Sunday, September 28, 2008

RANSOM PAID, SO WHAT NEXT?

A ransom of USD 2 million has finally been paid by MISC to the Somalian pirates for the release of the MISC ships and crews held by the pirates. However, nothings has been said about the options to take to safeguard our ships from being held captive in future. I suppose, whatever actions needed to be taken by MISC and the government, must of course be kept unknown to the pirates.

But I suppose, sending our RMN ships to protect MISC ships, each time it sails through the dangerous sea waters of the Gulf of Eden may not be a viable solution, as this will incur problems to the RMN. I am sure, the RMN does not favour this solution, as it will cause money (much more than the ransom paid), and more importantly a strain on the RMN resources. It is not as easy as sending ground troops to protect our borders.

Operating in the vast open seas imposes unique problems to the sailors, as detection to dangers especially at night will be extremely difficult. It will be even more difficult if the sea area is being frequently traversed by ships of all shapes and size. And pirates that are known to use small and extremely fast boats, will make identification exceedingly difficult for escorting ships.

The problems of piracy in the Gulf of Eden, which has been going on for quite some time now, should no longer be the problem of individual ship owners or individual countries; but rather the collective responsibility of shipping nations.

And Malaysia being a shipping nation must endeavour to bring to notice to the world community, the dangers faced by shipping nations in the Gulf of Eden, and the urgency to fight the increasing menace from Somalian sea pirates. And I think the best forum to deal with this menace will be no less than the United Nations General Assembly.

2 comments:

maurice said...

The piracy problem in the Gulf of Eden remind me of an incident we went through in the middle 90's on board of a ship chugging along the coast of Western Africa from Monrovia, Liberia to Freetown, Sierra Leone.

After having survived a stormy night, in the morning we suddenly found our old ship with about 600 passengers onboard, surrounded by two fast boats.Luckily for us we had 2 Nigerian soldiers from ECOMOG (Peace-Keeping Force deployed by the Organization of African States in Liberia)on board as armed marshallers.They carried nothing but old AK47 rifles with few rounds of magazines.However their presence was enough to keep the pirates from boarding the ship.

Every time the two boats tried coming at our ship, one of the Nigerian soldiers would fire his AK 47 over the pirates' heads.In effect, he was warning them not to come near and make the attempt to board the ship.This 'cat and mouse game' went on for about 1 hour
before they finally gave-up and left the ship alone to continue our journey to Freetown.

The moral of the story, MISC should consider having armed marshallers on board its ship for the piracy problem in the Gulf of Eden.My experience shows that their presence could deter the pirates from boarding the ship to hijack it.

We have to take an immediate unilateral action using our own resources in order to protect our national interest in such a lawless sea, of course backed by all necessary diplomatic efforts.

ArshadRaji said...

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