Friday, August 8, 2008

A guide to polite pirating

Some may recall the dramatic episode in which Somalian pirates held hostage the crew of the luxury yacht Ponant and were then captured by French commandos after showing up to swap the hostages for the ransom.

With the approval of the Somalian Transitional Federal Government, the pirates were removed for trial in France.

There, as part of their defence, they have raised the fact that they were best-practice-following polite pirates. According to the Mirror:

The six raiders claimed they had a good conduct manual on how to seize foreign vessels to ensure their prisoners felt "relaxed and cheerful" during their week's captivity.

The written guide said they must not sexually assault women hostages, not shout at prisoners, give them food and drink regularly and let them sleep and use the toilet when they ask.

The gunmen even brought goats on to the 290ft French yacht, inviting their captives and 20 friends from their village in Somalia to an on-board barbecue.

After all, being rude could be bad for business.

However funny, this lack of violence is - in a way - good news. According to the IMO in 2007 attacks at sea or in port saw 20 mariners killed, over 153 injured and 194 kidnapped or taken hostage worldwide; 16 ships were hijacked, and one vessel and three crew remained unaccounted for as at April 2008.

Polite pirating certainly sounds better than being thrown overboard while pirates re-paint your cargo container carrier at sea to create a "phantom ship" they can steam into port to sell all the cargo ... (see paragraphs 179 and 180 of this UN report).

1 comment:

The Organic Viking said...

Well if we fancy a goat BBQ we know where to go...