29 September 2008

Somali Pirates Continue To Demand Ransom

There's bold, and then there's stupid. I'll let you determine which category these pirates fall into. They seized the Faina, a Ukrainian-operated and Belize-flagged cargo ship, on 25 September 2008. The Faina is allegedly carrying over 30 T-72 tanks and an assortment of other weaponry.

The pirates aren't going anywhere with the seized ship anytime soon (they are anchored off the Somali coast near Hobyo, and they are under constant surveillance), but they are also saying that they will fight to the death if anyone tries to get between them and the $20 million ransom they are demanding. From FOXNews:

Somali pirates who seized a Ukrainian freighter carrying Russian-made tanks are threatening a fight to the death as U.S. ships and aircraft surround them and a Russian warship heads to join the scene.

A U.S. destroyer and submarine, as well as other foreign vessels, are surrounding the Faina, which was carrying 33 Russian-built T-72 tanks when it was seized by the pirates on Thursday. [...]

"What we are awaiting eagerly is the $20 million — nothing less, nothing more," one of the pirates, Sugule Ali, told a local news agency by satellite phone. "We are not afraid of their presence; that will not make us abandon the ship or refrain from asking the money."

Ali added that his crew of pirates were "not afraid" of the foreign warships.
A little pointer for Ali: The Russian Navy is sending the FF 712 (Neustrashimy) to the region. The Neustrashimy is a Project 1154 Yastreb class missile frigate, it is the most modern of the large frigates in the Russian navy, and it usually has fun things on board like anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, a 100mm gun, and a Ka-27 ASW helicopter.

I believe that I read somewhere that some of the Faina's crew are Russian citizens. If my memory on that is correct, then everyone should be concerned about what the Russian Navy has set as rules of engagement for the Neustrashimy. Foreign warships (namely U.S. Navy ships) being in the area should tighten-up Russia's ROE in this situation, but the tactics used during the Moscow theater siege in 2002 always makes me cautiously pessimistic when considering possible Russian tactics where their citizens are held captive.

Regardless of which foreign warships might end-up being involved, if Ali and his merry band of pirates decide to fight to the death, it's going to be a short fight.


No comments: