So I've been having a little discussion over on Bartcop about these Somali pirates, in which I question how men in fishing boats armed with AK-47s seem able to thumb their noses at the navies of the world and hijack ships at will. Maybe that Bartcop link is what brought you to this blog. If so, welcome.
To continue that discussion, first take a look at this photo:
Now answer this question - what made this hijacking possible? It's so obvious, maybe you didn't even notice it. What's that hanging over the side of the ship? Yes, it's a ladder. Why in God's name would you, Captain Kangaroo, drop a ladder for the pirates to board your ship if, without the ladder you yourself drop, they wouldn't be able to board your ship? No ladder, no hijacking.
(In case you're wondering if the ladder is permanently attached to the side of the ship, here is a photo of the ship after it was boarded and the pirates pulled up the ladder to keep anyone else from boarding it. Evil geniuses!)
What are they going to do to your giant ship if you don't drop the ladder? Maybe you could take cover and steam for the nearest friendly port, rather than heave to and prepare to be boarded. It's not like they can grapple and board you, swinging across like swashbucklers. They're in a boat you could crush like a bug, if you wanted to.
So how is it that the pirates are able to take these ships? Obviously, the ships are meant to be taken by pirates.
The photo above was taken from this site, which tells a very interesting story. This ship, captured last September, was filled with weapons supposedly bound for Kenya, but manifested for delivery Sudan. The pirates demanded millions of dollars, which they said they would use to clean up the shoreline of Somalia, which for the last 20 years has been the world's industrial and military waste dumping ground. Apparently, the whole area is a toxic wasteland, thanks to the lack of a Somali government able to patrol its own territorial waters.
Now maybe I'm crazy, but isn't it possible that the reason Somalia doesn't have a government is because the powers that be would find a working Somali government damned inconvenient to their business models? Maybe the piracy is in reaction to this, or maybe it's in concert with it - what better way to get rid of a supertanker full of toxic sludge than to have it "hijacked" on the high seas by "Somali pirates"?
If it seems almost beyond belief that a bunch of African hillbillies in fishing boats could pull off stunning caper after caper, while the most sophisticated Navy in the world scratches its head, that's because it is beyond belief. Trust your bullshit detector on this. Something is going on here, I don't know what, but whatever it is, it isn't what we're being told. Not even close.