After almost three years in captivity, the crew of the Iceberg 1, a cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates, are home after finally being rescued. …
Its Dubai-based owner, who appears not to have been insured, refused to pay a ransom for it and simply went to ground, ignoring pleas for help from the hostages’ families.
Meanwhile, the governments representing the different sailors on board – six Indians, nine Yemenis, four Ghanaians, two Sudanese, two Pakistanis and one Filipino – were either unable or unwilling to mount a rescue attempt. …
Now, though, it has been – courtesy of an armed raid not by the multi-national force, but by Somalia’s own fledgling anti-piracy patrols, who have been trained up a South African private military company. But while I would be the first to congratulate the Somali troops for completing what is an extremely dangerous job, I can’t help wondering why it had to be left to them. Freeing hostages is normally a task deemed suitable only for highly-trained special forces, and without casting aspersions on the Somalis’ abilities, I doubt they quite fall into that category.
The multinational force, on the other hand, has huge special forces assets galore, from Britain, France, the US and so on. Given the appalling plight of this ship, could they not perhaps have made an exception in this case?
The answer, I suspect, is that most nations are generally reluctant to risk the lives of their own troops to free citizens from other countries, which is probably fair enough. But this does give an idea of the limits to which the international force – and note that word “international” – is prepared to go.
One also can’t help wondering why India – which now sees itself as a global superpower, and has perfectly competent special forces – couldn’t have done the raid, given that six of the hostages were Indian. Yes, they would have ended up taking the lead on behalf of a few lesser nations in the process. But isn’t that what being a superpower is all about?
Kudos to the Somalis for pulling themselves together.
Shame on India for not lifting a finger.
It’s time the U.S. and the U.K. seriously think about their global roles as well. Should add China and Russia to the list as well. All countries rely on global trade. All should be willing to do their part to keep global shipping channels free from pirates.
If we’re willing to commit 35,000 troops to kill Afghans who’ve done nothing wrong (other than try to survive) than can’t be pledge a small force of 100 to deal with pirates?