Wednesday, April 15, 2009

About The Somali Pirates - Why We Cannot Send in Stephen Decatur

Besides Decatur being dead, the BBC explains some limits on just shooting the b*****ds in Could 19th-Century plan stop piracy?
However, the resolutions that made these actions permissible (1838 and 1846) also contain restrictions.

Everything has to be done in accordance with "international law" and this is interpreted as complying with the conditions of the International Law of the Sea Convention.

This convention, in article 105, does permit the seizure of a pirate ship, but article 110 lays down that, in order to establish that a ship is indeed a pirate vessel, the warship - and it may only be a warship - has to send a boat to the suspected ship first and ask for its papers.

This is hardly a recipe for a Denman or Decatur-type action.

Add to this legal restriction the relative lack of warships in the seas off Somalia - more than there were, but still insufficient - and the reluctance to tackle the pirates in their home bases, throw in the chaos in Somalia, where there is no effective government, and you have perfect conditions for piracy.

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