After the ruffle of the earlier Reuters story (see below), it appears that the Saudi supertanker seized by pirates in the Indian Ocean has not been freed. All media reporting today is about how it is headed toward a Somali port and efforts to negotiate a ransom.
UPDATE: The UK’s Daily Mirror reports that the pirates are seeking $10 million in ransom for the tanker and its contents and the return of the crew. Over the past several years, the owners of hijacked ships have tended to pay ransoms, an act that of course does nothing to deter future pirates. Perhaps it is time to deal with the pirates harshly, no matter the reasons they provide for self-justification.
UPDATE: The UK’s Times carries a fresh story with official Saudi government reaction to the hijacking. Let’s say that the Saudis are not amused:
International Herald Tribune reports:
The BBC, with a video clip:
CNN has this report, with two video clips that show the problem of policing this part of the world’s ocean:
Saudi newspaper reports, at present, are summaries of international wire stories and add nothing new, largely due to time zone differences and printing deadlines.
Here’s a very well done discussion of the problem of piracy and international law from the Opinio Juris law blog:
This hijacking ratchets up the problem of piracy on the high seas. It took place far out to sea and much further south than previous incidents and well out of range of the international anti-piracy patrols. Dealing with the problem in courts will be interesting, to say the least. The first ‘issue’ is going to be that most law is ‘land law’, including most of the laws concerning the use of force. Piracy, however, is covered by ‘Law of the Sea’ and Admiralty Law. This is, in many ways, a much older collection of international laws and is far harsher in its judgments and actions.