Friday, April 17, 2009
Pirates be afraid. Be very afraid!
The hijacking of the US freighter Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates, have produced some good. Good because the hijacking of an American-flagged ship is finally focusing international attention on Somali piracy.
For everyone's information, the pirates seized 42 ships in 2008, got $30 million to $50 million in ransom and are still holding about 250 seamen of various nationalities hostage.
Before the Maersk Alabama seizure, the rich and developed countries did not pay much attention to Somali piracy. After all, they probably thought, why should they when most of the crew members seized came from poor countries like the Philippines, Bangladesh and Pakistan?
But once an American-flagged freighter was hijacked and an American captain was taken hostage, the rich nations sat up and took notice and their media covered each twist and turn of the drama on the high seas.
Now that this one hijacking case has been resolved, what will happen next? Will the international community take concerted action to rid the Horn of Africa of the Somali pirates?
In the meantime, all steps have to be taken to rescue or obtain the release of about 250 seamen, including 92 Filipinos, still being held hostage by the Somali pirates. I rely on the American US navy and marines to take action on this.
The problem has not ended with the rescue of one American captain.