For the first time in 200 years, a ship of the sea sailing under a US flag has been taken by pirates. And, in an unusual move, the ship’s crew went ahead and took the ship back.

“It’s reported that one pirate is on board under crew control – the other three were trying to flee.”

Reports suggest the other three pirates jumped overboard.


Details here.

It is not sure yet how this will affect global warming.

UPDATE: The pirates are in a life boat and are holding the ship’s captain hostage. A US destroyer is about 10 hours away, but in six hours or so will be in helicopter range.

The good news: At least it was not Zombie Pirates.

Comments

  1. #1 JohnV
    April 8, 2009

    Given the numbers involved, 20 crew and 4 pirates, and my general ignorance of all things maritime, I wonder if the pirates are typically outnumbered like that and usually crews just acquiesce (I don’t blame the crews if that’s the case). Or if there is not normally a 5:1 crew:pirate ratio making pirate eviction less likely.

    What’s really amazing is how an afternoon confined to my desk trying to locate microarray data files will permit such musing in the first place.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    April 8, 2009

    I’m waiting for someone to make the Second Amendment connection here.

  3. #3 Jackal
    April 8, 2009

    Gun laws didn’t keep those pirates from having guns, so… guns for everyone!

    Didn’t want to keep you waiting.

  4. #4 Brian X
    April 8, 2009

    Greg:

    I don’t think the 2nd Amendment enters into it here, does it? After all, the piracy problem is well known by now — surely the crew was packing legally?

    Anyway, what I want to know is why it seems like the US Navy is taking point on this. Isn’t India the largest power in the area? Where’s South Africa, or Kenya, or Pakistan, or, hell, why not, Indonesia?

  5. #5 Virgil Samms
    April 8, 2009

    Things still sound a bit unsettled:
    Crew on US ship say Somali pirates hold captain

    The cavalry is en route:
    Warship heads for scene of Indian Ocean standoff
    I would think some of those warships have helicopters available?

  6. #6 Stacy
    April 8, 2009

    International naval forces from several countries, including the U.S. Navy, are sending vessels to the scene. According to one source, the pirates are essentially “all alone, more then 300 miles out to sea, and warships from several countries are on the way.”

    Hah! Take THAT bitches!!

  7. #7 D. C. Sessions
    April 8, 2009

    I’m impressed too. Mainly by the fact that the crew decided it was worth doing, because fighting is normally a no-win situation for the crew. If they just put their hands up they eventually get ransomed, they’re on the clock the whole time, and for all I know get some compensation for the ordeal. If they fight back, they can get dead — and as far as I know the owners don’t pay them any bonuses.

    Either way, props to the crew. They’re doing the rest of us a service.

    I do wonder, though, why the Navy doesn’t dispatch a squad of Marines to ships entering those waters and pull them off (by helicopter) on departure. That’s what the USMC was created to do, after all, and any pirate crew going after a ship with a squad of US Marines aboard would discover a new appreciation for the difference between “amateur” and “professional.”

  8. #8 Romeo Vitelli
    April 8, 2009

    Won’t future pirate raids simply bring extra guns/manpower to ensure this doesn’t happen again? This is all about revenue for them so they’ll make sure that nobody gets the jump on them in future.

  9. #9 Stephen Wilson
    April 8, 2009

    Modern pirates must have one heckuva hiding place for all the loot.

  10. #10 the real Jean Da feat
    April 9, 2009

    The actual and really interestinjg thing here is that Omar Jamal, head of the Somali Justice Asoc. is apparently negotiating with the remaining pirate.
    Interesting because he is the spokesmann in MPLS for Somali’s, and even more interesting because so-called Somali terorist have been swept under the rug, and in the case of Mohammed Warsame, imprisoned for four plus years without trial: but pirates are just plain ol’ fun, and more interesting than American civil liberties…

  11. #11 Spiv
    April 9, 2009

    Greg: no connection. I don’t believe the crew members were armed anyway. Most of these shipping companies forbid such things.

  12. #12 CJ
    April 10, 2009

    The best part was when they tried to barter for the captain back with food. The crew’s spokesman was saying ‘it’s uh.. not going too good at the moment’. Broke up an otherwise typically monotonous day of listening to news feeds.