Got word this morning of the capture of a Somali “mother ship” by the HDMS Esbern Snar.
One of the links in the article was to an analysis piece that notes the situation is getting worse off Somalia, and that one of the things that has given the pirates the advantage is that they have at least eight mother ships from which to engage from. Further down in the piece is where they quote someone from a maritime security firm that suggests that, things going the way they are, that world trade will be severely hampered by the crisis.
Talk about bad timing… Going on about eight of these mother ships bringing the world to a crisis, buried in a link from a story about one of these ship’s capture, now making it 12% less likely thanks to the capture of one of these ships. Not what you call good placement…
Setting aside the agenda of the person quoted in the piece (maritime security expert, after all; need we say more?), there’s a question as to how much we can ever know about any conflict in real time. This is especially true in cases where one side is composed of irregulars, which is used here for anyone that’s on the waves without any central coordination. (And if there is some center giving orders to these folks on the level of THRUSH or Quantum, they are doing such a good job of keeping a low profile that even WikiLeaks hasn’t ratted them out yet…). Kidding aside, it’s always tough to assume you have an understanding in cases like this; for all we know, most of the pirates out there are going day-to-day without any grand plans to follow.
This assumption comes from looking at past pirates and seeing how they conducted their business. Considering these folks were in a business that was entirely situational, reliant on what they could find and other whims of fate, I’m not so sure that the mindset or goal orientation is in any way comparable to the folks commanding the navies looking for them. And maybe there won’t be a solution until the warships out there start to think “more pirate” than they do now.
Likewise, if the pirates had a sense of what the other side considered, they might be leaving the sweet trade en masse. Considering how Sir Henry Morgan conducted himself in a radically different manner than Morgan the raider of Panama, so likewise having a stake in a Somalia that’s a state as opposed to a name on the map would go some way towards bringing the crisis to an end.
That’s always the danger of trying to look ahead; not every shoal is on the map, and the waters may be as smooth as glass in the height of hurricane season. That’s not going to stop people from making assumptions or guessing what’s over the horizon, but no one should ever make a pronouncement and not expect their pronouncements to come back and haunt them.