Word came this morning of pirates seizing 12 sailors off the coast of Nigeria. We could be looking at the start of another pirate playground with the potential to get even nastier.
Unlike pirates on the other side of Africa, who are emerging out of the ruins of a failed state to look for personal enrichment, the pirates of Nigeria may be tied to movements seeking autonomy from the central government, or at least a bigger shares of the petrodollars being collected in Abuja. This was brought up recently in an article at ForeignPolicy.com by Bridget Coggins (thanks for the flag for this, esj!) that of all pirate movements currently at sea, the Nigerians are the only ones with a political bent to keep in mind.
Which means we could be looking at a potential civil war on the waves. Not necessarily something new, as any student of the Confederate States Navy could point out, but one that makes dealing with the issue a bit more difficult.
Mind you, considering nascent political movements hoisting the Jolly Roger puts one in mind this weekend of a time in history when privateers were offered safe ports and retention of large percentages of their booty if they harassed enemy shipping for the upstart government. As a result, over 2200 vessels were seized at considerable loss, most of it borne by the principal naval power of the time.
Such was the success of their efforts, that out of this came traditions and expectations that would serve their formalized successor, the United States Navy…
Historians share with financial planers the mantra about past performance being no guarantor of future returns, so who’s to say here…?