Going On The Account: Sightings and Soundings

I be just getting me hull righted after a great swell, which is a Talk Like a Pirate Day-appropriate statement that means, “Oy!  The tsurus I’ve had, you don’t want to know.”  I’ve been out of it for a bit and need to share a few bits of interest, to prove I’m alive and not willing to have me booty pried from me dead hands just yet, which means- well, that’s actually pretty straightforward, so…

 

A semi-viral video is going around the Web after getting flagged via Bloomberg of an action taken last year aboard the bulk carrier Avocet by her security detail, provided by the Trident Group.  The headcam for a member of the security detail shows the hired guards first attempting to repel the pirates approaching the vessel, which was 120 miles off the Somali coast.  When the launch collides into the Avocet’s hull, the guards kept firing on her, and still fired as the launch slid down the ship’s hull.

 

Brutal?  Sure.  Expected?  Certainly.  Justified?  That’s the question people looking at the situation are pondering.  The fact that this was an act of piracy and that the ship had a right to defend itself, versus the wonton application of force which as displayed by the headcam can feel excessive; that’s not an easy choice one has to make.

 

Just keep in mind that whatever else you may conclude as you watch the video and more news comes out about it (provided it’s not buried under a host of other stories, some of them of legitimate import), the last thing you should be is surprised.  People should have seen this coming, after all…

 

Considering that as this video and incident get attention, word comes of the seizure of the M/T Smyrni while in transit in the Arabian Sea.  This of course complicates things as you do a gut check; the only quick comfort to come is that if you do have to deliberate this, then there’s still something in you that approaches emotion…

 

And if rather than debate yourself about this, you would rather try and be as practical about the situation as possible, there’s a handy piece over at The Atlantic about how to negotiate your way out of being seized by pirates.  It’s a little tongue in cheek, which may be in poor taste to those who know some of the people currently guests of the Somalis, so sensitivity warnings ahoy…

 

Speaking of those recognizable, the Royal Navy is no longer actively engaged in piracy interdiction missions off Somalis.  The main reason behind the pullback appears to be lack of funds, which is rionic as it was Somali poverty that got this mess started in the first place.  What’s interesting is that the British fight may well be taken up by the Germans, who just approved an expanded mission in the theater.  Which means the Somalis had better know what they should do if an unfamiliar ship trains her guns on them and over the loudspeaker comes, “Bereiten Sie sich Beobachter an Bord, Piraten sein!

 

Speaking of warnings, a piece by James Hansen that appeared at the New York Times discusses the threat to the global climate posed by Canada exploiting its tar sands oil.  With some reports out there indicating that even if not a single drop is pressed out of the ground in Alberta, we may already be seeing some of the Midwest dustbowl Hansen predicts anyway.  The big takeaway from the piece is that there’s discussion of tar sands coming that doesn’t place this strictly as a US policy issue; finally, some recognition down on this side of the 49th that not every decision on this issue comes from the power centers in Houston Washington, that Ottawa has a say too.

Which, of course, is something our children will know better…

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