The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Paying ransom for a ship: Ukraine should sink it first

Posted by Bill Nance on December 19, 2008

The owners of the ship carrying tanks and other weapons seized by pirates in September are said to be paying millions to the pirates for release of the vessel.

The Juice:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Pirates holding a ship full of tanks and ammunition off the coast of Somalia are likely to be paid millions of dollars in ransom within days, senior U.S. military officials said.

The pirates have been holding the Ukrainian-operated, Belize-flagged MV Faina and its 20-person crew in the Gulf of Aden since September 25.

Military officials said the cash payment will be brought on the ship, directly to the pirates. Such a procedure is common because of the lack of electronic banking in Somalia.

The officials would not say how much ransom is being paid or who is paying it because it would be up to the individuals or company to make that announcement.

Every time a company pays these thugs, more attacks are encouraged. Only one policy will work:

If you hijack a vessel, you will die. You won’t get paid. If you can take over the ship, the government of the ship owners will sink the vessel before they allow payment to be made. If you are caught, the navy who gets their hands on you will hang you for piracy after a drumhead court-martial on the naval ship that captures you.

This, combined with arming ships for their own defense will solve the problem.

I feel sorry for the crew. They are truly victims. But negotiating with terrorists holding hostages, especially paying them off, is such an incredibly bad idea and so counter to the long-term interests of free navigation it should never be allowed to happen.

If naval special-ops teams are unable to take the ship back by force, they should sink it.

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