Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Quickie: Pirates of the Gulf, Haggling

080930-N-0743B-128 HOYBYO, Somalia (Sept. 30, 2008) Pirates holding the merchant vessel MV Faina receive supplies Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008 while under observation by a U.S. Navy ship. The Belize-flagged cargo ship is owned and operated by Kaalybe Shipping, Ukraine and is carrying a cargo of Ukrainian T-72 tanks and related equipment. The ship was attacked Sept. 28 and forced to proceed to an anchorage off the Somali Coast. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric L. Beauregard)

In a haggle of a lifetime, the pirates came down with a thud from a high $35 million ransom, to a reportedly low $5 million. Not a lot of good options left in any case. The U.S. Navy won't let it run, and the Russians are reportedly coming in the next several days. As if these are not problematic enough, AP is reporting that Mohammed Jammer Ali, the Somali Foreign Ministry's acting permanent director has said that "the international community has permission to fight with the pirates." The green light is on. I wonder - pirates are good swimmers, right?

Here is a satellite map (PDF file) on the Somalian piracy for 2008 alone from UNOSAT. The pirate map is worth a peek, but it's no treasure map. UNOSAT is the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Operational Satellite Applications Programme, implemented in co-operation with the European Organisation of High Energy Physics (CERN).

No comments: