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:

Saudis label pirates ‘terrorists’ after $100m loss

International Herald Tribune reports:

Pirates seize Saudi tanker off Kenya

The BBC, with a video clip:

Pirates capture Saudi tanker

CNN has this report, with two video clips that show the problem of policing this part of the world’s ocean:

Pirates anchor supertanker off Somalia

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:

Here There Bee (More) Pirates …
and Might the Obama Administration Take Them Out?

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.


November:18:2008 - 12:44 | Comments & Trackbacks (5) | Permalink
5 Responses to “Saudi Tanker Apparently Not Freed”
  1. 1
    Sparky Said:
    November:18:2008 - 12:12 

    In the BBC clip, in regards to Admiral Mike Mullen’s remarks he looks quite impressed with the ability of the pirates…who took the sirius star!

  2. 2
    Sparky Said:
    November:18:2008 - 12:36 

    I cannot resist this but in the TimesOnline it says:

    “The average reaction time between spotting the pirates and being boarded is 15 minutes.”

    Also Prince Faisal said piracy is a disease like terrorism…if that is so why is piracy allowed to flourish in the Kingdom without a crackdown…hehehe piracy…hehehe

  3. 3
    Solomon2 Said:
    November:18:2008 - 13:56 

    “Saudis label pirates ‘terrorists’”

    I’ve read other news stories where the pirates take pains to convince people that they are just moderate Muslims out to make a buck. And everybody wants to see more “moderate” Muslims, right?

    Historically the most effective solution to piracy is to destroy their bases, followed by attacking their ships while in transit. Yet it seems international law is now construed as forbidding these things, as attacking the bases may involve civilian casualties, and attacking the ships while in transit involves a presumption of guilt. If this doesn’t change, fast, then piracy will return with a vengeance – not just in Somalia, either.

  4. 4
    John Burgess Said:
    November:18:2008 - 14:36 

    Given that there really is no government in Somalia, I don’t think the ‘destroy their bases’ works. Instead, I think it’s a matter of summary execution of some pirates caught in the act that will bring this to a screaming halt.

  5. 5
    Solomon2 Said:
    November:18:2008 - 17:18 

    That’s not how we dealt with the Barbary Pirates! Killing one or two of these miscreants still means that for any particular pirate the risk of getting caught during any one job is quite low and acceptable. One has to take them out soon as what was a nuisance is growing to be a real menace.

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