Russian Marines take on Somali Pirates

[youtubevid id=”2lXNbXR8qAc”]Somali pirates hijack a Russian oil tanker. Russian marines storm tanker and capture pirates (see video). Pirates are supposedly released on to a boat that sets out on a course for Somalia. But that was 10 days ago, and no one has seen those pirates since.

Russia initially said that it would take the pirates to Moscow for trial. But Moscow now says that it placed the pirates in an inflatable boat with food and water – but no navigation aids and in the middle of the Indian Ocean, about 160 miles from the Somali coast.

Is Russia guilty of incompetence or indifference to human life? Or is this a taste of summary justice, a modern version of walking the plank, although walking the plank would probably have been more merciful than dying of exposure on a raft. You decide.

This is a case where the mind says that it’s wrong and futile to execute Somali pirates, who come from so impoverished and violent a land that more violence isn’t likely to deter them.

Yet the heart wonders whether a little rough justice is appropriate for those who hijack merchant ships for ransom. Will it serve as a deterrent for piracy? Let’s put it this way. There’s a story from Lebanon during the 1980s, when Hezbollah had a practice of kidnapping Westerners.  One day, they kidnapped four Soviet diplomats, killed one, and kept the other three as hostages. The KGB promptly went out and grabbed the son of a Hezbollah leader, castrated him, stuffed his testicles in his mouth, and sent him back to Hezbollah with a message that there would be more of the same unless the diplomats were released. They were. And while Americans and Britons languished for years in captivity, Hezbollah never bothered the Soviets again.

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5 Responses to Russian Marines take on Somali Pirates

  1. jake brodsky says:

    These are the high seas. There are no laws. There are no rules, except those by the ship’s captain. The Russian navy was within its rights to do with these pirates as they saw fit.

    I’m of the opinion that one should never negotiate with pirates or hijackers. Though negotiation may save lives in the short term, in the long run it is a losing proposition because it will encourage others to do the same. Instead, do everything reasonably possible to imprison or kill those who commit these crimes.

    The only way to fight the barbarism of piracy on the high seas, whether from desperation or stupid tradition, is to ensure that nobody will profit from it in any way, and to ensure that those who commit such crimes pay for them dearly.

    While I’m not at all upset over the deaths of these pirates, I’m no fan of torture. Had the Russian Navy put a bullet through the head of each of these pirates and sent the bodies home, I wouldn’t have had any problem with it at all. After all that’s pretty much what the US Navy did to three of the four Pirates of the Maersk Alabama. The one surviving pirate deserves to live in prison for at least the next 20 years. If and when he gets out at the age of 40 something, he should be deported straight to Somalia where he can explain what the US Navy did to his buddies.

    If the Somalis don’t like it, they need to remember that routine acts of piracy could be regarded as Cassius Belli by some countries. Were another country to invade Somalia to stop them from fostering and harboring pirates, I don’t think many other countries would object. The only reason the US didn’t take such action is because we do not have the means to determine who the combatants would be. Given sufficient motivation, other nations might not care as much…

  2. Michael Peck says:

    I doubt anyone would have blamed the Russians had they killed the hijackers during the rescue mission. The question is whether they deliberately or negligently set the pirates adrift at sea to die. I’m pretty sure that groups like Human Rights Watch could make a case that it was extrajudicial execution.

    Piracy as a casus belli against Somalia is a joke, since there is no nation to declare war against. Conquering Somali territory would be a piece of cake. But who in their right mind would want to administer it?

    But I do agree with you that negotiations just encourage more hijackings. Lethal force will have to be used. A Western prison would be a luxury hotel for Somalis.

  3. Pingback: Did Russia Intentionally Kill Captured Somali Pirates? « Read NEWS

  4. scohart says:

    One has to wonder if they somehow thought that setting them adrift would be more “humane” so that is what they TOLD everyone they did…. and now it is backfiring on them.

  5. layla says:

    Are we sure all the pirates were Somali?

    Between 3.23 and 3:27 of the video, the word “Pakistan” can be heard very clearly two or three times while the camera shows some of the pirates.

    I also thought I heard “Irani” at about 3:14 but I’m not so sure on that one, that could have been a Russian word.

    I wonder if there’s a version of this with English translation out there somewhere.

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