When I poked fun about the difficulty of identifying pirate ships, I was merely being flippant. Because Somali fishermen and Somali pirates use similar boats, though, and as there’s typically only about a 15 minute window to act before pirates actually board a ship — throwing the whole situation into a legal morass — the job of a pirate-fighter is not easy. Says NATO spokesman James Appathurai: “This is a very, very complicated thing to do…pirates don’t identify themselves with eye-patches and crooked-hands, it isn’t always immediately obvious that they are pirates.”
And I don’t see any skull-and-crossbones flying, either. Appathurai also reflects on the potential of the multi-national force working together in the Gulf of Aden.
“There will be a number of very competent and very effective military ships coordinating with each other as appropriate to provide presence, to provide deterrence and where necessary and possible to intervene.”
“I don’t know how the pirates will react to this.”
My guess is, not well. International cooperation may stop the pirates, but it’s unclear if it will make them any less popular with the ladies — even without the hooks and eye-patches.
(Image from flickr user meophamman under a Creative Commons license.)