Modern-day pirates

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Pirates be not just a thin’ o’ t’ past.

They don’t just exist in movies starring Johnny Depp or just make good Halloween costumes. They are still making headlines today.

Somalian pirates are making quite the name for themselves so far this year. With more than 660 hostages and some 30 vessels under their control, they are gaining power over one of the world’s most important     shipping channels.

Somalia is located at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden, which leads to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.  The country has not had a functioning government since 1991 and still continues to struggle with fighting between warlords.

International military officials have vowed to fight the pirates who have moved into the waters off the coast of East Africa to try and make it more difficult for the pirates to capture ships and earn multi-million dollar ransoms.  However, the pirates are fighting back.

Last month, four Americans were taken hostage and killed by pirates.  The U.S. military said that the deaths mark the first time U.S. citizens have been killed since a wave of pirate attacks began six years ago. How many more innocent lives will be lost before piracy becomes an act of war?

It is OK to pretend to talk like a pirate and wear an eye patch, but where will the government draw the line?  Pirates are not just fictional characters.

Other recent attacks include a Danish couple, their three children and two crew members who were captured and are currently being held hostage.

This is unusual because pirates do not usually target and hijack family yachts.

It does not matter if Somalia has a government or not. If there is a Somalian ship filled with pirates floating on open waters, why shouldn’t we sink it? We sank our enemies’ ships and boats in WWI and WWII, why stop now?

Innocent lives are being threatened and taken by money-hungry buccaneers, and we are letting them. Granted, the military has been involved, but not to the degree it should be.

Abdullahi Mohamed, a pirate who told The Associated Press he has ties to the gang holding the Danish family, said they will be killed if any rescue operation was carried out.

If the vessels owners cannot pay the multi-million dollar ransom the pirates demand, they may keep the ship and use it to stalk other vessels until they run out of supplies or break down.  The pirates are upping their ransom to roughly $5 million per hijacked ship.

Thankfully yachters are realizing the danger of the pirate-infested waters and taking precautions when having to sail near the Gulf of Aden. Captains and families are now contacting armed guards or hiring replacement crews or packing their boats aboard cargo ships to continue on their voyage. Some are rerouting or canceling their dream voyage of sailing around the world all together.

If a law is not going to be put into place that will stop piracy, what’s there to stop more people from becoming real   pirates?

Author: Lindsay Schaefer

Lindsay Schaefer is a junior Mass Communication, Public Relations major at UMHB. She is the Entertainment Page editor for The Bells Newspaper. Growing up in the small town of Nacogdoches, Texas taught her to enjoy the simple things in life such as local cuisine, an afternoon at grandma’s house, and getting to know her “neighbors”. If she’s not hunting for the latest pair of shoes, she can most likely be found eating chocolate cake with her closest friends. She enjoys making copies for the Bells newspaper and taking on many other random assignments!

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