As Robert F. Worth reported in yesterday's Times, at least 80 ships have been attacked off the Somali coast, and 36 of them have been "successfully hijacked." Fourteen of them are still in captivity. The rest were released, with God only knows how much thievery, after their owners bribed the pirates. This is not exactly a form of deterrence.
The last ship to be pirated was a Saudi Arabian vessel, owned by a subsidiary of ARAMCO, according to Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the U.S. Fifth Fleet. The Sirius Star is the largest vessel ever to be pirated at three times the size of an airport carrier. 1,080 feet in length, it carried 2 million barrels of oil, worth $100 million had the depressed prices of the day. The pirates seized the ship off the coast of Kenya, a departure from the venue of other such seizures which usually take place while the vessels are plying the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.
You may remember that a few weeks ago I suggested that owner countries or the feeble U.N. police on the seas might try to destroy the pirate boats and their crews, perhaps by bombing. Some of you responded that this would be stupid. Well, that's exactly what Indian forces did to Somali pirates and their ship last week.
Piracy is a form of terrorism. If you don't destroy the terrorists the terror will go on.