Several points here.
Pirates operating 800 nm off-shore is really serious ... this is the same as not being able to sail the Bahamas
due to Nicaraguan pirates. If you have any knowledge of the Indian Ocean
routes, you will appreciate this effectively means all east -> West routes to South Africa
are now at pirate risk. Basically to go from Asia
to South Africa
, you have to go counter clockwise around the Indian Ocean. Islands such as Diego Garcia (the finest anchorage in the Indian Ocean) are out, a prohibited area due to the UK leasing the island to the US for intelligence purposes.
So Sri Lanka -> Maldives
is the most logical and practical. From then its either the inside (west) route
or East to Vingt Cinq -> Reunion -> South Africa
But at a 1000nm, even islands such as Vingt Cinq (1m200nm) and Maldives
(1500nm) are in danger
Today the random demand for the Chandlers was given, "We only need a little amount of $7m." Predictably the UK Government
to;d the pirates to bog off with their "little amount" - the Foreign Office communique stated "[Her Majesty's Government] HMG's policy remains clear: We will not make substantive concessions to hostage takers, including the payment of ransoms." For $7 million, the UK could wipe out Somalia, a thought I'm sure must appeal to certain quarters.
Paul and Rachel Chandler are in for a protracted wait whilst the Somalis get real: Time is not on the side of the pirates: Britain has a very good track record
of using its special forces to end hostage taking. The news is getting worse - the hijacked Sirius Star is a Saudi (read Muslim) owned vessel and the Somali Islamic militias are now in hot pursuit of the
Harardhere based pirates responsible.
The problem is the more the insurance
companies pay out, the better equipped and resourceful the pirates become. Worse it inspires other fishermen to abandon their nets and take up the more profitable practice of hijacking.
My belief is a military action is planned: Over the past few months, much intelligence has been done into the operational bases, clans involved and their strategic weaknesses. The multinational military force available has significantly increased and the Somalis seizure of the Saudi VLCC Sirius Star concentrated minds as the 2m barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia was heading to the US; And America does not wish to have its oil supply messed with.
Perhaps the greedy residents of
Harardhere might like to consider their dusty home turf is identical to that David Stirling and his original SAS team grew up in, and more importantly still train in. The SBS, on the other hand, regularly practice night assaults on commercial
ships, using night vision, parachute and small craft, backed up by a heap of exotic weaponry which makes the pirate standard issue AK47 a poor second.
The next few weeks will be interesting but I would not be surprised to learn military force has been exercised. This stupid game has to end and pirates getting deaded is probably the only message which will be listened to.