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Google Map To Real Piracy 262

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-the-pretend-kind dept.
An anonymous reader noted that you can now see a Google Map of piracy. Not the pretend kind, the real kind with boats and stuff. Considering how much time we spend talking about the other kind, I think it's worth paying attention to the real problems out there.
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Google Map To Real Piracy

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  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai ... m minus language> on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:05PM (#25877345) Homepage Journal

    From what I've been hearing, it sounds like the biggest problem in defending against the Solmalian surge in piracy is that the pirates know where the US ships are and avoid them. They've taken to attacking farther and farther out from the coast, often impacting new shipping lanes when displaced by US warships.

    Maybe I've been reading too much fiction, but am I the only one thinking: Q Ship [wikipedia.org]?

    1. Lure pirate in with tasty looking merchie.

    2. Wait until pirate is within range and intentions are clear.

    3. Throw the covers off the guns and blast them into next year.

    4. ???

    5. Profit!!!

    (Well, the merchies do anyway.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mmkkbb (816035)

      It's not just that. Trying to coordinate the numerous navies involved can't be easy. I have been reading the occasional bit of Informattion Dissemination [blogspot.com]'s coverage of the events out there. It's way too much for me to swallow on a regular basis, but it has commentary from professionals, not just journalists or cheerleaders.

    • by Kabuthunk (972557)

      That sounds more prone to problems (and should the pirates actually still capture it, then you're screwed) than my idea. Much like a Q-ship, you have a ship that looks like it's got good stuff on it. However, it's loaded to the hilt with explosives. Have it radio-controlled, so no actual people are on-board. A few lifelike dummies behind the wheel perhaps. Sail it around where things get hijacked, wait for it to have just that done to it, and push the big red button that says "make pirates go away now"

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:25PM (#25877609) Journal

      Throw the covers off the guns and blast them into next year.

      Your punishment may be a bit extreme but maybe it's just because I'm the kind of guy that likes fair justice & is concerned that the rest of the world sees my country as one that blindly kills people.

      You are forgetting that these pirates are (aside from being human beings) winning people over by giving them things in a very Robin-Hood-esque type scenario--even if it's only offering the people a paying job as a pirate in an otherwise devastated and unstable economy. You would very quickly fall into disfavor with the locals ... these pirates have even alegedly defended fishing areas for locals [nytimes.com]. They claim they are more like the coast guard trying to protect the food of hungry people. I think entire cities have bought into their propaganda and are willing to harbor/help them.

      True or not, it's brazen disregard for how other people see things that causes really really bad things for America. Going in there, shooting up criminals & leaving is not going to improve anyone's image. Yes, these people are kidnappers & thieves but I don't think insta-death is a good way to deal with them.

      Not a whole lot in this world is purely black and white.

      • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai ... m minus language> on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:39PM (#25877805) Homepage Journal

        "Launch Marine Assault to capture positively identified pirates" works just as well. It merely lacks that nice ring "blast them into next year" has. :-)

        Your point is well taken. However, I still think Q-Ships are an answer. Q-Ships are the kind of bait that would cause pirates to identify themselves so that you can take action. Whether that be a matter of sinking them or capturing them, there's a good chance of it working. As a bonus, you'll start to give the pirates pause as they attempt to ascertain whether the ship they're about to attack is a real merchie or a Q-Ship.

        For bonus points, borrow real merchant ships but crew them with naval officers and marines. That way NATO forces can move from ship to ship, leaving the pirates to further second-guess themselves. Is this merchie a trap? No way to know short of attempting attack.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Why not just allow ships to arm themselves? Q-ships will just lead to "scout" pirate ships that test the waters to see if the ship is armed then still go after the regular ships.

          If that oil tanker had a few RPGs and people that knew how to use them, there wouldn't be a problem. As other people have said these are fishing boats.

          • by Snocone (158524) on Monday November 24, 2008 @05:22PM (#25878321) Homepage

            If that oil tanker had a few RPGs and people that knew how to use them, there wouldn't be a problem.

            No, RPGs aren't an appropriate defense weapon. 500m is the propulsion limit and the limit of hand held accuracy is more like 50m.

            All you need is a handful of hunting rifles of polar bear hunting capability, I suggest my preferred caliber the .300 Win Mag aka 7.62 × 67 mm. Half a dozen of those on deck and you are effectively safe from anything short of an actual warship.
             

            • by swb (14022)

              .300 Win Mag is a great sniper round from a scoped rifle, but that's a terrible platform for a maritime engagement. Aimed fire at ranges very likely to be 300m+ on moving targets from a moving platform on open water with a scoped weapon is a substantial challenge for the most gifted marksman, and that's just hitting the enemy vessel! .300 Win Mag would require a magic shot for that round to do any meaningful damage, and the magic is limited to killing a pirate or damaging the boat's propulsion. It's just

          • by Reapman (740286)

            The problem with that is, right now although the Pirates are armed with RPG's and such they're not generally using them (not saying deaths haven't occured) Doing so would result in an arms race. Look at the roadside bombs on Afganistan.. we supply heavier armor to protect the troops, they build bigger bombs. Although I won't say your idea doesn't have merit, I've thought it myself, it must be looked at carefully before going down such a path.

          • by RogerWilco (99615) on Monday November 24, 2008 @06:34PM (#25879155) Homepage Journal

            The problem is, that if the ships start shooting at the pirates, the pirates start shooting at the merchant ships.

            Given that those ships might carry a cargo worth hundreds of millions, are very slow, almost impossible to miss, and can be sunk with a well placed RPG, it's not a risk most of the merchant companies want to take.

            That is the essence of the issue why these ships are not protecting themselves. The pirates would blow them up.

      • Throw the covers off the guns and blast them into next year.

        Your punishment may be a bit extreme but maybe it's just because I'm the kind of guy that likes fair justice & is concerned that the rest of the world sees my country as one that blindly kills people.

        You are forgetting that these pirates are (aside from being human beings) winning people over by giving them things in a very Robin-Hood-esque type scenario--even if it's only offering the people a paying job as a pirate in an otherwise devastated and unstable economy. You would very quickly fall into disfavor with the locals ... these pirates have even alegedly defended fishing areas for locals [nytimes.com]. They claim they are more like the coast guard trying to protect the food of hungry people. I think entire cities have bought into their propaganda and are willing to harbor/help them.

        True or not, it's brazen disregard for how other people see things that causes really really bad things for America. Going in there, shooting up criminals & leaving is not going to improve anyone's image. Yes, these people are kidnappers & thieves but I don't think insta-death is a good way to deal with them.

        Not a whole lot in this world is purely black and white.

        They are pirates, and an ancient law of the sea is that pirates can be hunted and destroyed wherever they roam.

        They chose a life of piracy, and should not be surprised when others hunt them down mercilessly; which is what needs to be done to make sea lanes safe for commerce.

        One need not worry about image when dealing with pirates on the high seas; other than the one in the pirates mind where they see themselves hanging from a yardarm.

      • by eggnet (75425)

        That's a really touching story but the pirates are armed and attempting to take over a ship with a crew and hundreds of millions of dollars of cargo.

        The only thing treating them nicely will buy you is more pirates.

    • by mo (2873)
      I heard a report on the Diane Rehm show that that's exactly what they're planning to do. The other approach that is forthcoming is convoys where multiple shipping vessels get together with one armed gunboat to protect them. Blackwater has come forth as a potential candidate for the security contract of future convoys.
    • by IronChef (164482) on Monday November 24, 2008 @05:19PM (#25878283)

      I can't find the reference right now, but when I was reading about piracy last week arming the merchant ships was said to be difficult politically.

      I think it was something like this: the merchant ships have to pass through many nations' waters, and in some of those nations the arms needed to fight off pirates are illegal. So... if you have private armed guards on board, you're breaking the law at some of your ports. Therefore, being a well behaved company, you don't have guards at all.

      This is lame, even as it makes sense. How would a US port feel about a foreign ship pulling in when a dozen civilians with grenade launchers are strolling around on deck? The Coast Guard would go ape.

      Anyway, I would like to find a proper explanation for the current state of affairs.

      • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Monday November 24, 2008 @05:35PM (#25878469)

        > How would a US port feel about a foreign ship pulling in when a dozen civilians
        > with grenade launchers are strolling around on deck? The Coast Guard would go ape.

        As an NRA member I'm not afraid of arms or people wielding them, so long as they are the right people bearing them for the right reasons and shooting them at the right (or would that be wrong?) people. So no, I would have no problem with a $150M tanker laden with $100M in crude being armed. Seems rather sane to me. If we are trusting the crew not to use the far more dangerous tanker itself as a weapon I see no reason to begrudge them a couple of rocket launchers to defend themselves from pirates. No, they can't carry them off the ship and they should be expected to have the decency to stow them away once they are safely in US waters. If I can't have a rocket launcher why should they get to have all the fun. :)

        This story just goes to show ya what pansies we have allowed ourselves to become. Can you imagine pirate infested waters under Ronald Reagan's six hundred ship navy? People might accuse America of trying to police the world, but dang it back when we really did it the world was a safer place... as it was when the British Navy ruled the seas. Pirates had short life expectancies.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by IronChef (164482)

          Oh, I agree. I wasn't trying to say that fear was the RIGHT reaction. If foreign merchant ships want to have mercenaries on board I think we should find a way to make that work--and their home ports should extend us the same courtesy.

          Pirates... Sheesh. History, like Hollywood, has run out of ideas and is relaunching old ideas.

    • The solution is rather simple, the Mk-38 25MM Autocannon. In international waters these vessels have every right to defend themselves against pirates. This unit is widely used by the military and is very easily attached to all sorts of ships would provide a nice deterrent. The rate of fire and range are more that sufficient to keep many craft at a distance. And not only are they easy to maintain, simple to use, but fun as heck to use.

      http://www.zombiesurvivalwiki.com/page/M-242+Bushmaster+25MM+Autocannon?t=

    • by severoon (536737)
      All you have to do is pull the ol' switcheroo when the pirates start to offload your booty. Switch your booty with remote-detonating incendiary explosives and, once they reach a safe distance, press down dramatically on your red plunger switch.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by swarsron (612788)
      funny how everybody seems to see no problem in just killing those people without any trial etc.

      i don't talk about those cases where you have to kill them to defend your life. but in the current debate noone ever questions if hijacking a boat and kidnapping the crew is a crime which deserves instant death.
      • by eggnet (75425)

        Most people are talking about killing the pirates before the boat is hijacked. You might be able to argue that that doesn't deserve instant death if there is a way to capture the crew without risking yourself doing it. Reasonable people could argue that.

        But, if you are talking about people that have already hijacked the boat and kidnapped the crew, I don't see how you could argue that instant death isn't warranted. If the pirates surrender that is one thing, but I don't think we're talking about that are

      • After 9/11, we don't think of hijacking as a crime where the victims are likely to survive anymore? So the seriousness of the crime approaches the level of murder?
  • Not Pirates (Score:5, Funny)

    by youngerpants (255314) on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:06PM (#25877363)

    I wish people would stop using the word Pirate; they're merely redistributing content.

    • by Daimanta (1140543)

      Yes, they redistribute valuables from a big ship to a small port. What's wrong with redistributing the contents of a big ship?

      • I know, we'll let the majority vote on whether or not we should take the contents from the bigger ships and distribute to the smaller ships... Just the ones catching less than 250,000 fish per year.

    • by Mantrid (250133) on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:20PM (#25877539) Journal

      We should really be going after the shipyards...without them, we wouldn't have this problem!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by megamerican (1073936)

      Historically, there were very few real pirates.

      Most were privateers, meaning they were sponsored by a nation. It wouldn't surprise me if this is the case here as well. These so-called pirates don't have a lot to gain in the long term. It'll be interesting to see what the response will be by governments in order to "fix" this problem and who really benefits.

      These stories about pirates have been very frequent in the past few weeks, magically when oil and gas are well below what most could have ever predicted.

      • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... minus physicist> on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:41PM (#25877833) Journal

        No, most pirates were not privateers. But most privateers were also pirates. The reason being, privateers could only get Letters of Marque and Reprisal [wikipedia.org] when their country was at war, and the letters only covered attacking enemy shipping. What did privateers do during the times their country was not at war? They turned to outright piracy.

        The idea of modern countries handing out letters of Marque is ridiculous. Implying the pirates are after oil is just dumb. Saying the pirates don't have a lot to gain in the long run is also stupid, and shows how uneducated you are on the matter. Just look at the ransoms they receive. You only have to do it once. This is not some kind of Pirates of the Caribbean secret order of pirates. This is groups of starving desperate men trying for the Big Score. They take what they can get, and hope the shipping company will pay a ransom rather than see their ship sunk. They aren't selling oil and goods on the black market.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MozeeToby (1163751)

        Have you heard anything about Somolia in the past, oh I don't know 20 years? There is no government in control of the people, not in the sense you seem to imply. There's also no organized economy or workers rights. Most likely, these pirates are average people with starving family back home, doing anything they can to put food on the table.

        Like a lot of problems around the world, the only way you are going to 'fix' the problem is to raise the standard of living so that the risks of brazenly illegal behav

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by PPalmgren (1009823)

        I work for a large shipping company. Piracy has been in the news lately because they are going after larger and larger ships in deeper waters. The most recent headliner was a supertanker carrying $100 million in crude oil getting hijacked, the largest vessel in history to ever be hijacked. One of our company's vessels fended off an attempted hijacking a few weeks ago as well. Regardless of cargo, vessels of this size often cost nearly 6 figures a day just to own, let alone operating costs. The costs of

      • These stories about pirates have been very frequent in the past few weeks

        Mostly because the pirates have gotten very, very, bold of late. And without the election or the Emmys, well there isn't much news.

  • by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:09PM (#25877415) Homepage Journal
    Google identified the pirate locations based on the ships themselves! If you zoom in on one, such as Attack ID: 2008/187 You can actually see the pirate ship, and somebody walking the plank! (Just above puerto la cruz)
    • by Briareos (21163) *

      And if you follow this link [weebls-stuff.com] you can even see the pirates and ships up close!

      np: Rhythm & Sound with Paul St. Hilaire - Free For All (See Mi Yah)

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:10PM (#25877423) Homepage Journal

    By EILEEN NG - 42 minutes ago
    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Shipping officials from around the world called Monday for a military blockade along Somalia's coast to intercept copyright infringer vessels heading out to sea. Yemen's government said Somali copyright infringers have seized another ship.

    Peter Swift, managing director of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, said stronger naval action -- including aerial and aviation support -- is necessary to battle rampant piracy in the Gulf of Aden near Somalia.

    But NATO, which has four warships off the coast of Somalia, rejected a blockade.

    Some 20 tankers sail through the sea lane daily. But many tanker owners are considering a massive detour around southern Africa to avoid copyright infringers, which will delay delivery and push costs up by 30 percent, Swift said.
    The association, whose members own 2,900 tankers or 75 percent of the world's fleet, opposes attempts to arm merchant ships because it could escalate the violence and put crew members at even greater risk, he said.
    "The other option is perhaps putting a blockade around Somalia and introducing the idea of intercepting vessels leaving Somalia rather than to try to protect the whole of the Gulf of Aden," Swift said.

    Somali copyright infringers have become increasingly brazen, seizing eight vessels in the past two weeks, including a huge Saudi supertanker loaded with $100 million worth of crude oil.

    On Monday, Yemen's Interior Ministry says Somali copyright infringers have hijacked a Yemeni cargo ship in the Arabian Sea. It said communication with the vessel was lost last Tuesday after it had been out to sea for a week.

    The ship is called Adina and it was not immediately clear what cargo it was carrying. The U.S. 5th Fleet based in Bahrain could not confirm the hijacking.
    The Arabian Sea is part of the Indian Ocean and stretches between Yemen and Somalia. The Gulf of Aden links it with the Red Sea.

    A blockade along Somalia's 2,400 mile coastline would not be easy.
    "But some intervention there may be effective," Swift told reporters on the sidelines of a shipping conference in Malaysia.

    U.S. Gen. John Craddock, NATO's supreme allied commander, said Monday the alliance's mandate is solely to escort World Food Program ships to Somalia and to conduct anti-piracy patrols.

    Asked what he thought of a Russian proposal to jointly attack the copyright infringer strongholds, Craddock answered: "That's far beyond what I've been tasked to do."

    According to Lt. Nathan Christensen, 5th Fleet spokesman, more than 14 warships from Denmark, France, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, the U.S. and NATO are currently patrolling a vast international maritime corridor. They escort some merchant ships and respond to distress calls in the area.
    Christensen declined to comment on the idea of a blockade.
    But the navies say it is virtually impossible to patrol the vast sea around the gulf.
    NATO has ruled out a blockade.

    "Blocking ports is not contemplated by NATO," said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in Brussels. U.N. Security Council resolutions "do not include these kind of actions and as far as NATO is concerned, this is at the moment not on the cards," he said.

    Secretary-General of the Arab League Amr Moussa said Monday Arabs should deploy their own naval forces to fight piracy in the Horn of Africa and also cooperate with foreign fleets in the area.

    Diplomats of the Arab countries on the Red Sea met in Cairo last week to coordinate efforts to combat piracy, but some of these nations have been reluctant to get involved.

    Somalia, an impoverished nation caught up in an Islamic insurgency, has had no functioning government since 1991. Before the Yemeni report of another hijacked ship, there had been 95 copyright infringer attacks so far this year in Somali waters, with 39 ships hijacked.

    There were 15 ships with nearly 300 crew still in the hands of Somali copyright infringers, who dock the

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      stronger naval action -- including aerial and aviation support -- is necessary to battle rampant piracy in the Gulf of Aden near Somalia.

      Nice try, grasshopper.. You got the concrete nouns, but you missed the abstract.

  • 5 Comments in and its already Slashdotted. Time to upgrade the 'ol 486!
  • by davidwr (791652) on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:12PM (#25877445) Homepage Journal

    NEWS FLASH

    This just in...

    Somali pirates have seized control of Slashdot and are using it as their new gunship to take down web sites such as http://www.icc-ccs.org/ [icc-ccs.org] .

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:19PM (#25877531)

    Site is slashdotted, here's a mirror of the current pirate activity:

    Pirate Hotbed [google.com]

    • by Falkkin (97268)

      Really, the funniest thing about this is one of the "reviews":

      Rated 2.0 out of 5.0
      Service was OK - bob - Aug 1, 2008
      Atmosphere could use some help, and gets a bit noisy at times (I could barely hear my lunchpal throughout the meal). The service was mediocre, because while they do exactly (most of the time) as you tell them, it takes a holler and sometimes a fervent hand wave to get their attention. Plus, you have to shout out your orders too. Food was decent but for the price, not really worth it.

  • Convoys (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zentinal (602572) on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:22PM (#25877573) Homepage
    Does anyone know why, given the huge area and the number of ships to protect, merchant ships in the area aren't being organized into convoys with military escort through those waters?

    Wouldn't that strategy work at least as well as it did in WWII? [wikipedia.org]

    I don't think the pirates have submarines or aircraft... yet.

    • Re:Convoys (Score:4, Interesting)

      by kwiqsilver (585008) on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:49PM (#25877897)

      Because that would be expensive. There are too many ships going through the Red Sea or other hot spots to organize small enough convoys that don't end up leaving ships waiting for days for an escort. And imagine the traffic jams you'd see at the Suez and Panama Canals when that convoy showed up.

      If you want a military solution, a better option would be to park a carrier or two in each hot spot, and give each merchant ship contact information for the carrier(s) in an area, so they can call in a strafing run on any small, well armed boats that get too close (like pirate 911).

      A better solution still would be to remove the international legal restrictions against carrying small arms (e.g. battle rifles) and fixed armaments (e.g. fixed machine guns and light artillery) on a merchant ship. A few years ago, a Cruise Ship [wikipedia.org] used a sonic weapon to fend off a pirate attack off Somalia. Imagine if instead of a non-lethal sonic cannon, they had unleashed a few rounds from a 30mm Cannon [wikipedia.org] modified to fire at sea-based attackers. It would have stopped that attack and prevented those pirates (and that boat) from mounting any future attacks.

      • Re:Convoys (Score:4, Informative)

        by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Monday November 24, 2008 @05:04PM (#25878069)
        give each merchant ship contact information for the carrier(s) in an area, so they can call in a strafing run on any small, well armed boats that get too close (like pirate 911).

        By the time the 'small, well armed boat' is identifiably too close...it is too close for an aircraft to get there in time. Plus which, the military pilot can't just take the word of some random guy about whether to shoot some other random boat in the water.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Pheersome (116234)

      The EU navies have begun convoy operations in the Gulf of Aden:

      http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/news/eu-launches-naval-escorts-in-gulf-of-aden/20017577798.htm [lloydslist.com]

  • speaking of piracy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:27PM (#25877639)

    It looks like the jacked up idle template pirated my user page. What do we have to do to get rid of it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by argent (18001)

      Yes, I was wondering about that. I go to my user page now and I've got a bunch of spam about features of slashdot I don't care a damn about instead of the list of my recent comments I was looking for.

    • by treeves (963993)
      Yes, I was annoyed. I was at 999 comments and this makes 1000, but my comments page no longer says how many comment I made...How can I ever prove I wasted all that time?
  • "Considering how much time we spend talking about the other kind, I think it's worth paying attention to the real problems out there."

    You don't consider people who share content they're not suppose to a "real problem"? Why am I not surprised?

  • by xs650 (741277) on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:29PM (#25877653)
    Send the RIAA and their lawyers after the pirates. It won't stop the piracy, but it will get rid of the RIAA and a bunch of lawyers.
  • by javilon (99157)

    If I were the RIAA I would be donating money to the effort the united nations are making to stop Somali pirates. That way they could try to keep the word "piracy" for their own corporate use.
    Right now, with the news of the pirates real kidnapping and killing, people has to be wondering why the same word is used for someone that makes a copy of a file.

  • Piet Hein (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tsa (15680) on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:32PM (#25877713) Homepage

    Here in NL we have a song about Piet Hein. [wikipedia.org] He brought us the Spanish silver fleet when Holland ruled the waves and was at war with the Spaniards in the 17th century. He was a national hero back then, but in fact he was just a pirate. He stole all the silver the Spaniards had stolen from the natives in South America.

  • by Nick Ives (317) on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:40PM (#25877813)

    The Great Flying Spaghetti Monster has revealed to us that there is a link between pirates and global warming, as piracy goes down, global warming increases [venganza.org]. Surely this is evidence (not that any is needed) for this basic truth? As pirates steal oil tankers the price of oil will increase thereby limiting its consumption and decreasing the amount of global warming.

    It's plain simple logic, just like the plain, simple, wholesome taste of pasta with a tomato sauce.

  • Historical Precident (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sp3d2orbit (81173) on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:58PM (#25878001)

    I'm normally pro-US hegemony and quick to defend our actions. But, I'm about to give a silver bullet to my opposition.

    I can't help but notice the parallels between America's situation and Rome during its final centuries. Rome eventually degraded as barbaric pressures from the outside world overwhelmed their ability to control them.

    Modern America seems to be collapsing under a similar weight. Terrorism and piracy are equivalent modern forms of barbarism. The fact that the US cannot control it anymore validates the position that the US military is way overstretched and that our empire is on the decline.

    Ug.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Panseh (1072370)
      How many of these ships taken hostage have been American owned? None that I know of. Even if they were all American ships, the pirates only received an estimated $30 million in ransoms this year. Not exactly a huge chunk of US GDP. Consider focusing your concerns on issues within the country, rather than get distracted by FUD like terrorism and piracy.
      • by khallow (566160)

        The thing is, piracy and terrorism get worse, if you don't deal with it. My take is that the current level of piracy has gotten worse over the past couple of years (though no doubt it is somewhat exaggerated by the media). If the world were to consistently fail to deal with the problem for twenty years, for example, Somali pirates would probably be raiding all over the Indian Ocean. The piracy business would be so profitable that massive numbers of eye-patch wannabes from elsewhere would be immigrating to S

      • by khallow (566160)
        Also, looking at the Google Map information, I see two things that make the Somali piracy stand out. First, it has unusually high occurance. I wager it is most of the reported worldwide piracy for 2008. Second, these pirates range far from base. If one looks at the rest of the world, most of the piracy is in a port rather than out in open ocean (Indonesia being a notable exception). However, most Somali piracy is well out to sea either hitting the Red Sea route or ships sailing off of Southeastern Africa.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm not going to dismiss the notion of any parallels between America's present situation and that of the fall of Rome. But I'm not sure that the ones you've stated stand up to scrutiny.

      If there's one thing we should take from the last 8 years, is that international terrorism is not a problem to be solved through military means.

      As for these pirates. Purely because the US hasn't sent its military to deal with them, doesn't mean that it couldn't. The US Navy is quite capable of indiscriminately denying Soma

  • So... (Score:4, Funny)

    by yyr (1289270) on Monday November 24, 2008 @05:00PM (#25878013) Homepage
    ...when will there be a Google map showing the locations of ninjas?
  • by Ortega-Starfire (930563) on Monday November 24, 2008 @05:07PM (#25878109) Journal

    Robert Heinlein wrote a book where merchant ships scooting through space were armed with nuclear rockets to blow the pirates straight to hell because the government cruisers, while effective, were few and far between.

    Obviously, we don't need to go nuclear on the pirates, but some small arms would go a long way to curbing the problem. Bigger ships can get bigger guns.

    Arm each ship with some guns and grenade launchers. Scale up as appropriate for larger ships. Problem solved.

    • But its a question of manpower. These large argo ships have may one, two dozen people to keep costs down. The pirates have a semi-infinite supply.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Hire adventurers? Put an exclamation point in front of the hiring place and gun toting wow players will naturally gravitate towards the quest giver. Set up cameras and sell footage to TV shows. Adventurers get salvage rights on the pirates taken out, everyone wins.

        Call it the Naval Interdiction Nullification Joint Assault program. Or for short, the NINJA program.

  • A little background (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kaynaan (1180525)
    This Issue is not black and white as most people think. This piracy has been going on for more than a 15 years off the coast of Somalia. In the past the targets were usually Japanese boats illegally tuna fishing a few miles off the north-eastern coast. back home these men are not looked upon as pirates they were a de facto navy for so long. believe it or not they have certain code they follow which is largely based on our nomadic culture .. they have not hurt a single hostage nor are they interested in doi
    • What a bunch of crap (Score:2, Informative)

      by Vinegar Joe (998110)

      According to some of the hostages just released:

      Five Indian sailors who were among the crew of a Japanese-owned cargo ship hijacked by pirates and held for two months before a ransom was paid said Monday their captivity was "total desperation."

      The sailors were generally in good health when they were released, but according to the five who spoke publicly Monday conditions aboard the Stolt Valor were severe and they lived for two months in continual fear of being killed by the pirates.

      "We were always ... all

  • by linuxbert (78156) on Monday November 24, 2008 @06:40PM (#25879217) Homepage Journal

    Piracy exists in Somalia because the government lacks sufficient ability and influence to stop it.
    It continues largely because the international community that has the ability to stop it, doesnt have the reason to. Modern warships can sink targets they cant visually see. The Gulf of Aden is large, but its not that large.

    Most ships, even if owned by a western company, are flagged in a Convenient state - Panama, Liberia etc. these countries love the revenue form being a flag state but have no means of protecting their flagged ships. Most ships are crewed by non western crews.. many from the Philippines, Bangladesh, etc. again countries with limited abilities to protect their nationals internationally.

    The west has many ships in the area, however they are reluctant to act for political reasons, if no nationals are involved, or its not a home flagged ship, its really not the concern of the country. The pirates get their million dollar ransom, which to a pirate is a wind fall, but to a shipping company, used to paying $60000/day fuel bills, really isnt that big a deal. Furthermore the risks to the pirates are relatively small - the French raided a la Poinete, a yacht that was taken by pirates and was crewed by french nationals, and the Indians sunk a Pirate mother ship last week. So for the pirates 2 out of over 100 incidents ended badly. To stop the pirates, the western world needs to actively seek them out, hunt them down and stop them from taking ships, as well as recapturing ships by force. When pirates begin to face the consequences - to this point there have been almost none, then they will cease their actions, because taking a ship no longer results in a quick profit for the prirates, and the risk of death goes up significantly for the actual takers of the ship.

    Incidentally, the IMO is now recommending ships hire private security to protect them in troubled waters. Blackwater international has also purchased ships. The 18th century tales of piracy make a difference between a Privateer and a pirate a privateer was a mercenary ship working for a nation, to harass enemy shipping - they could take prizes, but paid a percentage to the crown, and wouldn't attack friendly shipping. a pirate had no Letter of Marque, paid no commissions, and attacked who he wanted when he wanted...

    everything old is new again.

    One final aside, those whom complain about copyright infringement by referring to it as piracy do a great disservice to the victims of piracy, imagine having your office attacked by men armed with machine guns and RPG's and your only defense is to run, and spray the attackers with a fire hose. from the floor above..

  • Didn't we already have an age of piracy? Wasn't it the main reason the U.S. Navy was invented?

    This looks like another trumped up excuse to scare people and spend money on guns.

    --We've had a fairly large up-tick in media awareness about pirates over the last few years. (Thank-you, Disney and Mr. Depp.) --Heck, a few weeks back when I was buying some coffee, the lady at the cash informed me that I could win a prize because it was international 'Pirate Day'. WTF??

    Before Iraq, there was a media build up wit

I am here by the will of the people and I won't leave until I get my raincoat back. - a slogan of the anarchists in Richard Kadrey's "Metrophage"

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