Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Terror on the Seas

Ha ha, the Saudis had one of their oil tankers pirated away from them. There's been noise about doing 'something' about the Somali/Yemen pirates, but thus far nothing has happened. A Brit columnist writes that maybe nothing should happen, at least from the elite navies of the world:
If we're happy to let mainly Third-World sailors run a serious risk of disastrous shipwreck to move our stuff more cheaply - and we are apparently quite happy with that, have been for a long time - it's difficult to see why we care about them running similar risks of being pirated. If we care about poor sailormen's safety, we might do at least as well to crack down on the shipowners' use of flags of convenience and poorly-paid, poorly-trained crews.

One might find a clue to the current UK press outcry in the fact that most of the world's shipping deals are still struck in London's financial centres, but arguably the majority of us who don't work in the City have no great reason to spend our money and our servicemen's time in order to make life easier for the Square Mile's many shipowners, brokers and insurers.
I'd forgotten about the fact that ship owners poo-poo'd being a U.S. flagged vessel, favoring instead cheap, 'ask no questions' operators like Panama. Well to them all I can say is that maybe if you ask nicely, the Panamanian navy might stop by and help you out with that pirate problem.

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