October 30, 2007


North Korean Crew Overpowers Hijackers Off Somali Coast (Nick Wadhams, 30 October 2007, VOA News)

Gunmen who seized a North Korean ship late Monday off the coast of Somalia were overpowered by the crew hours later. As Nick Wadhams reports from Nairobi, the hijacking was the latest incident in what has become an increasingly lucrative business for pirates prowling the waters of the lawless country.

The East African Seafarers' Assistance Program says the hijackers seized the vessel late Monday with two dozen sailors aboard. It said the crew managed to overpower its attackers Tuesday.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 30, 2007 8:27 PM

I didn't check the link, but isn't it obvious that normally the hijackers murder the crew straightaway, and here they didn't?

Posted by: ratbert at October 30, 2007 9:50 PM

I understand that, a day or so ago, someone made the comment that you needed a navy to fight pirates. Thus your riposte.

However, a navy is required for many, many tasks. Power projection with flexibility. Defense of sea lanes. Interdiction of enemy invasion and supply routes. Launching platform for quick, agile strategic strikes without foreign basing or permission, and defense of same. Rallying point for allied forces.

Also, given that most major units take years to build and/or require constant exercise in order to maintain absolute tactical superiority, a navy is not something we can "gin" up overnight (or even "djinn", which to my mind would be a more appropriate usage).

So please forgive me if I say that I would cheerfully see every train and transit system in the country melted down into scrap before I would decommission so much as a rowboat from the national inventory.

"600-Ship Navy or Bust!"

Posted by: HT at October 31, 2007 12:30 AM

I dunno, Orrin, aren't you confusing cause with effect? You think that, because piracy on the high seas these days is pretty much limited to guys in 30 foot Chris Crafts and thus we don't need a navy. But isn't the reason that piracy is almost unheard of because of the US Navy and it's role in preventing piracy? If we got rid of the Navy wouldn't we see a resurgence in piracy?

Posted by: Bryan at October 31, 2007 6:35 AM

Yup, that was me that mangled the piracy prevention argument for keeping a big navy (raises hand). But look where the pirates have to troll for prey. You don't think that the shipping lanes would provide a bigger target if we reduced our Navy?

Posted by: Brad S at October 31, 2007 7:21 AM

No, we'd see a surgence of tankers with adequate countermeasures. Which North Korean deckhands can do, a ship-to-ship missile can do much better.

Posted by: oj at October 31, 2007 8:17 AM

I've always though we need to deploy a few Q-ships in pirate-infested waters. Take a tanker or container ship, install a couple of well-concealed 40mm Bofors, and give it a Navy crew.

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 31, 2007 9:02 AM

Assistance program leader Andrew Mwangura says the hijacking may have been a case of a business deal gone wrong, because those responsible appeared to be associated with the vessel's shipping agent.

I wonder what business the North Koreans have with Somali gunmen?

Posted by: Mike Earl at October 31, 2007 9:52 AM