The 53 Indian sailors in Somali pirates’ captivity could be much closer home than believed.
The pirates are now operating closer to the Indian coastline than ever before, perhaps less than 100km from Lakshadweep, the Centre has indicated. Security agencies are investigating suspected links between these pirates and Pakistan-based terror groups. They believe that the Somali insurgent group Al Shabaab, which controls large swathes of the east African country and generates funds through piracy, has al Qaida connections.
“A few recent incidents (involving Somali pirates) have taken place about 250 nautical miles from the Indian coast,” foreign minister S.M. Krishna said on March 10 in a written reply to a question from Congress MP Motilal Vora.
This would put the pirates’ area of operation within 50-100km of Lakshadweep, somewhere near the Maldives. Officials said pirate vessels had been sighted around the smaller islands in the Maldives, where the pirates “had developed significant support structures” among the native population.
This, they said, allows the pirates to hold hijacked ships and their crews for months while negotiating for ransom. Krishna said the pirates were “operating further and further off the Somali coast” and had “extended their reach to 16,000-19,200 km from the Somali coast... to bypass the security corridor established by international naval forces in the Gulf of Aden”.
The government said the navy and coast guard had stepped up vigil and jointly launched the “Ops Island Watch” last December 13, neutralising two pirate “mother ships” and capturing 43 pirates. The operation will be on till the end of this month.
On January 28, the coast guard rescued 20 Thai crew members of a fishing trawler and arrested 15 Somali pirates near Lakshadweep.
The Indian hostages’ plight came up for discussion in the Rajya Sabha on March 10, with Krishna assuring all parties that the Centre would “do everything possible” to get them freed.
“There is no use getting worked up or getting excited or getting emotive,” he said when BJP member S.S. Ahluwalia asked if India would use force against the pirates.
Krishna said any emotional response could put hostages’ lives at risk and cited how a US assault on some pirate-held ships had led to the death of four hostages. India, therefore, would have to depend on back-channel negotiations and on the ship owners.
“That is the only way we can operate,” the minister said, ruling out a deadline for securing the hostages’ release. He hinted that the release of hostages, including 11 Indians, from the MV Rak Africana on March 10 had been secured through the payment of a huge ransom by the ship’s owner.
Some of the 53 Indian hostages have been in captivity for nearly a year. They were captured from the hijacked MV Iceberg, MV Suez, MT Asphalt Venture, MV Sinin (all of which fly the Panamanian flag) and MT Savina Caylyn (which flies the Italian flag).
Many of their family members were in Parliament on March 10 to demand that the Centre ask the shipping companies to speed up negotiations. New Delhi says its missions are in regular touch with the shipping companies. Officials said 124 Indian sailors had been released by pirates since 2008.
The UN Security Council and the International Maritime Organisation are working on preventing piracy. An Indian Navy ship has been deployed in the Gulf of Aden since 2008.
What I find entirely reprehensible is the reluctance of our politicians to admit first of all that there is a serious problem with piracy in Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean and then to admit further that something, other than simply paying up, must be done about it.
Piracy has been acknowledged by us civilised people for centuries as being one of the top five worst crimes that can be committed and yet it seems that our governments are telling us that we must respect the pirates and treat them as if they were civilised and our equals. That must rank as just about the most stupid thing to say or believe that any western politician has ever advanced.
As evidence mounts that some of the money the pirates steal from us in ransoms is making its way into the pockets of East African Muslim terrorists (is there any other kind) and that entire coastal communities are living off the proceeds and abandoning their traditional means of earning a living it is becoming more and more obvious that something needs to done.
I am NOT advocating, at the moment, that we go in with all guns blazing and slaughter the damned Muslim pirates – tempting in one’s anger though that scenario is, and I would not care, if we had to enact such a thing, one jot or tittle about any collateral damage as there is no such thing as an innocent person in the pirates’ home communities for all, without exception as far as I can see, support the pirates’ actions and benefit from them in one way or another.
No, what I strongly suggest, at the moment, should be done instead of such violence is the unilateral imposition by the western powers of a twenty mile limit for Somali ‘fishing’ boats. Any Somali ‘fishing’ boat found outside that limit should be blown out of the water without warning and without mercy. Somali boats wanting to fish in deeper waters should be required to gather at one or two points on the edge of the limit zone where western armed marines should check the boats thoroughly for armaments and issue licences to proceed valid only for a set number of days or hours and which must be displayed clearly at the top of the mast of such boats. Any boat contravening its licence should be, again, blown out of the water without warning and without mercy.
What is more, any western company or person found to have paid, aided in the payment of, or commissioned the payment by a third party of, a ransom should be fined the minimum of the same amount and have its vessel, and its cargo, permanently confiscated by the government of the jurisdiction wherein it primarily functions.
Of course, I have a great deal of sympathy for the illegally imprisoned crews and their families, but no ransom should ever be paid in such circumstances. Had the first few ransoms never been paid then this situation would not have developed into the dangerous, and far-reaching, threat to us that it has.
However, it should go without saying that no ransom should ever, under any circumstances, be paid to a Muslim. Enforcing such laws against piracy might just bring this widespread Muslim immorality back under control again. It won’t fix the problem permanently because is Islam is, by definition, immoral, but it should re-impose the necessary control over this particular piece of Islam inspired criminal behaviour and teach the Somali Muslims that they cannot break the Laws of the Sea with impunity.
Just in case anybody reading this thinks that the problem is tiny and irrelevant let me just remind you that in the first three weeks of this year 25 very large ships were attacked by Somali pirates (http://allafrica.com/stories/201102220846.html) and the situation has become even worse since then – even the amateurish, vile and biased BBC is forced, reluctantly, to admit that the situation is out of control:
... is any real progress being made in the fight against piracy off Somalia? The statistics are not encouraging.
Currently at least 30 ships are being held, along with more than 700 hostages.
And something has changed in the last few months.
The pirates are using around eight so-called mother ships, far out to sea - large captive vessels with hostages onboard that allow them to stay in business during the violent monsoon winds.
Wing Cdr O'Kennedy says the rewards are just too tempting for Somali pirates to be deterred by a handful of international warships patrolling over 4m[illion] sq km.
"What we are dealing with here is a business model that is so good, that for a matter of tens of thousands of dollars you can put together a pirate action group, you can send it to sea and if you are lucky and hit the jackpot, you can come back with a vessel that within six months will bring you a return of nine-and-a-half million dollars.
"We are the first to admit we are not deterring piracy."
This violent, murderous (oh yes, hostage crewmen have been murdered in cold blood by these immoral and unG-dly Muslim criminals), ongoing and ever expanding piracy (theft of what is ours) will, unless checked, have a real impact on us and on world trade generally.
Also from the BBC:
... one of the richest-ever cargos of crude oil was seized off Oman, worth $200m.
The capture of the Greek-owned Irene SL is the fourth time an oil supertanker has been pirated.
"We could very quickly be reaching a point where we're going to have to call for seafarers to refuse to sail into this area," says Mike Dickenson, from the seafarers' union Nautilus.
"Now what will that mean for the world economy? Well that means ships can't go into the area, that means we have an oil shortage again, maybe then people would take notice, maybe when the supermarket shelves start to empty, when there is no petrol in the forecourt, then people will realise how critical the shipping industry is."
This Muslim piracy, so redolent of that which went on in the Mediterranean a couple of hundred years ago, naturally enough worries Lloyds, the insurers, but they are also getting rattled by the effect the Libyan situation might have on protection measures:
INTERNATIONAL anti-piracy naval patrols will be stretched by increased military operations off Libya, according to senior shipping industry sources.
So there you have it. The one big question remains – when will our disgusting Islam loving politicians stand up and start ordering some strong measures to protect our countries from this horrible threat?
This year? Next Year? Sometime? Never?
The bold emphases are mine.
Posted on 03/30/2011 4:36 PM by John M. Joyce