Piracy in the Arabian Sea is an ongoing threat to international shipping and costs almost sixteen billion dollars a year. While the international community has made significant progress fighting piracy, the US has authorized American merchant vessels to employ armed security details. In this remarkable video from the Indian Ocean in 2012, we see two Somali pirate vessels repelled under a hailstorm of gunfire by private security personnel aboard a commercial oil tanker. You are not going to believe this story until you watch this video clip
When most of us think of pirates, we get a mental image of some character like “Captain Jack Sparrow.” we think of 18th century sailing ships and trunks of booty buried on desert islands. But these iconic impressions belie the realities of piracy in the 21st century.
Most of today’s piracy occurs in the Strait of Malacca, the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the coasts of Somalia and Singapore. More than fifty thousand commercial vessels a year travel these waters on their way to deliver everything from raw materials and crude oil, to shipping containers packed with billions of dollars in consumer goods. These make for very tempting targets for desperate pirates, who can use both the cargo, and the ships and crews for ransom.
In the late 2000s, The United States led an international effort to curtail piracy in the region by deploying naval vessels. Soon after, the United States began to allow US flagged ships to employ armed private security details like the one featured in this video clip.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Piracy is defined as “any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft; against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State; any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft.”
The dramatic content of this video has proved to be very popular on YouTube, where the clip has been watched more than twenty two million times. People have been leaving comments like:
“you picked the wrong boat fool!”- Broderick Robinson
“good the pirates got exactly what they deserved.”- Matthew Forsythe
“In hindsight, they look like idiots. But in many ways, what the Pirates have been doing for over a couple decades now is not steal anything, but take the crew as hostages until the Navy, either from the Netherlands, Britain, Australia, US, or South Africa, come to arrest them. What happens afterwards is they go through the federal court process, and go to jail from WITHIN those respective countries. After their sentence is over, they’ll be citizens of those countries, and live there, likely off of welfare. THIS is the motive of Somali pirates.”- Turin Turambar
“All cargo ships should have armed private security staff to protect them against the pirates.”- Yuki Mo
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