Part the Two Hundred Second is now up, ahead of time to allow those with plans for New Year’s Eve to get to this without interference, and may be read here.
May however you celebrate the new year (or at least swear out the old one as you condemn it to bad experience) go well, and hoping your 2010 is a good one. Or at the very least, better than Peter Hyams’ 2010…
Two interesting piracy pieces this morning:
* Two more ships were seized today, making the number to match or beat for 2010 a lot tougher for the Somali pirates
* This little documentary, which after seeing the prey last night and feeling underwhelmed by it… Well, I laughed
Part the Two Hundred First (a) yes, exists, after the last one, and (b) is now up and may be read here.
Word just came in that the Chinese have paid the ransom for the De Xin Hai.
For all the talk about China exerting herself in the region, as discussed here at the time, in the end they paid up, much the way they do elsewhere. There was a drop of four million US dollars, according to the pirates, and the ship’s now free to go.
It’s hard to say what we can come away with from this. That bravado and bluster are still with us long after six pounders have been replaced with cruise missiles on warships, and still as effective? That when it comes to taking hostages at sea, there’s rarely a happy ending involved for the victims? That there’s still plenty of incentives out there to encourage picking up an AK-47 and getting in the motor boat?
The best we can say is that, thankfully, there are 25 less sailors being held hostage, and that the story continues on the Indian Ocean…
It’s Christmas here, and my best to everyone enjoying this holiday as well.
I did all right under the tree; Susan got me Peter Leeson’s THE INVISIBLE HOOK, which I’m looking forward to reading over the week. Well, when I’m not busy writing Hope out of her predicament…
For folks looking for other pirates to follow during the next week (if you have off), there’s always:
- THE WANNABEE PIRATES by Largent and McCrary, which updates five days a week with the main story, about probably the most inept pirate since the buccaneers Bob Hope faced in THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE. And if you’re looking for more serious fare, they have a Saturday only strip on the same site, GRAYHAWK AND THE STARBUCKLERS OF THE CARIBBEAN. In addition to all the goodness of having pirates in space, there’s the fact that our hero’s home port is on Earth, in the Carib during the Golden Age of Piracy, which means that in addition to space pirates, you get pirates as we think of them too. What’s not to like here?
- CELESTE THE PRIATE by Lily Mountjoy and Peter Prellwitz, where the story came into being in pure piratanical fashion: A supporting character on the main strip, ANGEL OF ST. THOMAS, seized and boarded the site and commandeered it for her origin tale. Celeste’s story is set in the 1700s as she starts her pursuit of the Sweet Trade, and can be read by new readers unfamiliar with the main tale, which is probably being held for ransom in the hold until Celeste’s finished her solo adventures. My hat’s off to Lily and Pete for what’s turning into a great tale of a woman at sea.
Speaking of other pirates out there, there’s a year-end assessment of the suppression of Somali piracy ventures by the AP. Bottom line: Double the attempts, but close to the same number of seizures. Which means lots of folks are going to be on station for a while until the marines get the call to hit the beach…
Part the Two Hundredth is now up, a little earlier than usual to get things wrapped before starting Christmas, and may be read here.
Two hundred parts. I suppose this deserves some sort of celebration, though the timing’s a little inauspicious for throwing in one more thing to note. Ah well…
My best to you and yours this season.
There was a statement released today by General Ward of US Africa Command, attempting to address one the main justifications for Somalia’s descent into armed anarchy.
What’s interesting about this statement is that it discusses the Somali fish stocks in the present tense, that the US and other nations “stand with Somalia in countering illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing wherever it occurs.” What strikes me though, is that it sidesteps the issue as to whether any such fishing occurred in the past, which led to this state of affairs in the first place.
Well, that and UNITAF’s inability to actually provide relief to the Somalis…
It’s interesting how little about the Somali situation an American news consumer gets from domestic sources. Most of the clippings I offer here are from agencies either based around the Indian Ocean or in Europe, and as of late more of them are from the former. With the IMB pirate attack map showing more incidents for 2009 than the last two years, it can’t be for a lack of anything to report. Do we need to see another American crew taken for us to pay attention over there?
It probably shouldn’t be surprising, as there’s a tendency over here to become amnesic about unsuccessful overseas ventures. It took years for Korea to get the attention it should have had, and Lebanon has not yet been as well examined as it should be. And because victory over Iraq was followed with a long drawn-out campaign to bring order, we’ve already started to ignore news from there, especially when each new disaster affects less Americans than the last one.
You could probably say George Santayana was calling us out when he discussed forgetfulness leading to a repetitive history. Because 1993 was a turning-for-the-worst point in operations in Somalia, we’ve started to rely on our infamous lack of geography to justify not knowing where the Horn of Africa is. Worse, it looks like al Qaeda is operating in Somalia the same way it worked in Afghanistan, after we left them to their own devices once the Soviet Union left the country and subsequently fell apart. And we all know what that led to come September of 2001…