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Somali Pirates tell all in exclusive NYT interview

October 1, 2008

Pirates? I used to think piracy died in the 19th century, until news kept popping up about pirates threatening ships in the Gulf of Aden. On Tuesday, a band of Somali pirates seized a Ukrainian ship loaded with arms off the coast of Somalia. Apparently, it was headed for either Kenya or Sudan (still unclear).

First thought, why is nobody talking about what are purportedly Russian arms heading to either of these countries, particularly Sudan?

Second thought, how did Somali pirates in little skiffs manage to take on a Ukrainian ship filled with arms? The Ukrainian ship was filled with grenade launchers and guns. Were the Somali’s that stealthy?

Unfortunately for the pirates, there are about five American warships surrounding them off the coast of Somalia. And a Russian frigate is on the way.

For their part, the pirates have said they are in it for cold hard cash – $20 million. Apparently, they don’t need the arms.

But the Somali’s are also upset about the international fishing industry, which apparently plunders and loots in Somali waters. Somalia is basically a collapsed state with no strong central government and navy to police its waters. That’s where the pirates step in.

“Think of us like a coast guard,” they said in an interview with the New York Times.

Perhaps, someone should explain that in other countries, the coast guard tends not to be in the business of hijacking ships.

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