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Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of Pepto!



April 15, 2009 – Comments (3) | RELATED TICKERS: AVAV , XOM , SFL

Esteemed Fools,


Gone are the days when a simple blunderbuss, cutlass, parrot and Orkney accent could charm the stodgiest of merchants into handing over the cargo of a ship. These days Somalia has become the new Port Royal. The use of RPGs, AK-47s, speed boats, gruff manners, and a lust for ransom money has caused the world to take notice.


In recent days I have read articles calling for corporations to arm offensively or defensively all their ships. I have also read that the corporations in question say that would cost too much money, better off paying for the extra insurance instead. Now I understand that some are calling for us, yes, our military, to circle the ports of Somalia 24/7 with drone aircraft to keep an eye in the scurvy dogs. Others have seen that idea and rose with the suggestion of putting troops on the ground.


As of this moment there are approximately 100 guests (hostages) in the company of various uber capitalists (pirates) and numerous merchant ships. Word has it that our resolve to create opportunities for advancement (kill pirates) has caused the leadership of the uber capitalists to become disgruntled. They in turn have issued decrees of unhappiness in the form of offering to create, for us, numerous opportunities for advancement (kill) for all that get in their way.


Fool community I challenge you to think of the most likely way this will play out. Will the shipping companies make their vessels repulsive to pirates by arming the ships crew with sour kraut cannons or will we turn Somalia into our new pet project?  Please pontificate and post your thoughts here.


Yours truly,


3 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On April 15, 2009 at 3:28 PM, blake303 (28.69) wrote:

The corporations are to blame in creating a pirate problem. Reap what you sow.

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#2) On April 15, 2009 at 3:53 PM, DemonDoug (31.03) wrote:

I think a likely solution will be shipping companies hiring escort ships... maybe something similar to US Coast Guard vessels, and I have a feeling these will be private industry military outfits like Blackwater. 

blake, that story didn't seem right to me.  So i read some of the comments, and I found one that eventually matched my sentiment:

Oh, yes. Pirates, Hamas, Hizballah, Al-Qaeda, Austrian dungeon daddy Joseph Fritzl, Dracula, all kinds of murderers, criminals, robbers and rapists all have a cause and should be respected, talked with and given concessions. Congratulation, Independent.

While the nuclear waste dumping has been documented, I fail to see these thugs as eco-fighting fisherman protecting their waters.  Somalia is a total mess and is yet another policy failure of the Bush administration to do nothing about something that has now become a serious problem.

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#3) On April 15, 2009 at 4:53 PM, Flackslammer (< 20) wrote:

Essentially all parties in the maritime industry (that's including both unions and what one commenter calls "the corporations") are opposed to putting guns in the hands of crews.

Especially the crews don't like the idea of arming crews. They know it would increase their risk of being murdered by the first commenter's little friends.

But mightn't it be more efficient to put guns in the hands of crews on merchant ships that are vulnerable to attack, instead of relying on navies that can never adequately patrol the vast spaces involved?

I'm not sure.

But what trumps my view, your view and anybody else's view is this: INSURANCE. The insurers of merchant shipping universally include language in their policies that make coverage invalid if the ship is armed.

So it doesn't matter what you, I, Hillary Clinton or the US Navy thinks about it. If the insurers say armed ships aren't covered under this insurance policy, the ships will not be armed. End of story.

As for that old article from the Independent about the pirates being some kind of Somali Liberation Navy, it's getting linked over the place these days. No great harm in that: I haven't seen it cited so far by anybody who could be taken seriously. These people are thugs with satellite phones and their leaders are exile Somali businessmen in Dubai and London. I can't think of a better use to which a bullet could be put. These are not freedom fighters struggling to keep radioactive wastes from reaching Somali shores.

(Oh, well, then, they're displaced former fishermen, forced into piracy on the depleted waters they used to fish, aren't they? -- Next time somebody tries to tell you that one, ask him naively to teach you more about the history of the Somali fishing industry. There isn't much of such a history. See what he makes up.)

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