Those-who-claim-to-know these things speculate that pirates have (re)emerged as one of the bigger menaces of this century joining the ranks of assorted terrorist and taliban groups wreaking havoc in much of the postcolonial world. I've been reading about it for some time on off-and-on in the newspapers, but I hadn't really given it much thought. But now I believe if my thesis EVER finishes I may write a paper on this. Methinks it would be a darkly amusing topic. In the meantime, some interesting facts: According to the Associated Press, some 18 ships and over 310 crew members are believed to be held by pirates off the coast of Somalia. A timeline (of sorts) follows:
- AUG 4: Pirates seize a Nigerian tug, the Yenagoa Ocean, with 11 crew members.
- NOV. 10: Pirates hijack a Philippines chemical tanker, the MT Stolt Strength, with 23 crew members.
- DEC. 16: Pirates seize a Malaysian tugboat with 11 Indonesian crew members.
- FEB. 22: Pirates take a Greek-owned cargo ship, the Saldanha, with a 22-member crew, off Somalia's coast. The crew's nationalities are unknown.
- FEB. 28: State broadcaster in the Seychelles reports that Somali pirates hijacked the Serenity, a yacht with two Seychelles nationals on board.
- MARCH 25: Pirates seize Panama-registered, Greek-owned Nipayia with 18 Filipino crew members and a Russian captain.
- APRIL 1: Tour operator says pirates seized a tourist yacht and its crew of seven near the Seychelles. The Indian Ocean Explorer had dropped off its tourists before it was seized.
- APRIL 4: Pirates hijack German freighter Hansa Stavanger. It has 24 crew members: five Germans, three Russians, two Ukrainians, two Filipinos and 12 Tuvalus.
- APRIL 4: Pirates seize Taiwanese ship, Win Far 161, near the Seychelles islands. It has a crew of 30, including 17 Filipinos, six Indonesians, five Chinese and two Taiwanese.
- APRIL 5: Pirates hijack Yemeni fishing boat with 13 crew members in the Gulf of Aden.
- APRIL 6: British-owned bulk carrier, the Malaspina Castle, hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. It is carrying a crew of 24 from Bulgaria, the Philippines, Russia and Ukraine.
- APRIL 6: Pirates seize Taiwanese fishing boat with 30 crew off eastern Somalia.
- APRIL 11: Pirates seize Italian tugboat off Somalia's north coast. Ten of the 16 crew members are Italian. The others are five Romanians and a Croatian.
- APRIL 14: Officials say two Egyptian fishing boats have been hijacked with a total of 36 crew. Boats seized either April 12 or 13th, it is not clear.
- APRIL 14: Pirates seize Greek-managed bulk carrier, the MV Irene E.M., in a rare overnight attack. The St.-Vincent and Grenadines-flagged ship with at least 21 Filipino seamen was sailing from Jordan to India.
- APRIL 14: Pirates capture the Lebanese-owned cargo ship the MV Sea Horse with 19 crew aboard.
- APRIL 18: Pirates seize a Belgian dredger, the Pompei, with two Belgians, a Dutch, three Filipinos and four Croatians onboard.