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Piracy News & Commentary

Anti-Pirate Sonic Lasers

Lloyd's List, a publication of the venerable insurance firm Lloyd's of London, not to mention the world's leading maritime newspaper, reported today that Somali pirates have released the US-owned chemical tanker Biscaglia and its crew of twenty-eight, almost certainly after payment of an undisclosed ransom. The capture of the tanker last  Read More 
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Islamists and Piracy in Somalia

The BBC has reported that Somali Islamists have executed a Somali politician for the crime of apostacy, in that he had worked with the non-Moslem Ethiopian occupying forces. In the Sharia court's view, this was sufficient evidence that the official had abandoned his Moslem faith. (Ethiopian forces recently withdrew from Somalia, having failed to oust  Read More 
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Brief Update on Somali Piracy

Briefly updating yesterday's post on the perils of piracy, the Russian frigate Admiral Vinogradov foiled an attack today on the containership Nedlloyd Barentsz, wounding and capturing three pirates in the process. The captured pirates were turned over to Yemeni authorities. In spite of recent releases, Somali pirates are still holding eleven merchant vessels and two hundred  Read More 
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The Perils of Piracy

In the late 17th century, buccaneer surgeon and author Alexander Esquemelin noted that pieces-of-eight were not “gathered as easily as pears from a tree,” contrary to the expectations of those new to piracy. The Somali pirates are quickly discovering just how right he was. After a year noted for attacks on more than one  Read More 
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Secretary of State Nominee Clinton Appears to Equate Piracy With Terrorism

In her opening statement today during the Senate confirmation hearing on her nomination as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton stated that “even an ancient form of terror--piracy--[is] asserting itself in modern form off the Horn of Africa.” (I assume that by using the term "terror" she meant "terrorism," given that its use in the context of international relations is almost invariably taken to indicate terrorism.) Although the argument that piracy is terrorism is a popular one, even an enticing one,  Read More 
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Where Some Reporters and Commentators on Somali Piracy Have Got It Wrong...

It is not uncommon lately to find reporters and other commentators, in print and on television, proclaiming with obvious admiration about how “heavily armed” and “bold” are the Somali pirates. Often these well-intentioned media members refer to Somali pirates in very romantic terms, “modern buccaneers” for example, even claiming occasionally that they have taken  Read More 
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