Sunday, January 18, 2009

French seize Somali pirates

Two weeks ago, French commandos from the frigate Jean de Vienne captured 19 suspected pirates who were apparently planning to board two cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden. As AFP says, the French conducted a "decisive action" and captured the pirates. But instead of taking them back to France, as has occured before, the pirates were turned over to Somali authorities in Puntland. Fred Fry has posted some interesting images from the incident, well worth viewing.

This brings up the issue of just what happens to suspected pirates once they've been apprehended. We no longer hang them from a gallows at Execution Dock, London, and, indeed, it's been quite some time since anyone has actively prosecuted these maritime criminals on a large scale. But it will become an even bigger issue a this year progresses, if only due to the increased naval presence in the waters off the Horn of Africa. An update on the legal issues is forthcoming.

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