

Terrorists on the High Seas

Piracy has become a major issue off the coast of Somalia. This past Saturday an Italian cruise ship was attacked by pirates and was able with the help of their security crew to fight them off. There are two major issues going on here:

1 - The security crew was Israeli. A fact that only a few news sources actually mentioned.
2 - The concept of self defense was at play here.

We'll begin with the Jerusalem Post. No surprises here. The JPost article begins with this piece of information.
Israeli private security guards exchanged fire with pirates who attacked an Italian cruise ship with 1,500 people on board far off the coast of Somalia, the ship's commander said Sunday.

The Associated Press mentions the Israeli security in the third paragraph.
In a new twist to the increasing scourge of Somali pirate hijackings, the private Israeli security forces aboard the MSC Cruises ocean liner fired on the pirates Saturday with pistols and water hoses, preventing them from clambering aboard, the company's director Domenico Pellegrino said.

The New York Times even mentions this by reprinting the Associated Press article.

The BBC does not.
Capt Ciro Pinto said six pirates in a speedboat approached his Melody ship and opened fire, but then fled after security men fired in the air.

He said his crew also sprayed water on the gunmen when they tried to climb aboard using a ladder.

United Press International (UPI) gave a more detailed account of the attack but neglected this piece of information.
A group of pirates were chased away from an Italian cruise ship near the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean by armed guards, the vessel's captain says.

Commander Ciro Pinto of the MSC Melody said his vessel received slight damage to its port side during Saturday's incident when the pirates exchanged gunfire with the ship's security guards, The Sunday Times of London said.

"They tried to put up a ladder with hooks. They were climbing up, so we reacted. We started firing. When they saw us firing -- we even sprayed them with water with the fire hose -- they gave up and went off," Pinto said.

CNN doesn't mention the Israeli security either.
The captain of an Italian cruise ship foiled an attack by pirates off the coast of Somalia on Saturday by ordering his security crew to fire back, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

Six armed pirates in a speedboat attacked the ship, which had about 1,500 people onboard, ANSA said. They fled after the security crew fired back.

After all is said and done, it's just an interesting thing to note.

What is more interesting in my opinion is the concept of self defense. The AP article goes on...
But analysts say the unprecedented use of weapons by the ship's security force could make things worse in the pirate-infested waters off the Horn of Africa, where over 100 ships were attacked last year by Somalia-based pirates. In nearly all the hijackings, the crews were unharmed and were let go after a ransom was paid.

"Make things worse"! How? Having armed guards should be a deterrent to the pirates. Why should we be ransoming people that shouldn't be captured to begin with? Last year shipping companies paid 80 million dollars to these terrorists. Why are we not trying to improve the situation?

The pirates are getting better and better at their job of terrorizing ships in the area.
Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet, noted that the distance from the Somali coast -- 500 miles -- was a sign of the pirates' increasing skill. Until last year, the majority of pirate attacks occurred within 100 miles of the Somali shore but he said that last fall there had been a ''definite shift in their tactical capabilities.''

It's time for everyone to realize that self defense is a serious option when dealing with these terrorists on boats. The company that owns the Italian cruise ship realized this when he hired security for their ships.

Pellegrino said MSC Cruises had Israeli private security forces on all their ships because they were the best. Other companies should follow their lead.

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