I’m surprised this wasn’t more prominent on the news by sheer virtue of excessive badassness.
So this Chinese ship got overrun by armed pirates last week; a fate many have suffered from. Well over 350 ships were attacked by Somali pirates in the past year. Put that in perspective, that’s a ship everyday with the exception of two weeks out of the year. But this ship was different. On board were a bunch of fishermen. That’s not what made it different though; the difference was their level of badassness.
At some point, these guys did the math and thought “10 guys with guns and grenade launchers versus 28 malnutritioned guys without guns; we can probably kick their asses.” So they did.
Three of the 28 men sustained injuries during the fight. The crew was comprised of nine Chinese, eight Filipinos, six Indonesians, and five Vietnamese.[AP]
If that’s not gangster, show me what is. Further, they’ve really inspired a new wave of fishermen and ships to arm themselves and stand up to the pirates. If the government won’t protect you, kick ass yourself. They are defying statistics and really the odds. The pirates may soon meet their match when their target sets its targets on them.
I salute each and every one of those crew men. The tragedy of this whole saga is that innocent ships and crews are still at immense risk floating in our seas. Worse still, these attacks are becoming more frequent and even spawning copycat cases in West Africa. Except the West African crew has learned from Somali’s failure to yield ransom.
The pirates in West Africa, unlike the Somali pirates, don’t normally demand ransom for the ship crews. Instead they target the ship’s fuel and cargo, seizing it and transferring it to their own ships in sophisticated operations. The fuel and cargo are then sold for quick profits in the region’s thriving black market. [Globe and Mail]
I want to say something preachy about how we as Africans should stop turning on each other for profit. I’m even thinking of saying that if we should at all turn to crime, maybe we should consider the Robin Hood model and rob the rich, leave the poor alone. But all I keep thinking, in this politically incorrect mind of mine, is that West Africans are really not lucky. Their pirates will not be easy to defeat. Not because they wont cause international crises by virtue of the fact that they don’t kidnap foreign nationals and hold for ransom. Not even because they are faster, more efficient and better armed. Heck, not even because rumor has it that the government is behind them.
I just keep thinking that there’s no way Taiwanese Fishermen would go all the way to West Africa.
And then I chuckle slightly and drown in guilt.
PS: In all seriousness, how does one effectively put a stop to piracy?