Pirates seize Saudi oil carrier

posted at 9:55 am on November 18, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Piracy in the Indian Ocean just took a significant turn for the worse.  A Saudi tanker holding the equivalent of 25% of the nation’s daily output got seized by pirates, presumably from Somalia, far out of the normal zone of risk.  The seizure raises questions about safety, ecology, and the security of energy transport:

Pirates operating off the coast of east Africa have hijacked a Saudi supertanker fully laden with an estimated 2m barrels of oil in an attack that marks a significant escalation in the scope of banditry in the region.

The pirates, believed to be from lawless Somalia, seized control of the Sirius Star, which is owned by Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, on Saturday, 450 nautical miles south-east of the Kenyan Indian Ocean port of Mombasa.

It is estimated that the tanker was holding more than a quarter of the daily exports from Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter. The oil would have been worth about $100m (€79m, £66.5m) at Monday’s market price but is probably of little interest to the pirates.

The Financial Times speculates that the pirates will demand a ransom, the usual end result of piracy in the region.  They may have a difficult time getting to the cash, however.  The pirates usually seize cargo ships and not tankers, which are more difficult to captain and cannot use the normal docks frequented by the pirates.  The tankers ride low in the water, and the danger of grounding is very real, especially for inexperienced pilots.  The ecological destruction could surpass that of the Exxon Valdez, which had about half of the capacity of the Sirius Star.

That assumes, of course, that these pirates want this tanker for ransom.  It seems strange that the same pirates that target food aid closer to shore would go this far out of their way for an oil tanker.  The value is much higher, of course — one expert says they “hit the jackpot” — but crew safety rather than cargo value is the main driver for ransoms. They’d probably get the same amount of money, while taking a much higher risk with a ship they can’t maneuver as well.  Does that make any sense?

So for what other purpose could pirates use a massive oil tanker?  They could have seized it as a terror weapon.  Sailed into a harbor and detonated, a tanker this size could do massive damage, especially to an oil-exporting port — and it could send shock waves throughout the energy industry for months, if not years.  Just sinking it could block exports for weeks while salvage crews cleared the wreckage.

Hopefully, the US Navy or other forces can intercept the Sirius Star before the pirates attempt to navigate it anywhere close to a port and negotiate for the release of the crew and the ship.  With rumblings of al-Qaeda plots coming from Yemen, this particular act of piracy bears close watch.

Update: I should have made this more clear in the initial post.  The crude on board won’t explode — it has to be refined to make it flammable enough for that kind of power.  However, the pirates/terrorists could load it up with enough explosives to create havoc when it sails into a port, blocking access and damaging the facilities badly enough to make them unusable.  If they had that kind of operation planned, they would have brought enough explosives on board during the seizure of the ship to make it work.  Plus, the tanker itself would have fuel to use in that capacity as well.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Keeping the sea lanes open for international shipping/trade is in the interest of the United States and the rest of the world. Jefferson had to respond to Muslim piracy during his administration. If remember correctly it was a long a messy conflict.

SC.Charlie on November 18, 2008 at 9:23 PM

Kill them

SouthernGent on November 18, 2008 at 9:25 PM

“If they had that kind of operation planned, they would have brought enough explosives on board during the seizure of the ship to make it work. Plus, the tanker itself would have fuel to use in that capacity as well.”

I don’t have time to peruse this whole thread, but I’m assuming it’s been pointed out that none of this will come to pass if US Navy Seals board the ship and perforate the pirates’ bodies with bullets.

Blacklake on November 18, 2008 at 9:36 PM

Jefferson had to respond to Muslim piracy during his administration. If remember correctly it was a long a messy conflict.

SC.Charlie on November 18, 2008 at 9:23 PM

Jefferson responded to the Barbary Pirates, who were Moslem, because they were taking Americans hostage and holding them for ransom.

Please explain to me, under the Constitution, just how the American military, goes into foreign waters, takes over a Foreign ship, without a Declaration of War? Or at least declaring a National Emergency? Or something????

Starting military action of Economic reasons? When American lives nor property are even involved???

Romeo13 on November 18, 2008 at 9:41 PM

Or, the buyer of the oil would make the seller of the oil defend it (thru the contract for sale).

And come on–would you really sail around in pirate-infested waters without a weapon?

kelley in virginia on November 18, 2008 at 11:53 AM

Whomever is paying the freight bill should be protecting the freight, since the buyer isn’t responsible for it until he receives delivery. If the buyer is paying the freight, then he has already received delivery on his own ship.

If the seller is providing delivery of the product, then it’s still his oil. Someone has made an imprudent financial decision.

Jaibones on November 18, 2008 at 9:48 PM

Oh, and kill them.

Jaibones on November 18, 2008 at 9:48 PM

Is this still under seige? For gawd sakes blow the f’n thing out of the water already and throw out that foam absorbant stuff and get it over with.

johnnyU on November 18, 2008 at 10:16 PM

Wasn’t a certain vice-presidential candidate fond of saying energy independence was a national security issue?

Palin your brilliant, beautiful, and right!
McCain none of the above!

Maybe Barrack will go talk to these pirates and they will see the light and forego their evil pirating ways.

Oh and kill them, all!

dhunter on November 18, 2008 at 10:20 PM

During WWII, Germans and the Allies would use decoy ships, apparently unarmed cargo vessels which would suddenly sprout heavy armament from concealed positions once enemy submarines or ships tried to capture them.

It seems like a good time to recreate that strategy, give the pirates some angst about which ships might be real and which might be decoys.

Bishop on November 18, 2008 at 10:47 AM

I’m actually with you on this idea. It won’t work, though. Pirates won’t attack these decoy ships after the New York Times publishes pictures of the decoys along with their names and sailing times.

trigon on November 18, 2008 at 10:32 PM

Please explain to me, under the Constitution, just how the American military, goes into foreign waters, takes over a Foreign ship, without a Declaration of War? Or at least declaring a National Emergency? Or something????

Romeo13 on November 18, 2008 at 9:41 PM

Ok, Article 1, section 8 paragraph 11. It’s not necessary to use the American military. Even private enterprises could be contracted. The terms are a little archaic but they’re still there.

Oldnuke on November 18, 2008 at 11:23 PM

I said this before, but Somalis are scary. They are wicked assertive here in the US, demanding that everyone adapt to them. This has repeated itself many times in the US.

They are obviously bold.

Having said that, there is a degree of schadenfreude going on, myself included.

It’s just awful that Saudi oil and Iranian grain are hostage.

To whom will they turn? (He queried with his tongue firmly pressed into his buccal mucosa)

But if they touch a US asset, flatten the entire country.

That would diminish one’s apetite for bounty.

drjohn on November 18, 2008 at 11:58 PM

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

drjohn on November 18, 2008 at 11:59 PM

Maybe Barrack will go talk to these pirates and they will see the light and forego their evil pirating ways.

Preconditions or no preconditions do you imagine?

drjohn on November 19, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Please explain to me, under the Constitution, just how the American military, goes into foreign waters, takes over a Foreign ship, without a Declaration of War? Or at least declaring a National Emergency? Or something????

You have an “incident.”

drjohn on November 19, 2008 at 12:03 AM

Starting military action of Economic reasons? When American lives nor property are even involved???

Romeo13 on November 18, 2008 at 9:41 PM

Aside from someone not knowing their history, acts of piracy attack the commerce which is the very fabric of free coexistence between nations.

Also, THIS is why SanFranNan’s BS excuses about not drilling in the US (“we’re saving the environment” crap) is so much hot air: if we had indigenous supplies matched to demand, we wouldn’t care if some wanker threatened economic and environmental terrorism by stealing an oil tanker. We could actually have the luxury of sitting back and letting the affected parties deal with their own problems, for once.

You know, like the Euroweenies who, for the last 60 years, happily resist any military threat down to the last American soldier, with the last American dollar…

Wanderlust on November 19, 2008 at 12:28 AM

Romeo13 on November 18, 2008 at 9:41 PM

As other people have pointed out…When it is in the US interest’s

2 million barrels of oil, heading to the US, gets taken over and still you think it is not a concern?

OK I can play that game.

Name me one country that has the resources AND desire to stand up to this attack.

The Saudis for obviously want their ship/cargo/crew back however are they don’t have the military for that. Trust me I have seen the Saudi military in action.

Simply put

The only country in the world, that has the resources and desire to right a wrong is the USA.

F15Mech on November 19, 2008 at 12:40 AM

D’AHRRRR MATEY! WE BE SEIZING YAR OIL CARRIER!!!

alex342 on November 19, 2008 at 12:50 AM

F15Mech on November 19, 2008 at 12:40 AM

Funny how the rest of the world has little-man syndrome against the US, yet depends on our very existence to have the freedom and lifestyle they want.

One day these idiots will get what they wish for, and in that day, let’s see any other country fill the void left by the US without extracting a heavy price for it.

Wanderlust on November 19, 2008 at 12:52 AM

Waterworld

Kini on November 19, 2008 at 1:08 AM

If Jimmy Carter had started domestic oil production 30 years ago, instead of starting up the Department of Energy, think of how different life might be now…as you say, who would care if pirates seized a tanker?

No rich Iran, no rich Iraq, no 9/11…

PattyJ on November 19, 2008 at 1:31 AM

Thanks, Joe Biden. This is all your fault, your “Step’n’Fetchit” boy has already got a mini crisis on his hands and he hasn’t even had the opportunity to kiss the media’s ass for getting him elected yet. (read: HowObamagotelected.com)

Why is this the West’s problem? The Saudi’s are crying “terrorists” when they are probably related to the poor idiots carrying out the crime. $10M – Are you “ef”ing kidding? These guys are as stupid as the typical Obamican voter. Why the hell would you steal $120M worth of oil and only ask for $10M in ransom?

Are you sure these “pirates” are disgruntled Obama voters that only got to vote 8 times instead of the Ohio standard of 63?

All joking aside, who cares about these people? The US should immediately invoke the right to carry munitions on any ship bound for it’s ports, along with some “Merchant Mercanaries” that are paid to protect the assets of the vessel. Just equip the ships with the following trusty weapons:

* 10× 7.62 mm GAU-2/A miniguns
* 2× 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannon
* 2× 40 mm (1.58 in) L/60 Bofors cannon
Similar to the AC-130E Pave Spectre. Employ 25 to 30 Reservists who are itching for some Obamican relative erh.. Clinton Supporter action, and you’ve got instant headlines for the evening news. “Reservists open fire on suspected Obama Relatives”

Oh well, maybe not, but it’s certainly woth thinking about.

theRealMcCoy on November 19, 2008 at 1:41 AM

During WWII, Germans and the Allies would use decoy ships, apparently unarmed cargo vessels which would suddenly sprout heavy armament from concealed positions once enemy submarines or ships tried to capture them.

It seems like a good time to recreate that strategy, give the pirates some angst about which ships might be real and which might be decoys.

Bishop on November 18, 2008 at 10:47 AM
I’m actually with you on this idea. It won’t work, though. Pirates won’t attack these decoy ships after the New York Times publishes pictures of the decoys along with their names and sailing times.

trigon on November 18, 2008 at 10:32 PM

Maybe we could make some NYT reporters sail on the non-Q ships.

* 10× 7.62 mm GAU-2/A miniguns
* 2× 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannon
* 2× 40 mm (1.58 in) L/60 Bofors cannon
Similar to the AC-130E Pave Spectre. Employ 25 to 30 Reservists who are itching for some Obamican relative erh.. Clinton Supporter action, and you’ve got instant headlines for the evening news. “Reservists open fire on suspected Obama Relatives”

Oh well, maybe not, but it’s certainly woth thinking about.

theRealMcCoy on November 19, 2008 at 1:41 AM

Dang, I like the idea of a floating Spooky. I had heard that back in the mideaval times, there was a Mediterranean Piracy Problem. The Vatican built a fleet of really ornate ships with all kinds of gilding. They also remembered to fit them with the most ordnance carried to that time. Slowed the piracy down a bit.

The other thought would be to have some subs with the new 60 knot torps and no warhead (a 60 knot impact on a small somali boat would be pretty devastating but would pose less of a threat to a large tanker) I would imagine tracking high speed outboard screws could be done while drunk and listening to heavy metal blaring from the subs speakers. (just to make things more fair)

bullseye on November 19, 2008 at 2:16 AM

But if they touch a US asset, flatten the entire country.

That would diminish one’s apetite for bounty.

drjohn on November 18, 2008 at 11:58 PM

For God’s sake don’t do that. If we hit Somalia, what there is of it, then we would feel morally obligated to rebuild, or is that build, Somalia back. It would be cheaper to just pay the ransom.

DFCtomm on November 19, 2008 at 2:20 AM

DFCtomm on November 19, 2008 at 2:20 AM

I know you’re joking, but … I don’t think this automatic rebuilding thing has done any good for the power of our deterrence – which seems close to nonexistent, at this point, as every pipsqueak and third world sh!thole with a little rage or delusions of grandeur feels no fear about threatening or attacking the US and US interests. Sometimes, fields must be salted.

progressoverpeace on November 19, 2008 at 3:45 AM

The UN should just declare a free for all. The first country to take back the ship gets to keep the booty (the oil). We can have a race between the SBS/Royal Navy and the SEALs/US Navy – may the best man win!

lodge on November 19, 2008 at 3:49 AM

While everyone was watching something else Somalia has for all intents and purposes, fallen back into Jihadists hands. This is an easy way to reward and infuse cash under the guise of paying a ransom. Thus the Princes of Saudi Arabia invest as much jihad money as they want to in Africa and it all looks like something else.

[email protected] on November 18, 2008 at 5:21 PM

Not only that..but they can then raise oil prices because of the “instability”..

SaintOlaf on November 19, 2008 at 4:58 AM

Why I love the South

Kill them
SouthernGent on November 18, 2008 at 9:25 PM

And stop by that rich thug town in Somali where these thieves are basking in their high seas crimes and finish them off, too.

gracie on November 19, 2008 at 6:48 AM

Maybe Barrack will go talk to these pirates and they will see the light and forego their evil pirating ways.

Oh and kill them, all!

dhunter on November 18, 2008 at 10:20 PM

As a trogolodyte conservative, I didn’t understand why the pirates did this, at first, but I think I have it. Obama got elected, so the seas are going to recede. Since the Somalis didn’t have any particular “rising sea” sort of problem, they are quite rightly thinking that they are going to die, because the sea is important to their way of life.

The only obvious answer – piracy, of course. Steal some Saudi oil money, retire to Boca Raton.

This is Obama’s fault.

(Oh, and kill them).

Jaibones on November 19, 2008 at 7:53 AM

It’s really kind of shocking how little anyone is doing about this… I mean, the issue is the Somali ports and unprotected traffic.

Deal with both issues.

First, Deploy some ships to blockade pirate infested ports… just search ships before they leave port… if they have too many weapons and not enough fishing nets then you’ve got a pirate boat. At the very least keep tabs on the appropriate location of each ship. There couldn’t be more then a few thousand of them. It would seem the sort of thing a naval tactical computer could handle in its sleep.

Second, no ship should go near that body of water without protection. So either the crew should be trained, armed, and ready or each ship should join a convoy with one of the many naval ships in the area. Charge them a protection tax… its’ cheaper then the insurance and disruption.

Is this rocket science?

Karmashock on November 19, 2008 at 8:17 AM

The natural result of this is for oil shipping companies to hire private security and start protecting their property. Let me guess, some stupid UN rule forbids this?

lodge on November 19, 2008 at 8:19 AM

This is one of the few things I’ve been looking at for a few years: what is the difference between piracy and terrorism? Beyond the sea-basing of one, there isn’t any… in fact as al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and others have already staged sea-based attacks, they are, indeed, pirates.

Pirates and terrorists both practice Private War, contrary to all standards of civilization, the laws of war and peace and the law of nations. They are *both* outlaws as a class. Sea-based Private War has, traditionally, been lumped in with the land-based version: Captain Morgan’s famous raid was from land, not sea; those that took a Swiss city by force without any backing by any government, suffered when the populace regained control of it; the first modern para-troop raid, ever, was by the USSR against an ‘army of thieves’ in central asia in 1929 and cited as a threat to many nations. Our civil law on that is short and sweet: sole conviction of piracy, life in jail. On the military side, prior to that, President Lincoln in 1863 described how the US Army was to treat those that intermittently took up war but were not in uniform and who even took up civil means between raids: summary judgement on the battlefield as pirates or highway robbers. Note, they are the same class to the US at that point in time.

Why we should be concerned? These are outlaws against all nations, and any nation can try pirates. A ship is an extension of the land that it carries its flag for, thus a US aircraft carrier is acres of US territory at sea, but so is every US pleasure craft so long as it is within reach of the high seas (that via multiple SCOTUS decisions in the early 19th century, where we trace our powers as a Nation back to William and that is the law of the land for the US). Passing into a river or otherwise wholly contained body of water then puts a ship under foreign laws for transport, that is why the USS Cole attack was not just terrorism, but piracy. It does not matter that you are not at war with pirates: they are at war with you. President Jefferson needed no Act of Congress and sent the Navy on his own… which is the duty of a President. Congress may pass laws to certify civilians to carry out military actions, under the Constitution in the Letters language, and that is on the basis of 1:1 cost reprisal on those beyond the reach of law or justice, according to Grotius who is, himself, citing older law in the Black Book of the Admiralty. The Black Book goes back to the 14th century and is the first compilation of sea law, based on European nations who, themselves, were using older Roman Law. The Romans, themselves, base their law on what was done to pirates on the first city states and empires, and how they had to deal with the panoply of those fighting private war as that is the duty of the state.

Our understanding from the Common Law comes from Blackstone on this, and he is one of those cited by many of the founders and others not only before the Revolution, but in the discussion on the Constitution. The outlook of the Common Law was clear at that point in time, this from Blackstone:

LASTLY, the crime of piracy, or robbery and depredation upon the high seas, is an offense against the universal law of society; a pirate being, according to Sir Edward Coke,10 hostis humani generis [enemy to mankind]. As therefore he has renounced all the benefits of society and government, and has reduced himself afresh to the savage state of nature, by declaring war against all mankind, all mankind must declare war against him: so that every community has a right, by the rule of self-defense, to inflict that punishment upon him, which every individual would in a state of nature have been otherwise entitled to do, any invasion of his person or personal property.

BY the ancient common law, piracy, if committed by a subject, was held to be a species of treason, being contrary to his natural allegiance; and by an alien to be felony only: but now, since the statute of treasons, 25 Edw. III. c. 2. it is held to be only felony in a subject.11 Formerly it was only cognizable by the admiralty courts, which proceed by the rule of the civil law.12 But, it being inconsistent with the liberties of the nation, that any man’s life should be taken away, unless by the judgment of his peers, or the common law of the land, the statute 28 Hen. VIII. c. 15. established a new jurisdiction for this purpose; which proceeds according to the course of the common law, and of which we shall say more hereafter.

We are not taught these fine things any more.

ajacksonian on November 19, 2008 at 8:25 AM

YARRRR Allow me and mah redneck friends a moment alone with the pirates. We don’t care much for punks where I come from.

Kill ’em all.

Doppleganker on November 19, 2008 at 8:56 AM

ajacksonian on November 19, 2008 at 8:25 AM

Good post.

We also should be concerned because piracy has been on the rise all over the world, especially in Southeast Asia. We’ve had the problem right here in the Carribean ourselves for years on a small scale. Ships aren’t even safe in northern European ports.

While countries are debating what to do about it (the common response thus far has been to give in to the ransom demands) the situation is obviously worsening. What is also troubling in the case of these Somali pirates, is that I detect some sympathy for what they are doing from the usual suspects, AP and Reuters.

What’s next? Groups operating out of Morocco or Algeria seizing cruise ships in the Med for ransom? A super tanker run aground in the Suez Canal? Foreign countries using piracy as a cover to wage economic war?

This is a big story now because pirates have finally seized the most emotional commodity in the universe.

reaganaut on November 19, 2008 at 8:58 AM

This is what we get for weak leaders paying ransom. I want to know how some rag tag pirates can overtake a tanker – surely the tanker had armed guards. At least pirate jokes may come back in style.

Doppleganker on November 19, 2008 at 9:03 AM

i just do not get it. why are the folks here in the states willing to pay for oil from saudi arabia and not drill here?

the folks in the u.s. could supply thier own oil with less cost and friendlier enviormental impact than any one in the world! just think of the jobs that would come about if the u.s. decided to use all and every resource we have. it stikes me as moronic that every one is upset about a 700 bilion dollar BAILOUT and are never bothered about the 700
billion dollars we spend every year for imported oil.

TomLawler on November 19, 2008 at 10:09 AM

Ransom is crazy in this situation. I’m sure that there are plenty of Marines and SEALS that would give their eye teeth to have a chance at a good ol’ fashioned midnight boarding action – no prisoners taken.

Venusian Visitor on November 19, 2008 at 10:17 AM

As other people have pointed out…When it is in the US interest’s

2 million barrels of oil, heading to the US, gets taken over and still you think it is not a concern?

OK I can play that game.

Name me one country that has the resources AND desire to stand up to this attack.

The Saudis for obviously want their ship/cargo/crew back however are they don’t have the military for that. Trust me I have seen the Saudi military in action.

Simply put

The only country in the world, that has the resources and desire to right a wrong is the USA.

F15Mech on November 19, 2008 at 12:40 AM

Americans often complain about our own resources but make sure that our soldiers have everything they need; the Saudis have all the resources, but suck at providing their military all that they need. Perhaps that’s why they rely on others to do the dirty deed.

Rush covering this issue yesterday was one masterful sarcastic gentleman. I was laughing in the car, I bet ppl thought I was going nuts, and the kids asked me what was I laughing about and I told them, “He is being sarcastic”…kids went “Ooohhh”. Of all the countries he mentioned that “could” come to the Saudi’s help was Australia.

I wish if there is audio of this, pls. post the link in this topic.

ProudPalinFan on November 19, 2008 at 10:25 AM

Aside from someone not knowing their history, acts of piracy attack the commerce which is the very fabric of free coexistence between nations.

Wanderlust on November 19, 2008 at 12:28 AM

Wow, I love being accused of not knowing history, by someone who DOES NOT KNOW HISTORY!

The Barbary Wars were fought because they were taking AMERICAN ships, and keeping AMERICAN hostages. Congres was actualy approached to pay this ransom every year… thus it was state sponsored Piracy against AMERICAN ships.

Oh, and just to let you all know… I happen to be US Navy Retired, and was the Senior Enlisted guy on my boarding team during Desert Storm, when my ship was tasked with control of contraband into the Gulf.

I’ve also done many boardings (with the Coasties) doing LEO or Law Enforcement Ops … looking for drug smugglers.

Boarding a Foreign flagged ship is not an easy thing to do. There are very few legal justifications for doing so outside of your own territorial waters, or a war zone.

Right now, NONE of those legal justifications exist as, I have pointed out so many times, but people dismiss…

This is NOT an American Ship.
It does NOT have an American Crew.
It is NOT in International or US Territorial Waters.
It is NOT entering or leaving a declared Embargo zone.
It was NOT caught in the act, so no Hot Pursuit applies.

Want LEGAL US Action?

Get a UN Security Council Resolution declaring this area a free fire zone against Pirates.

Get a Congressional State of Emergency… or at least a Presidential Statement that he is employing the War Powers Act…

OH, and get the Supreme Court to reverse the silly ruling that all Non Military Prisoners taken by the military have full US Civil Rights… because you are about to put the US military into a Law Enforcment situation.

Romeo13 on November 19, 2008 at 10:26 AM

The Pirates are actually setting up boomtowns where they are waited on by peasants and given drugs and fine drinks and food.

This is crazy.

I love it.

lodge on November 19, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Great points Romeo13, but a question: If the ship were owned by an allied country, and that government requested US assistance, would that no be sufficient legal grounds for military action?

The Supreme Court’s decisions regarding the rights of non-military prisoners are baseless and ludicrous. There are several situations where prisoners have traditionally not been taken, such as seiges, and I believe that boarding actions against pirates was one such exception.

As to putting the military into a law enforcement situation, never. The military are for breaking things and killing people, and expecting them to use restraint in the use of lethal force endangers them and diminishes their effectiveness.

Venusian Visitor on November 19, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Venusian Visitor on November 19, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Good questions…

If the Allie has a true Treaty or Status of Forces agreement that says we can? Yep… legally we could.

But it would have to be spelled out in the ‘treaty’.

Problem here is that its a Liberian Flagged tanker, in Somali waters. We don’t need Saudi permission, we need Liberias.

And we need Somali permission as it would happen in their territorial waters, or we would be commiting an Act of War under the UN charter.

Romeo13 on November 19, 2008 at 11:08 AM

These pirates are doing it the wrong way. All they have to do is sneak walk into America and wait for a fat welfare check from Obama.

They’ll fit right in here in America. We’re becoming a third-world country anyway.

Claypigeon on November 19, 2008 at 11:36 AM

The problem with the U.S. Navy getting involved in these incidents is it sends the wrong message to the ship’s owners. The vast majority of these ships are flagged in Liberia or Panama simply because those nations have the lowest flagging fees and least amount of regulations.

If the owners of these ships paid the extra money to have their ships flagged in the U.S. or another nation with a capable navy they could expect that navy to come to their aid.

But why should they have it both ways? Why let them pay next to nothing to flag their ships in third-world countries and then still come to their aid when they run into trouble.

Owners need to man up and either hire security teams or fork over the extra cash to flag their ships in nations capable of protecting them.

JaHerer22 on November 19, 2008 at 11:48 AM

You are absolutely correct, JaHerer22. Maybe insurance companies will refuse to sell them insurance.

SC.Charlie on November 19, 2008 at 12:01 PM

Please explain to me, under the Constitution, just how the American military, goes into foreign waters, takes over a Foreign ship, without a Declaration of War? Or at least declaring a National Emergency? Or something????

Starting military action of Economic reasons? When American lives nor property are even involved???

Romeo13 on November 18, 2008 at 9:41 PM

Now I remember why I didn’t become a teacher, I get irritated by those who don’t realize that they could have done themselves and the rest of us a favor by choosing to attempt to answer their own question with a little research rather than the narcissistic “inform me!” or “see me vent my frustration like a kid crying in a grocery store!” However, here we go.

Constitution: Article 1, section 8 paragraph 11

To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00001651—-000-.html

§ 1651. Piracy under law of nations
Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.

United States vs. Smith

Any other questions? In fact, in international waters, you or I could just as easily deal with pirates as the military. Of course, they have better weapons and better lawyers, so I’d generally let them do it unless they ask for help. Letters of marque and reprisal also help, since they effectively put the government on your side, in fact I’d love to see Congress choose to start reissuing those. Check out AJacksonian for someone who has really done his homework on this.

ColdRage on November 19, 2008 at 12:52 PM

ColdRage on November 19, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Sorry dude, I used to do this for a living.

You are quoting antiquated law.

If we enter Somali waters and board the tanker, according to the UN Law of the Sea, it is an act of aggresion against Somalia, AND, Liberia, according to the “Law of Nations” which you quoted above…

If we had caught them in the commision of Piracy? We could do somthing. But just knowing where they are after the commision does not give us the right to board them UNLESS it was a US flaged ship, OR in US Waters (Health and comfort inspection), or we were in HOT PURSUIT.

Quoting law from 1820 is useless in this case as it has CHANGED since then. International conventions have changed a number of times… and the Law you quote talks of the “Law of Nations”.

Sure, we get them back here and convict them, they get life… problem is that right now, we can not even arrest them without it being thrown out of court because we DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO BOARD THEM so all evidence would end of thrown out under illegal search and seizure, because of the latest Supreme Court ruling stating that Prisoners get full US Civil Rights.

Romeo13 on November 19, 2008 at 2:29 PM