Saturday, January 10, 2009

The dangerous seas




When this site was at it’s former URL, I wrote a story about modern day pirates. That story went away with the website. I’m obviously still not happy about losing my site. But that’s beside the point. What is the point is pirates.

Pirates have been around since people have sailed the open seas. In 75 BC, Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates and held prisoner until a ransom of fifty talents (4700 pounds) of gold was paid.

During the early years of the AD centuries, pirates ravaged towns along coastlines around the world. By 1819, the Persian Gulf became known as the Pirate Coast.

The Gulf of Aden lies off the coast of Somalia and is known for it’s acts of piracy. The waters of the Gulf of Aden are considered dangerous to travel. There has been no active government in Somalia since 1991 and therefore the pirates pretty much do as they please.

Cruise ships, oil tankers and other vessels that pirates believe can be held for ransom are at risk. Many ships avoid the area completely because of pirate activity. And some ships have equipped themselves with weapons to fight back. They even have a horn that emits a sonic blast so loud that anyone in the area is forced to retreat.

An oil tanker called the Sirius Star and it’s 25 crew members have been held captive by pirates since November 15, 2008. Apparently a parachutist was dropped over the ship with a three million dollar ransom Friday. The pirates collected the money and released the ship.

During their trip back to shore from the tanker, one of the pirates boats capsized. Five of the eight pirates on board drowned and their portion of the three million dollars was lost to the sea.

I’m not going to say that it’s a good thing human beings lost their lives, but I will say what goes around comes around. If I ever doubted the existence of karma this shows me it does exist. These men spent the last two months treating people like collateral. They had evil intentions and even though they thought they were being rewarded for their actions, they paid for them with their lives.

While the Sirius Star and another ship were released on Friday, over a dozen ships are still being held by pirates off the coast of Somalia. My hope is those ships will be released also. With no loss of life.

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