Piracy Strikes Saudi Arabia

In a bold move, pirates emanating from Somalia’s lawless coast executed a bold hijacking of a Saudi oil supertanker carrying approximately 2 million barrels of crude, a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s daily output. The pirate raid was unprecedented in that it was the farthest that the pirates have ever struck, 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya. This represents the pirates’ increasing ambition and the flaunting of the multinational maritime fleet that has been sent to stop them. The ransom enterprise in Somalia is estimated to bring in $30 million in this year alone. The pirates are capitalizing on the hope that the international community will lose its desire to be Somalia’s police force. However, if the international community fails to take decisive action, we may see the formation of a 21st century Barbary coast.

International piracy is not new, in fact the United States in 1784, then a new country with little naval protection, paid a yearly tribute to the swashbuckling pirates off the coast of  Northern Africa to ensure that US trade would not be impeded.

However, the Barbary pirates’ greed proved to be too much, capturing and enslaving up to a million people from France, Italy, Spain, Hol­land, Great Britain, the Americas, and even Iceland, between 1500 and 1800. Perhaps one of the largest unacknowledged slave trades in history.

Although a key difference between the Somali pirates and the Barbary Coast pirates is that the Somali pirates rarely enslave their captives, and generally return them unhurt after ransom has been paid. Also, the former Barbary pirates had their own states, whereas in Somalia, pirates function not in complicity with the state, but in the absence thereof.

Link: http://news.aol.com/article/somali-pirates-hijack supertanker/250596

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