Posted on April 14, 2009. Filed under: News And Politics... |

UPDATED:  04-14-09  11:13 AM 


My original post follows this update…

Undeterred, Somali Pirates Hijack 4 More Ships
FOX News
Tuesday , April 14, 2009
MOMBASSA, Kenya — 

In addition, Somali pirates also hijacked two Egyptian fishing boats in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia’s northern coast, which maritime officials said had a total of 36 crew. It was not exactly clear if those ships were hijacked Monday or Sunday.

The Gulf of Aden, which links the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, is one of the world’s busiest and most vital shipping lanes, crossed by over 20,000 ships each year.

A flotilla of warships from nearly a dozen countries has patrolled the Gulf of Aden and nearby Indian Ocean waters for months. They have halted many attacks on ships this year, but say the area is so vast they can’t stop all hijackings.

Choong said pirate attacks this year had risen to 78, with 19 of those ships hijacked and 17 vessels with over 300 crew still in pirates’ hands. Each boat carries the potential of a million-dollar ransom.

The Irene was sailing from the Middle East to South Asia, said Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur. The ship is flagged in the Caribbean island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

U.S. Navy Lt. Nathan Christensen, spokesman for the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said the Irene carried 23 Filipino crew, while Choong reported it had 21. There was no immediate way to reconcile the figures.

A maritime security contractor, speaking on condition of anonymity because it is a sensitive security issue, said the Irene put out a distress signal "to say they had a suspicious vessel approaching. That rapidly turned into an attack and then a hijacking."

"They tried to call in support on the emergency channels, but they never got any response," the contractor said.

The latest seizures come after Navy SEAL snipers rescued American ship captain Richard Phillips on Sunday by killing three young pirates who held him captive in a drifting lifeboat for five days. A fourth pirate surrendered after seeking medical attention for a wound he received in trying to take over Phillips’ vessel, the Maersk Alabama.

Phillips on Tuesday was aboard a Navy vessel at an undisclosed location, Christensen said. He was initially taken aboard the Norfolk, Va.-based USS Bainbridge and then flown to the San Diego-based USS Boxer for a medical exam.

In Washington, Obama appeared to move the piracy issue higher on his agenda, vowing the United States would work with nations around the world to fight the problem.

"I want to be very clear that we are resolved to halt the rise of piracy in that region and to achieve that goal, we’re going to have to continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks," Obama said at a news conference Monday.

The 19 crew members of the Alabama celebrated their skipper’s freedom with beer and an evening barbecue Monday in the Kenyan port of Mombassa, said crewman Ken Quinn.

The vessel’s chief mate was among those urging strong U.S. action against piracy.

"It’s time for us to step in and put an end to this crisis," Shane Murphy said. "It’s a crisis. Wake up."

The U.S. is considering new options to fight piracy, including adding Navy gunships along the Somali coastline and launching a campaign to disable pirate "mother ships," according to military officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because no decisions have been made yet.

In Burlington, Vt., Phillips’ wife, Andrea Phillips thanked Obama, who approved the dramatic sniper operation.

"With Richard saved, you all just gave me the best Easter ever," she said in a statement.

The four pirates that attacked the Alabama were between 17 and 19 years old, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.

"Untrained teenagers with heavy weapons," Gates told students and faculty at the Marine Corps War College. "Everybody in the room knows the consequences of that."

U.S. officials were now considering whether to bring the fourth pirate, who surrendered shortly before the sniper shootings, to the United States or possibly turn him over to Kenya. Both piracy and hostage-taking carry life prison sentences under U.S. law.

The French navy late Monday handed over the bodies of two Somali pirates killed in a hostage rescue operation last week to authorities in Somali’s semiautonomous northern region of Puntland and locals buried the bodies.

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Well, it looks like [most of] Americans are the only ones who will listen to the words of Obama.  His delayed reaction did nothing to deter these pirates from striking again.  It’s actually a slap in the face since they went right back to terrorizing the waters in record time.  Of course, Obama has once again hopped onto his soapbox podium and declared war on these pirates.  How is it that when Bush declared war on terrorists who took the lives of over 3,000 people and invaded a country where hundreds of thousands of people were killed at the hands of its ruler, Saddam Hussein, and everyone near and far protested against his actions.  People are still insisting that one of the major reasons the American public soured on Bush was the impression that his lack of attentiveness was symbolized by the Bush administration’s handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Excuse me, people, but I have to clarify that yet again…When the warnings went out to people about the impending hurricane (Katrina), some people refused to leave.  They were warned and told to leave, but they made the decision to stay of their own free will.  When it took a turn for the worst, they all cried foul against "a government that doesn’t care" about their well being.  Well, the government, for once, did care, but it was their own stubborness that kept them from fleeing this destructive hurricane, and the rest, as they say, is history.  What happened after the hurricane was totally despicable.  Many of the residents raped, killed, burglarized and terrorized their neighbors.  It was splashed all over the news, and what did the media say?  They dismissed their brutality as "a consequence to what happens during a devastation such as Hurricane Katrina".  Bull!  Any sane person would know that when times get tough, people should band together which makes more sense than raping and killing, don’t you think?  These street thugs were given a free pass for their actions.  This is one prime example where I’ve said that bad behavior is rewarded and explained away.

There’s been talk in the Pentagon of dispatching more warships to the region to beef up protective patrols. Obama declared, "I want to be very clear that we are resolved to halt the rise of piracy in that region."  Defense Secretary Robert Gates made it clear that the real solution isn’t on the high seas; instead, it’s back along the Somali coast in the impoverished villages and towns that the pirates call home. "As long as you’ve got this incredible number of poor people and the risks are relatively small," he said, "there’s really no way in my view to control it unless you get something on land that begins to change the equation for these kids."

Responsibility for changing that equation belongs to the new U.S. African Command (Africom), set up 18 months ago to help provide security to permit the rebuilding of shattered nations like Somalia.  "We do not have a military presence in Somalia," the command’s chief, Army General William Ward, told Congress last month.  In fact, the military’s in no rush to head back to that lawless nation in the Horn of Africa.  That’s where President Clinton’s Pentagon was first bloodied when 18 soldiers died in a 1993 firefight memorialized in Black Hawk Down.  As a reminder of the volatile environment, local insurgents on Monday fired mortar rounds at a private plane ferrying U.S. Congressman Donald Payne out of Mogadishu after he had visited with the head of the country’s weak new transitional government.  I’m just hoping that Obama doesn’t do something stupid like rush billions to Somalia to help out these so-called impoverished pirates and their families when we have plenty of poverty to deal with right here in America.

Now comes Obama waving a hand over the same people declaring that he will end the pirates’ terror.  The news media is praising him for his actions.  Ha!  They should have faulted him on his delayed actions, and should give credit where it’s due (as in my previous post on this subject).  That honor would go to the Navy, SEALs and everyone else at the scene.  Obama really had nothing to do with the rescue except to give the orders that were imminent anyway.  That wasn’t "his call"; it was the only "obvious call".  Obama is nothing more than an opportunistic puppet who will do whatever it takes to raise his approval rating and get his mug in the latest magazine or news article.  This is the Democrats’ way of ensuring that they stay in control of America.  All things bad will be swept under the rug and they’ll paint Obama in a favorable light at all costs.  You can’t tell me that if this were a Republican president that the Democrats wouldn’t chastise him for declaring war on pirates.  Wasn’t it Obama who declared that he would end war?  The fact that Obama waited for 5 days before any action was taken shows me that his leadership is very shaky and he is not the tough stuff that makes a great president.  His administration explained away his hesitancy saying it helped to have Obama stay behind the scenes so as not to raise the "political value" of the hostage.  Come on; they can do better than that.  Judging from the arrogant actions of the pirates to get right out there and terrorize again speaks volumes as to how little credibility Obama’s reign has on them…

Pirates hijack second ship in 24 hours

Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:20pm BST

ON BOARD NRP CORTE-REAL (Reuters) – Somali pirates hijacked a second cargo ship in 24 hours on Tuesday, the MV Sea Horse, NATO officials aboard a Portuguese warship said.

The officials told Reuters the nearly 5,000-tonne Sea Horse was flying Togo’s flag and was seized by gunmen aboard three or four skiffs. Earlier on Tuesday, the pirates hijacked a Greek-owned bulk carrier with 22 Filipino crew onboard.




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