Somalia pirates here now, more to come

November 20, 2008 — by Guy Quanrud

According to CNN, pirates are still real. No, I don’t mean the weak and pathetic Internet pirates. Off the coast of Somalia, pirates have seized a Ukrainian cargo ship. Inside the ship is a treasure of weapons: Soviet-made T-72 tanks, tank artillery shells, grenade launchers and small arms—and they’re demanding a 20 million dollar ransom in return for the crew.

Okay, so these aren’t peg-legged or hilarious Jack Sparrows from the 17th and 18th centuries or Vikings from even the late 900s. They too have high powered weapons and are a completely new class from their predecessors.

Through the advance of technology, the wooden ship that a pirate would live and die for has become the cheap motorboat that fits up to six people. Swords have been replace by AK47’s and baggy pants and flamboyant hats have given way to jeans and army shirts.

The presence of new pirates aren’t as threatening as centuries past. All ships on both cities were wooden, and therefore vulnerable to attack by anybody. Today, the sheer size of cargo ships tips the scales their way. Compared to the Somalian pirates, today’s cargo ships are like a great blue whale swimming by a shark. Money has also gone electronic, no longer necessitating transport by sea.

One characteristic, however, has not changed yet. They’re still poor, money-hungry and looking for any way to strike it rich.

When pirating happens, it should be to no surprise, because the bottom line is that the economy will always be bad in some country. In this case, it happens to be Somolia—a war-torn country where people have suffered for years.

How can we stop it? I really think we can’t—unless we can solve poverty, something that is seemingly harder and harder to do. The only thing we can do is what history has always done: keep chasing pirates away.