Four Americans aboard a yacht hijacked by Somali pirates were gunned down by their captors Tuesday.
U.S. forces responded to gunfire aboard the yacht Quest at approximately 1 a.m. Tuesday, but discovered all four hostages had been shot by their captors. Despite attempts to save their lives, all four hostages died of their wounds.
“We express our deepest condolences for the innocent lives callously lost aboard the Quest,” said Gen. James N. Mattis, U.S. Central Command Commander in a news release.
Two pirates died during the confrontation and U.S. forces found the remains of two other pirates already dead aboard the vessel. Thirteen pirates were captured and detained, along with two already in custody. A total of 19 pirates were involved in the hijacking.
The remains of the four Americans were taken aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, as were the 15 pirates in custody. There is no word yet on where the pirates will be taken for trial. They could go to Kenya or they could come back to the U.S. There is a precedent for both.
Pirates belong in the history books or the movies, not in real life. The United States has adequate naval firepower to put an end to piracy in international waters. The US Constitution empowers the US Senate and House of Representatives to do what is needed to get rid of this scourge.
Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution empowers Congress
…To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;…
Obama failed to take any action until it was too late. Yoo-hoo, Obama and the US Senate and House: You can’t pussyfoot around with pirates. It’s YOUR DUTY to defend the US against foreign enemies. In case you haven’t noticed, pirates are foreign enemies, they have attacked us, and it’s your duty to do something about it, without delay. You have to clean pirates out of the sea lanes, you have to sink all their boats and ships, and you have to take out the villages and settlements where they are based. The Senate needs to enact a specific declaration of war against these pirates and the House needs to vote funding to back it up.
None of this “nation-building” – just clean them out once and for all. If you fail to do that, piracy will rapidly grow out of control and maritime transport will become more and more dangerous and expensive. Allowing this piracy to continue will cost us, and the rest of the world, very heavily in the long run.
well at least Obama approved action if the Navy thought the hostages were in danger.
I call bull**** on that. The hostages were in danger from the minute the Somali animals took them prisoner. They should have threatened to bomb the pirates’ village flat if any of the hostages were harmed. Now they should follow up on that. Kill the village. Everyone in it. Flatten it with fuel-air explosives. Sink any vessels that try and make port there afterwords.
One of the problems that is hamstringing the US and other nations in dealing with pirates is the UN. That organization serves only to protect and foster evildoers all over the world; it’s long past time to get the US out of the UN and vice versa, but that is an argument for another day. The problem is that current maritime law as defined by the UN makes no provision for dealing with pirates.
Gwynne Dyer / Sunday, October 10, 2010 22:14 IST
How can it have come to pass that we have a major pirate problem in the 21st century? They sorted that out in the early 18th century. Why has it got unsorted again?
Blame international law. When they were codifying the law of the sea back in the 1970s, the world had no pirate problem worth talking about. So they dropped the rule of “universal jurisdiction” that had been the key to suppressing piracy in the bad old days. “Universal jurisdiction”meant that every navy could arrest suspected pirates of any nationality and try them under its own national laws, since pirates had been defined as “the enemies of all mankind.” That’s how piracy was wiped out in the first place.
But when they were writing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in the 1970s, there were no pirates anymore, so they dropped the rule of “universal jurisdiction” in favour of a legal regime more attuned to modern notions of human rights and national sovereignty. What has replaced those old rules, in practice, is a legal quagmire where you can never be sure who has legal jurisdiction. So the navies (which could easily suppress the piracy if they were free to act) refrain from using force, and are reluctant even to arrest people at sea who are quite obviously pirates.
To extinguish piracy again, we need a modernised version of the old rules. That requires prompt action to create a comprehensive international agreement that gets around the Law of the Sea.
There is one other issue, of course. If we use serious force against the pirates, they will threaten to use force against their captives. Some of them might be killed. But since there will never be a time when there are no captives in the hands of the Somali pirates until and unless we crack down hard, that is a risk that we just have to take.
A better idea: Ignore the UN entirely and go after the pirates. If anybody complains, ignore them also.
We dealt with jihadi pirates two centuries ago, during the Thomas Jefferson administration. We can do it again.