The US merchant vessel Maersk Alabama was attacked again by pirates off the coast of Somalia in the early hours on Wednesday.  This ship was attacked last year and their captain was held for 5 days.  He was freed by Navy Seals and three of the pirates were shot and killed. 

This time the Maersk Alabama was ready.  There were armed security guards with military training on board who fired back at the high speed boat carrying pirates.  Additionally, the security guards fired a high screeching  ear-piercing sound at the pirates. 

The pirates have been receiving ransom money from some countries.  The shipping insurance companies encourage paying the pirates to avoid lengthy expensive lawsuits.  (you have to be kidding!)   Firing on a ship should be considered an act of war and that is the end of that.

15 Thoughts to “Maersk Alabama Attacked Again”

  1. Mando

    So when will Disney cash in on this with “Pirates of the Somali Coast”? 50 years? 100 years?

  2. Rick Bentley

    Another idea would be to give them Amnesty if they pay a $500 fine.

  3. How about treating it like an act of war and shooting their sorry asses?

    Or…we could discuss that they are starving and might have had a bad childhood?

  4. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    OK, folks, now pay attention! What’s different this time? They FIRED BACK! Apparently, it’s not as much fun to attack when they’re shooting back!

  5. Good for them. They also were testing the waters. They didn’t send the entire pirate fleet out for the first attack. After the MA fired back, there were no second attempts.

  6. Not to ask a stupid question but why don’t the countries of the world get together and clean that mess up? The countries of the world need to take turns killing pirates until there are no more pirates. Zero pirates cause zero problems.

  7. Mando

    Moon-howler :
    Not to ask a stupid question but why don’t the countries of the world get together and clean that mess up?

    Somalia? We tried that already. It’s cheaper just to pay the pirates.

  8. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Mando :

    Moon-howler :
    Not to ask a stupid question but why don’t the countries of the world get together and clean that mess up?

    Somalia? We tried that already. It’s cheaper just to pay the pirates.

    Bet I could shoot ’em cheaper! A .308 will beat an AK every time, and it’s maybe $2/cartridge!

  9. I heard that on TV. There is something fundamentally wrong about doing that though. Where is principle?

  10. Wolverine

    I would guess you wouldn’t have to “conquer” Somalia to put a severe dent in this problem. The Somalia government is as opposed to the pirates as we are, although they are just a bit busy now trying to keep themselves from being taken over by the local Islamic radicals and their al-Qaeda allies. Indentify the major pirate strongholds. Send in a carrier for air cover along with the USS New York and a couple of her sister LHD’s. Rescue any hostages, then pillage and burn. Leave a nice note: “Piracy on the high seas is a hanging offense. You keep this up , and we’ll be back.”

  11. Sigh, I like how Woverine thinks.

  12. Formerly Anonymous

    Wolverine is on the right track, but a carrier group is overkill. All you need are a few destroyers and some reflagged Coast Guard cutters as makeshift LCS. Once the locals understand that pirates will be killed and captured vessels will be reboarded, the problem will go away very quickly. (Probably less than six months of active operations with many, many years of deterrence patrols.)

    The downside is that you will have to kill a number of local fishermen in the process, since the distinction between fisherman and pirate only becomes apparent when there is a vessel in sight.

    It is a sad commentary on the lack of will among the developed world that with overwhelming military superiority, we lack the will to retake captured ships. They aren’t exactly hiding them. This is a problem that could easily be fixed if governments were just willing to do it.

    Alternately, we can fix this problem the old fashioned and cheap way. Issue Letters of Marque and the problem will be fixed very quickly by allowing private organizations and individuals to conduct anti-piracy operations. They would be self-funded from recaptured vessels. I can’t imagine this ever happening, but it would be a far better solution than the world’s current ‘Ignore it and hope it goes away’ policy.

    (I will say that the US has a much better record here than the rest of the developed world. At least we took appropriate measures when the pirates captured an American flagged vessel. My only complaint with that action is that the one pirate on board the Bainbridge should have been tried and executed while at sea. Instead, the pirate is being detained in the US pending a hearing on his petition for asylum. Really.)

  13. Please re-explain the Letters of Marque. I don’t know understand how that would work.

  14. Formerly Anonymous

    Letters of Marque are essentially temporary commissions to allow private citizens to wage war on behalf of their country. They were used heavily by the French and British to put down piracy in the Caribbean and remained popular through the Napoleonic wars. America has rarely used them, the last time being the Confederacy during the Civil War. But America is not a signatory to the treaty prohibiting Letters of Marque, and they are explicitly authorized to Congress in the Constitution. In theory, Congress could issue a Letter of Marque tomorrow if they wanted to.

    Privateers operating under a Letter of Marque are essentially unpaid ad hoc paramilitaries. They equip themselves and conduct their own campaigns independent of the country that issued the Letter of Marque. The Letters of Marque are for a limited time period (usually six months but renewable) and authorize the privateer to engage in combat only against specific enemies.

    Privateering can be very lucrative if they are successful because the the privateers would own the vessels and cargo they recapture. (I’m sure the marine insurance companies would howl at first, but eventually they’d work out a deal with the privateers to buy back the recaptured vessels.) The biggest down side is that the privateers would almost certainly get out of control. (Honestly, that’s part of the reason why they are effective is that they give the nation issuing the Letter of Marque plausible deny-ability when things get messy.)

    Essentially, the privateers become the ‘good’ pirates who attack the ‘bad’ pirates for profit. The time limitation on the Letters of Marque hopefully shuts everything down once the bad pirates are wiped out.

    Again, I can’t imagine this ever happening for real, but it would be a cheap way to make the problem of Somali piracy go away without using existing military resources. It’s been used for thousands of years to stamp out piracy around the world. (Julius Caesar fought against pirates under the ancient Roman equivalent of a Marque when he was about 18-19 years old.) That’s one of my biggest complaints about this Somali piracy problem. Piracy isn’t exactly a new problem and we have thousands of years of history to point out what works and what doesn’t. (Spoiler alert: Paying ransoms doesn’t work. Killing pirates does.)

  15. Thanks for the explanation. I remembere reading about ‘privateers’ vs ‘pirates’ but never realized the paper work involved. That works for me, killing pirates.

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