Thursday, December 10, 2009

Somali pirates free crew after seven months in captivity

AFP is reporting that that the Maltese-flagged, Greek-owned vessel MV Ariana has been freed after being hijacked off Somalia over seven months ago. The vessel's crew of 24 Ukrainian mariners - including two women - is reported to be preparing to get underway after a ransom said to amount to $2.5 million was paid to the pirates. One can only imagine what it must have been like for the crew to spend such a long time in the hands of pirates (the vessel was seized on May 2 while en route to Brazil from the Middle East with a cargo of soya beans).

The likelihood that any of the criminals who captured the Ariana will ever be prosecuted is unlikely. The New York Times posted a Reuters item on Thursday about the difficulties surrounding the setting up of an international court to deal with piracy. And though no one will say it, the crux of the matter is that nobody really cares enough to amend any statutes or jurisdiction about criminal acts like piracy and sea robbery into the 21st century. We'll spend millions deploying naval vessels and personnel to the region and fob off the main prosecutorial work of dealing with suspected pirates to places like Kenya, but not establish clear cut, international parameters and practices to effectively convict pirates.

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