Kudos to the justice system in the UAE for the stern warning to pirates of the seas through giving them a life sentence for their attacks on merchant shipping.
There is no doubt that this menace has increased exponentially and with their ill gotten gains the pirates are better armed, have a wider circle of evil influence and have become a threat to major shipping lanes. It is gratifying that the UAE has become part of the spearhead to combat this threat on the open waters and only when all nations come together and put up a consolidated front will this end. Since cooperation has intensified there has been a reported drop of 28 per cent in the acts of piracy but the remaining 72 per cent is still to be tackled and done so with grit and determination.
Media reports place the losses from such attacks at about $7 billion but it is not a definitive figure since no one can quite quantify the loss of seizure and its ripple effect. Quoting statistics one sees exactly how deep the rot went before there was a concerted effort to stop the bruising to international ocean trade. The petrochemical industry was one of the first to underscore the need for action.
The number of worldwide attacks from January to March dipped to 102 from 142 cases in the same period in 2011, the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur said. It said 11 vessels were hijacked and 212 crew members taken hostage, compared with 18 ships seized and 344 people taken hostage a year earlier.
More worrying is the loss of life in assault and during captivity with the ransom payoff often taking weeks and months.
Even as the pirates are brought to book perhaps it is also necessary for canopy bodies like the UN to order a mandate giving nations that are affected the right to discover and cut off those who supply weapons and sophisticated radar and sonic gadgetry, as well as fast moving modern vessels from which to launch attacks. If that supply conduit can be locked the drop in attacks will be precipitous. The presence of international global patrols has made a difference as will the UAE's judicial benchmark in seeing this as a high crime and sending a very strong message not only to the pirates but also to other judicial system who try captured pirates. The high seas have to be safe for the mercantile flow and there can be only zero tolerance for those who would invade the sovereign territory of a ship.
Source: Khaleej Times