Pirates drown with their ransom

It's a bit hard to not think that the Somalian pirates who held a Saudi Arabian oil tanker got their just desserts when they capsized after getting their $3 million ransom, probably drowning five out of the eight pirates. In their defense, the modus operandi of Somalian pirates are to hold the ship and crew for ransom and releasing them unharmed after being paid, unlike pirates old and new who kill everyone on board for the booty or sell them off as slaves.

Unfortunately, most Somalian pirates got into the business not because they like to steal and pillage, but because piracy is one of the few things available to them as a means of living after the breakdown of central government in the 1990s. Besides devastating the Somalian shoreline or occupying the country with an authoritarian presence to rebuild the economy, neither of which are palatable alternatives, there doesn't seem to be much that can be done about it, so Somalian piracy is probably going to be with us for quite awhile.

Not that most pirates start off in piracy just for the fun of it, but there's something really wrong when piracy is one of the biggest industries in a country.

42 Replies to “Pirates drown with their ransom”

  1. It's not how they're internally organized that erks me, it's what they do externally. I just have no respect for pirates, old or new.

    1. But you have respect for those who dump toxic stuff in their waters? Or those who overfish their seas? Or those old navy schools who treated their sailors like meat?

        1. Yes. I can have respect for people who take actions to preserve their life, especially against those who take actions to destroy it.

      1. Here's a saying that might make it more clear where I'm coming from: "Two wrongs don't make a right."

        While I can understand what has driven many Somalians to piracy, it doesn't make me consider it justified.

        1. First you have to prove that what they are doing is wrong. What would be the "right" action on their part? Doing nothing while their coastlines are destroyed? Appealing to the "international community"?

    1. The title is a bit ironic on this blog since it only confirms what I believe about pirates: they're being driven to despicable acts by horrible circumstances. Part of my gut reaction is out of an outlash against the romantic notion that pirates are rebellious and lovable scoundrels: I could never understand the fascination with pirates by the general public ...

      1. Well, that's the thing. Most are not doing despicable acts compared to what has been done to them. I'm not defending those who slay remorsefully but it seems that there is a large percentage who act quite honourably in the circumstances.

        As for the pirates of old, if you read how they were organised (I mean, the article I gave you was basically about all these) they had a much better and anarchistic system than the brutal naval dictatorships and aside from a few notorious examples, they acted quite honourably. Their romantisation is because their legend as remembered by the peasants and the workers is not one of brutality but of swashbuckling. It's the status quo that promotes their demonization as they were the ones hurt from them.

  2. Good for you. I can't feel any as I am an uncaring bastard.

    (Serious about the uncaring part, as I don't have much in the way of caring for anyone, even for myself, but the bastard part is just an expression.)

  3. Getting back a working government and actually enforcing their territorial waters would work. They're not even attacking those who are doing them harm, instead committing piracy against ships that are just passing by. And I seriously doubt they even see their actions as self-defense.

    And seriously, do I really have to argue that piracy is a crime that does harm?

  4. We've seen how easy it is to get a working government nowadays. How is what they are doing anything else than "enforcing their territorial waters"? If their piracy discourages people from exploiting their shoreline then I consider it good enough.

    Of course you seriously doubt that they see it as self-defense because you've been led to believe that they are attacking innocents and doing it just for the money. You're being lied to and you swallow it hook, line and sinker

  5. I really would need to hear a direct quote from enough Somalian pirates to even start thinking that they think they're doing it in self-defense. And when they attack ships in international waters that have nothing to do with the fish poaching or other things done in their waters, I simply refuse to consider it "self-defense".

  6. So lacking evidence to the contrary and in the face of conflicting evidence for the case, you believe it is best to go ahead and condemnate and/or have a schadenfreude?

    Personally I couldn't care less about the fat cats being robbed, especially when it is obvious they are mostly not harmed and the only ones losing money are the ultra-rich who make their money on the backs of extreme exploitation. Do you really feel bad that the Saudis are losing money?

    We don't know if the Somalians are actually doing it in self-defense or attacking the original perpetrators or not, but since they've been victimized under the uncaring eye of the international system, I can't condemn them from striking back.

    1. What case? Some people might be taking advantage of them, but I don't think it justifies piracy at random ships passing by in international waters. Being rich doesn't make it right to be robbed, nor does it justify 300 sailors being held hostage at gunpoint.

      1. "Some people might be taking advantage of them". Do you consider the death of hundreds (including children) and the destruction of their future food sources simply "taking advantage"?

        Why do we, who didn't give a crap when their environment was ruined and gave our silent consent to the people behind that destruction, have any position to condemn? Where was your outrage when toxic stuff was dumped in their waters poisoning whole villages?

        If we didn't say shit then, we shouldn't be saying shit now. Otherwise it's blatant hypocricy. And I expect that from the media who will only support and propagandize for the rich.

        1. What does this have anything to do with them attacking ships that have nothing to do with them? Do you think it's justified to hold ransom any passing truck transporting goods? If there has been unpublicized injustices done against the Somalians, they should be publicized and those responsible should be punished. I don't feel it is right to justify piracy in an attempt for two wrongs to make a right.

          1. You know full well that nobody is going to be punished, especially not those who are truly the instigators. And for every 1 that we punish, 10 will go unpunished or take their place. This is the classic "peaceful" thinking that ends up fucking the unprivileged.

            The Somalian losses are never going to be compensated by those at fault, so I can't condemn them from taking it back themselves.

          2. I "know full well"? I'm just too naive, then.

            And it's not a compelling argument for me why Somalian pirates attacking unrelated ships is not a bad thing.

          3. Because they have two options. Do nothing and let foreign ships run amok around their shoreline destroying the ecosystem or become pirates, scare the ones doing the harm and make up at least part of the destruction and suffering the rest of the world dumped on them to get "lower costs"

          4. If they're trying to scare off ships, I just wish they could only go against the ones that are harming their coasts, not commit piracy against unrelated cargo ships.

            (This will the be the last word on this discussion thread. Being the last word doesn't mean it's right, for anyone who's bothered to read the whole thread.)

          5. I "know full well"? I'm just too naive, then.

            You seriously think that the ones responsible are going to be caught and punished? Seriously?

  7. Why not? I still feel the moral outrage, fueled by the harm they are doing rather than from any caring for anybody. How come you don't care about the suffering the Somalian pirates are inflicting on the world? They're harming the crewmen, the ship operators, the trading companies, and the whole world by driving up prices and making things harder to afford. (I'm actually pretty sure you do care, but you have been wholly devoted in trying to justify Somalian piracy in this discussion thread while completely ignoring the harm they do.)

    I don't think we'll ever reconcile our differences on this matter. I don't think two wrongs make a right while you seem to think so, and we won't be changing each other's moral axioms. Unless you're saying that the Somalian pirates are indeed being bad boys, but there are mitigating circumstances that make it somewhat more acceptable than otherwise, in which case we're not really disagreeing on much. (You would say they're justified, while I would say not, but this seems to be an irreconcilable difference in opinion.)

    1. There's nothing axiomatic about it. Your solution is to tell them to be nice and "try and make a government" while they are being ass-raped by the developed nations so that "our prices don't go up". Your "right" solution is one that would spell the death of hundreds or even thousands of them.

      This is understandable because as you said, you don't care about anyone but that makes your outrage irrelevant. Either you care about only one part of the story (in this case the international merchants and exploiters) or both. You seem to do the former, as your moral outrage is directed only towards the Sommalians.

      1. Are you seriously saying that Somalian piracy is a solution to their problems? I just think that Somalia has bad options and really bad options, among them being to get their act together (bad in the sense that it seems near impossible because of the clan warfare, which is their own fault).

        And you shouldn't discount the effect of higher prices on suffering. Higher prices do inflict real human suffering. It doesn't really affect you or me who may be relatively well off, but it makes things more difficult for poorer people or countries.

        BTW, my moral outrage is only directed towards pirates. I just have an irrational dislike for pirates made all the worse by the general public's fascination for them.

        1. Are you seriously saying that Somalian piracy is a solution to their problems?

          I'm saying that since we can't control our own criminals affecting them, then we should shut up about their criminals affecting us.

          1. Sorry, I can't help feeling the glee at the poetic justice of what happened to the pirates and writing about it. I'm sure I'll be writing something when similar news about polluters and poachers catch my eye.

        2. bad in the sense that it seems near impossible because of the clan warfare, which is their own fault

          Of course, what else. It's not like the invisible hand of the US hasn't affected them at all through funding of warlords, as they have been doing for a long long (and well-documented) time.

          This is pathetic, soon you're going to tell me that the situation in Congo is their own fault too...

          1. The funding might have made it worse, but it just worsened the situation, it's not the cause of it (having some clan identity is good, but taking it too far is a problem). And it doesn't look like an easy situation for Somalia to extricate themselves out of even with the funding stopped.

            And please stop being so judgmental. Should I start accusing you of trying to make it sound like Somalians are entirely blameless for their predicament?

          2. I didn't claim that they weren't. It was you who claimed that it was their own fault, which looking at 3rd world history would probably be the exception to the rule.

            US undercover funding in almost every case is has been used, was designed to destabilize the situation and bring dictators to the top or simply keep the are infighting.

          3. OK, maybe I'm wrong about this point then, although this wasn't the impression I got when I read Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel", whose own father was part of the movement that toppled the central government (quite justifiably, in my eyes), and where I got the impression that it was Somalians who were the main actors in the civil war, even if they received material support from Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia. After Somalia's rapid deterioration, maybe it is the United States' fault that prolonged it much longer such that the country is still a mess today ...

        3. I just have an irrational dislike

          If your dislike is irrational, then once again you have no moral leg to stand on.

          1. Irrational dislike gives me the glee, but I'm not going to decide what responses are good based on it. Otherwise, devastating the Somalian shoreline wouldn't be an "unpalatable" option (downright bad, actually).

        4. Higher prices do inflict real human suffering. It doesn't really affect you or me who may be relatively well off, but it makes things more difficult for poorer people or countries.

          And these higher prices make up for the lower prices we received because the restaurants could get cheap fish, and the energy companies could dump their waste there.

          Of course, the truth is that the prices weren't lowered by this, as they simply pocketed the profits, and prices are more likely not to go higher with this, as it will only reduce their margins.

          1. Corporations may be rather slow when lowering prices, but they sure are quick to raise prices with rising costs ...

  8. I don't think it's impossible, no, and with enough public outrage and political will, I really do think they will.

  9. To db0: Our argument is going in circles, with myself believing that Somalian pirates are committing despicable acts, unfortunately because they're forced into it, with you arguing otherwise (the despicable part, not the forced part), so I'm closing the discussion on this particular thread. Unless there's new insight or new direction (preferably from someone other than you or myself), I'll be deleting any followups to the thread, and as this is my own blog, I'm exercising dictatorial powers and having the last word.

    We'll just have to agree to disagree. I see your point, and I hope you see my own, but of course you may be fully justified in considering my opinion to be ridiculous. The thread is just getting too much out of control too quickly.

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