It's being reported that the Danes seized by pirates last week, while sailing in their yacht, have been moved to another vessel. And the seven captives have apparently been split up, clearly to make it more difficult for forces to try to rescue them. What happened earlier last week with the four American yachters has obviously been noted by the pirates holding the Danes, which tells you a little about how much these maritime criminals communicate and follow the news.
Meanwhile, there are still have ill-informed postings about the situation, harping on that these Danes should never have been in the area. In a piece in today's National Post out of Canada, Araminta Wordsworth writes, "A Danish couple and their three children ignored warnings of Somali pirates when they elected to sail blithely into the Indian Ocean. Guess what? They got caught. Now they're getting little sympathy as they pray for rescue."
Wordsworth assumes many things here: That the children ignored warnings, that the pirates offered a warning, that no one cares about their plight and that the Indian Ocean - in toto - is the realm of pirates. Okay, I am really talking about semantics and bad journalism, but there is a broader point here.
As I said in an earlier post, there are responsibilities on various fronts here. But the criticism being thrown at these Danish captives is wrong, in my opinion. Change what Wordsworth wrote to something like, "An Asian crew ignored warnings of Somali pirates when they elected to sail blithely into the Indian Ocean. Guess what? They got caught. Now they're getting little sympathy as they pray for rescue."
That could describe the vast majority of mariners currently being held hostage by Somali pirates. The Danish yachters took a risk and got caught. But this is what the seafaring world deals with on a daily basis. In fact, as I've been told in many interviews, the professional world of global shipping considers piracy as just another cost of doing business.
The media criticisms should not be aimed at the Danes hijacked last week. They should be aimed at the shipping community that has allowed piracy off the Horn of Africa to grow while being written off as a bottom end deduction.