World Grapples with Pirate Problem - Peter Spiegel and Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
The Saudis chose to negotiate. The Indian navy opened fire. The US Navy said shipping companies should do more to protect their vessels, and the ship owners said governments should guard the high seas.
But everyone wants the barely functioning government of Somalia to control the pirates who sail from its ports to seize the cargo ships and tankers that ply past.
Mightily armed, but slightly baffled, 21st century civilization appears to have no collective answer to piracy, a scourge once considered banished into history.
More at The Los Angeles Times.
Somali Pirates Seize Ninth Vessel in 12 Days - Catherine Philp, The Times
The battle with pirates operating off the coast of Somalia grew yesterday when raiders seized two more ships but lost one of their own in an uneven firefight with the Indian Navy. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) described the situation yesterday as "out of control".
The surge in hijackings came as Saudi Arabia confirmed that a ransom demand had been made for the freeing of the Sirius Star supertanker, seized at the weekend with her crew of 25 and a cargo of oil worth $100 million (£65 million).
Two more vessels -- a Thai fishing boat with a crew of 16 and a bulk carrier, believed to be Greek, with an unknown number of people aboard -- were seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden yesterday, bringing the total to nine vessels in 12 days.
Late on Tuesday night the Indian frigate Tabar destroyed the raiders' "mother ship" after coming under attack from pirates firing rocketpropelled grenades, the Indian Navy said. The confrontation was the first involving one of the vessels used by the pirates to extend their range. Shipping groups said that the loss of a vessel did not mean that the pirates' activities would be curtailed. "The situation is already out of control," said Noel Choong, head of the piracy reporting centre at the IMB in Kuala Lumpur. "With no strong deterrent, low risk to the pirates and high returns, the attacks will continue."
More at The Times
Indian Naval Warship Destroys Pirate Vessel - Emily Wax and Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post
An Indian navy frigate battled with and sank a vessel described as a pirate mother ship in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest and most lawless shipping lanes, the navy said Wednesday.
Amid a surge of piracy around the hijacking-plagued Horn of Africa, the Indian navy said in a statement that fire from its INS Tabar set the pirate vessel aflame after it failed to stop for investigation.
The overnight battle in the Gulf of Aden, the gateway to the Suez Canal and the main shipping route from Asia and the Middle East to Europe, occurred days after the Saudi-owned Sirius Star supertanker and its 25 crew members were seized. It is the biggest tanker hijacked to date and is carrying 2 million barrels of oil -- a quarter of Saudi Arabia's daily output, valued at $100 million.
More at The Washington Post.
A Surge to Wipe Out Pirates of the Horn - Everett Pyatt, Real Clear World opinion
Last night the Indian Navy Ship Tabar struck a long overdue blow for freedom of the seas by sinking a pirate mother ship in the pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden. At last, the pirates will know that the hijacking party has been crashed.
Some are questioning whether the Tabar acted in self-defense. Ridiculous, they acted in the cause of law and order in support of freedom - a much higher calling.
Perhaps this event will shake other nations out of their unwillingness to address the threat and put together a meaningful military force to eliminate these nautical terrorists who prefer to call themselves businessmen. They make the Mafia look like kindergarteners.
More at Real Clear World and:
Indian Navy Destroys Pirate Ship in Gulf of Aden - Voice of America
Indian Navy Says It Sank Pirate Ship - New York Times
Indian Warship Destroys Suspected Pirate Vessel - Los Angeles Times
India Leads Fight Against Somali Pirates - Christian Science Monitor
Pirate Boat Sunk But Attacks Continue - Daily Telegraph
Indian Navy Sinks Pirate 'Mother Ship' - Associated Press
Negotiations Begin for Sirius Hostages - The Australian
Somali Pirates Talk Ransom for Supertanker - Voice of America
Saudi Owners 'Talking to Pirates' - BBC News
Somali Pirates Transform Villages into Boomtowns - Associated Press
Time for an Anti-piracy Coalition of the Willing - Forbes opinion
Bring Justice to Somalia's Fisheries - Christian Science Monitor opinion
US Admiral 'Stunned' by Pirates' Reach - Agence France-Presse
The top US military officer said Monday he was "stunned" by the reach of the Somali pirates who seized a Saudi supertanker off the east coast of Africa, calling piracy a growing problem that needs to be addressed.
But Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there were limits to what the world's navies could do once a ship has been captured because national governments often preferred to pay pirates ransom.
"I'm stunned by the range of it, less so than I am the size," Mullen said of the seizure of the Sirius Star Sunday by armed men.
The huge, oil laden prize, which is three times the size of a US aircraft carrier, was some 450 miles east of Kenya when it was boarded, he said.
More at Agence France-Presse.
Tanker Capture Raises Alarm over Somali Piracy - Lee Keath and Jennifer Quinn, Associated Press
It seems inconceivable: Somali pirates in speedboats foil warships from the world's most powerful navies to prey on shipping lanes crucial to the oil supply.
How do they do it? Basically, it's a big ocean and no one wants to be top cop.
NATO and the US Navy say they can't be everywhere, and American officials are urging ships to hire private security. Warships patrolling off Somalia have succeeded in stopping some pirate attacks. But military assaults to wrest back a ship are highly risky and, to this point, uncommon.
More at The Associated Press.
Call for Navies to Seek Out Pirates' Ships - Robert Wright, Financial Times
Naval forces off Somalia must take firm action to tackle the vessels pirates are using as bases for long-range attacks, shipping organisations said on Tuesday after Saturday's audacious seizure of a huge oil tanker.
Since the weekend hijack of the Saudi tanker, pirates have seized two more ships - a Greek bulk carrier, in the Gulf of Aden with about 25 crew on board, and a Hong Kong-flagged ship carrying grain and bound for Iran.
Peter Hinchliffe, marine director of the International Chamber of Shipping, said naval forces could identify the "motherships" from which attacks were launched and that there was a legal right to search them and seize weapons.
"We want [naval forces] to go on board, look for evidence of piracy, confiscate the weapons, confiscate the ships if possible and arrest the pirates," he said.
More at Financial Times.
After Hijacking, Saudi Foreign Minister Says Nation Will Join Anti-Piracy Efforts - Faiza Saleh Ambah, Washington Post
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister on Tuesday condemned the hijacking of a Saudi supertanker carrying $100 million in crude oil, calling piracy "a disease that has to be eradicated."
The 1,080-foot Sirius Star was seized by Somali pirates Sunday off East Africa. Its owner, Vela International, said the tanker is now believed to be anchored off the coast of Somalia.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said his country would join international efforts to battle piracy, which has surged to levels unseen in modern times.
More at The Washington Post.
Pirates' Delight - Wall Street Journal editorial
The latest ship to fall into the hands of pirates off the coast of northern Africa is a Hong Kong-registered cargo vessel captured yesterday in the Gulf of Aden. The unfortunately named Delight is now steaming toward Somalia, where it presumably will be held for ransom. It joins the Saudi supertanker, Sirius Star, seized over the weekend.
The assault on the Delight is one of 90-plus attacks on ships this year by Somali pirates, more than double last year's tally, according to the International Maritime Bureau. It says that pirates are currently holding 15 ships and more than 250 sailors. That includes a Ukrainian ship carrying Russian tanks intended for southern Sudan; it was captured in September.
The pirates' headquarters is Somalia, whose dysfunctional government lacks basic law-enforcement agencies, on or off shore, to disrupt pirates. It has a 1,000-mile coastline along the Gulf of Aden, where marauders and their boats can hide easily. Yemen and Djibouti, which also border the Gulf of Aden, are more politically stable, but have few capabilities. The same is true for Kenya, off whose coast the supertanker was taken.
More at The Wall Street Journal and:
Oil Capture Spotlights Somali Pirates' Reach - Christian Science Monitor
Conflicting Reports on Seized Saudi Oil Tanker - Voice of America
Seized Tanker Anchors off Somalia - BBC News
Hijacked Supertanker Drops Anchor - New York Times
Pirates Hijack Another Merchant Ship off Africa - Los Angeles Times
Hong Kong Grain Ship Hijacked by Pirates - Reuters
Ships Diverted after Saudi Oil Tanker Hijacked - Associated Press
Indian Navy Battles Pirates off Somalia Coast - Voice of America
Indian Navy Says it Fought Off Pirate Ship - Associated Press
Somali Pirates Try to Seize British Ship - Daily Telegraph
Somali Pirates Hijack Thai Fishing Boat - Associated Press
Impoverished Land Awash with Millions of Dollars - The Times
Maritime Terrorism - The Times editorial
At War with Pirates on the High Seas - Los Angeles Times editorial
We Must Defend our High Seas - The Times opinion