How to end piracy

Sink their ships:

An Indian naval vessel sank a suspected pirate “mother ship” in the Gulf of Aden and chased two attack boats into the night, officials said Wednesday, yet more violence in the lawless seas where brigands are becoming bolder and more violent.

Separate bands of pirates also seized a Thai ship with 16 crew members and an Iranian cargo vessel with a crew of 25 in the Gulf of Aden, where Somalia-based pirates appear to be attacking ships at will, said Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Malaysia.

“It’s getting out of control,” Choong said.

A multicoalition naval force has increased patrols in the region, and scored a rare success Tuesday when the Indian warship, operating off the coast of Oman, stopped a ship similar to a pirate vessel mentioned in numerous piracy bulletins. The Indian navy said the pirates fired on the INS Tabar after the officers asked it to stop to be searched.

“Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of this vessel with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers,” said a statement from the Indian navy. Indian forces fired back, sparking fires and a series of onboard blasts — possibly due to exploding ammunition — and destroying the ship.

“Yet more violence”?  The AP in that first paragraph appears to equate piracy with enforcement, which is part of the reason why piracy has begun to flourish again.  Sinking pirate ships may in the strictest sense be “more violence”, but so is a raid on a terrorist compound, a crackhouse, or a militia headquarters.

Navies in the region have to start blowing pirates out of the water when intercepted.  At present, the risk/reward ratio has become distorted — which is why piracy has gotten out of control.  The pirates see little risk and accrue great rewards, mostly through hostaging the crews of the boats they seize.

India had the right idea, and that isn’t “more violence” — it’s putting an end to violence and lawlessness on the seas.  If we want to protect global trade, that’s the only rational policy to follow.