American Elephants


What do you do with a Somali pirate? Hang ’em from the yardarm or consign ’em to Davy Jones locker? by The Elephant's Child

In earlier days, first you did the former, then the latter.  Today the problem is more difficult. There are ships and crews held for ransom for months. The 25-man crew of the Sirius Star had been held for two months.  The U.S. Navy released a film of a canister of cash — supposedly $3 million — being parachuted onto the deck of the oil supertanker.

The pirates originally wanted $16 million, but settled for 3.  Then the story gets a little fuzzy.  One account says they squabbled over the loot, then a wave washed over their getaway boat and drowned five of them.  The picture, however shows a placid sea with no storm on the horizon.

Now it is reported that one pirate washed ashore with $153,000.  Another account says the other three swam to shore.  A third claims that Somalis traveling along the shore have slowly collected dollars floating in on the tide.

The U.S. Navy is in charge of a task-force designed to prevent such piracy.  Some ships have contracted with Blackwater to protect them.  Because there is essentially no government in Somalia, there is no law to deal with them.  Pirate movies are all very well, but this is not a story of adventure or heroics, and possibly not even truth.  But there you are.


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