Going on the Account: How Not To, and Maybe How To

With the situation in Somalia showing very little progress, with twenty four ships as of this post still held by pirates, word came in recently of a private security armada forming to take out the pirates.

While I can fully appreciate the effort to try and make things better, this seems more like frustration with things as they now stand, with a major commitment of ships on station producing few tangible results.  Reacting in this way, though, feels like pouring gasoline on a raging fire; a private navy doing convoy duty might be more tempted to go live with their ammo to impress their bosses and lose a client the hard way, rather than adding to the ships seized.

So what’s the answer, if not sending private vessels to sea better armed?  Before we get cries of “The market doesn’t solve every problem,” there is a piece out there about anecdotal evidence suggesting that Netflix is cutting into BitTorrent’s business.  If ever there was proof that the best way to address piracy is to remove the biggest encouragements to it, price and access, this is it.

Could a Netflix-like solution work here?  Is it possible to re-work trade and the flow of capital in such a way that piracy, not only inSomaliabut worldwide, suddenly becomes unattractive?

Until we get some serious consideration of a radical solution, we may not find out before the first mercenary vessel sinks a tanker while trying to save it…

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