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Why can't UN do anything with the Somalia Pirate problem?

Original post made by Concerned World Citizen, Golden Eagle, on Apr 8, 2009

Why doesn't the world react to the Somalia pirate problem? 6 pirate attacks and takeovers in one-week. Why does UN sit on their hands? It is ridiculous that a world body like UN is hopeless and helpless in addressing this issue. Perhaps, they view it as a wealthy nation problem? By not doing anything will simply signal to them (the pirates) that it's ok to do it! This is ridiculous!

Comments (24)

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Posted by *
a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 10:11 am

The UN is not in the business of doing anything constructive...unless they receive financial kickbacks.

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Posted by curious
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 10:57 am

If you're so concerned, why don't YOU go do something about it?

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Posted by unclehomerr..
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 8, 2009 at 11:31 am

Doh...! The UN doesn't do anything about it because the UN doesn't do anything about anything!

US out of the UN!!! UN out of the US!!!!


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Posted by PJ
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Are there effective security measures, weapons, devices, etc. for the protection of the ships? Yes.

Can the ships have highly trained crews? Yes.

Will these things be done? No.

Most of the problems with the security of the ships have to do with shipping companies looking to keep their costs to a minimum.

Instead of securing the ships, we have an international task force comprised of various navies including ours with relatively few vessels monitoring an area four times the size of Texas. This has been very expensive for the taxpayers but for the most part has been very ineffective.

As to the current story and the U.S ship that used security maneuvers and has so far repelled the pirates:

By KATHARINE HOURELD, Associated Press Writer:

Although about 95 percent of international ships carry foreign flags because of the lower cost and other factors, ships that are operated by or for the U.S. government — such a food aid ships like Maersk Alabama — have to carry U.S. flags, and therefore, employ a crew of U.S. citizens.

There are fewer than 200 U.S.-flagged vessels in international waters, said Larry Howard, chair of the Global Business and Transportation Department at SUNY Maritime College in New York.

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Posted by Concerned World Citizen
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Apr 9, 2009 at 8:58 am

response to 'curious': I am doing something by posting this to bring some discussion about it. So, what you are doing about it other than sitting around wanting others to do something for you.

The world should rise up and speak up. It may not an issue that is in their own backyard but shipping is vital part of world economy. If the world closes their eyes on this, it will just fuel the pirates' egos and become more daring.

To the 'curious', can we blow them out of the water? Would you consider that too cruel?

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Posted by Trevor Tooze
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 9, 2009 at 9:14 am

What a question!
The question should be; "Why do we need the U.N."?

I have followed, by reading World News, not waiting for our media to tel us, for years. The U.N. provide lip service only. They threatened sanctions in Darfur for well over a year, and literally did nothing, while hundreds of thousands of innocent people were slaughtered, abused and women raped. That's why I pose the question, "why do we need the U.N>"?

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Posted by Concerned World Citizen
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Apr 9, 2009 at 9:28 am

Trevor, I totally agree. What is the use of UN? I have questioned that with my friends for years! The security council is so political now with China/Russia always at opposite end of US/UK with France on the fence. US should pull out of UN and let it die.

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Posted by multintional cooperation
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2009 at 9:52 am

The continued piracy off the African coast is atrocious.

Do we really want the US Navy to take unilateral action against suspected pirate ships? From the article that PJ quoted above, "There are fewer than 200 U.S.-flagged vessels in international waters."

Perhaps the international task force needs to be increased in size, but the nations with the most ships and risk should contribute more. Which countries have the most commercial ships operating under their flag?

We can write to Hilary if we think our UN ambassador should be doing something more about piracy.

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Posted by Shoot to kill
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 9, 2009 at 11:01 am

The UN is a useless body that allows two-bit dictators to have an equal footing with the US. Funding of this band of thieves should have stopped years ago.

The pirating will stop when the pirates are shot and killed on sight. Sorry, it's a cruel world.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 9, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Our President, the one who bowed to the waist to the Saudi King, theryby, giving his total allegiance to the King, should send a couple of well placed cruise missles to the Somalie sea ports to disable them. It's a mean cruel world and going around the world apolgizing only emboldens the terrorists (pirates).

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Posted by Marine Mom
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 9, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Our President refuses to even comment on this issue like it's just a non-issue. How about "we are aware of the situation and are looking at all options". Or, "we have our best guys on it". Or, just acknowledging that he is aware a of situation. Maybe he didn't have his speech prepared for him and can't speak until he does.
We need these pirates/terrorists to know you don't mess with AMERICANS!

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Posted by uhh
a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 9, 2009 at 6:48 pm

i dont know, maybe we should let them blow pirates out of the waters, but i dont think other countries would be too happy about that.

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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 10, 2009 at 2:20 am

It's only a matter of time until these thugs take a life.

In my opinion, one method to curtail this activity is to obstruct their ability to operate by eliminating their bases of operations by what ever means necessary. If that necessitates eliminating harbors/piers where the trawlers that tow the smaller boats to sea dock or places where these people gather - go for it. With the expertise existing that allows drone aircraft to eliminate a moving vehicle and with satellites that can read street signs, that shouldn't be a problem. This may not sit well with some but "tough", these are dangerous criminals...

Don't look for ground troops to intervene - remember "Blackhawk Down"? Won't happen again...

When the insurance companies tire of paying for the loses due to ransoming, then perhaps something will be done...

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Posted by silly people
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2009 at 2:12 am

Being in the business and actually having worked with the captian of the Msk Alabama I sympathise with the situation.

That being said it is funny how this now is a big deal all of the sudden. This has been going on for ages! On average of a pirate atack ever 2 days worldwide for years and now that an American is involved it makes the highly slanted CNN (USA version) it is a new thing and a big issue?
The hot spot for piracy changes every few years but it is a cost of doing business in this industry and every sailor on the hot routes knows exactly what they are dealing with before they step on the vessel. It is not the companies trying to save costs, it is the companies not wanting to start a war so they don't arm the vessels. It is the consumer demanding the lower rates that affects the costs. Priority one for the shipping company is the safety of the crew....period! We have learned from hundreds of years of shipping experience that arming the ships or paying the ransoms are not the answers. They just make matters worse. You do as you would driving your car.......bad part of town, go around! Change the routes and starve the pirates out! That is what is happening and has for years but the Alabama was calling a port in the hotspot with food aid so they had to go in those waters. Recently with the fuel prices so high deviating the routes was not as much of an option because that would have been added to the costs of your Best Buy TV or your Wal-Mart shopping spree and everyone would cry about the higher cost since shipping is a big chunk of the price of thise products. Now that the fuel prices are down most shipping companies are able to route around the pirates more than they could 6 months ago.
You want to do something about it? Stop buying crap from China and buy American Made products! Not willing to make that sacrifice? Your tax dollars that support the US Navy are out there trying to protect your containers full of US Flags made in a sweatshop in China enroute to Wal-Mart so they are theoretically protecting your freedom to buy cheap junk at 3am in a 24 hour wal-mart. Nice system we have there huh?

Good Luck Richard and Godspeed!!

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Posted by Silly People
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2009 at 2:18 am

.....and for Jerry
They have taken lives.....many lives. You just don't get to see that through the highly censored US News......especially if an American is not the one killed.
Enjoy living in the bubble though.....the rest of the world is pretty gritty and harsh. You may not like it!
Plus the customer pays for the ransoms in the end and not the insurance companies. They just encourage the Pirates anyway....

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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 11, 2009 at 2:56 am

Some Maritime Official from one of the shipping companies was interviewed on one of the cable news channels and stated one reason the merchant ships aren't armed is due to the fact some countries won't allow "armed ships" in their ports...

I agree "the rest of the world is pretty gritty and harsh". I've also been there and some of the things I've seen isn't "dinner table conversation"...

It's also interesting that as this episode was taking place another attempted boarding in the region was beaten back...

All is not lost - Marine snipers are on the way...

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Posted by Marine Mom
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 11, 2009 at 8:34 am

The other "countries" have made this worse by paying the ransome over the years and they have the right to do whatever they feel is best for them. We as Americans need to show them they don't mess with us! Especially when our freight is going to aid others, it's not even freight for profit. I pray for the Captain and an outcome that does not harm him, while still blowing away these terrorists.

Why hasn't the UN stepped in prior when all the other ships have been hijacked? (which was the origina post)

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Posted by Silly People
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Marine Mom
To answer your question.....because it is not the job of the UN......simple.
Also the "As Americans" part does not apply. In international waters we fall under international maritime law and the country the vessel is registered in or where the crew is from is moot.


I belive the guy in the interview you are referring to was John Rienhart from Maersk Line Limited, most likely. He is absolutely correct but also the other reasons vessels are not armed is because it increases the chances of raises the insurance premiums for the shipowner.....if the vessel has guns the pirates get bigger guns and you just end up having an all out war.....etc, etc....many more reasons if you know the business.
History has taught us these lessons over time and if we do not learn from them we are destined to repeat the mistakes. Arming the vessels and "just blowin' em awl up cus wees 'mericans" as Marine Mom wants is really not the answer if the safety of the crew and cargo is what we are trying to achieve.

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Posted by Marine Mom
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 11, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Good Job Jerry-Silly People, but I didn't hear any suggestions from you... Sooooo what is your answer since you know it all. What lessons are we destined to repeat? Give me your take on stopping this or do we just pay 'em like everyone else.

Ya see I'm just plain ol' folk that's tired of hearing about how we have to bow to everyone else who wants to walk all over us and to just give terrorists a hug cuz they don't feel loved. I REMEMBER 9/11 and will not forget.

I also don't know what "interview" you are speaking of as I did not mention or quote any interview. I'm actually entitled to my own opinions.

You mean to tell me that it's cheaper for the freight lines to pay millions in ransome than insurance rates????

So back to the original question, who's job is it then to keep waters safe for all??????

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 12, 2009 at 11:34 am

marine mom = sick puppy

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Posted by Silly People
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Marine mom

- go up a few posts and I did offer suggestions
- an extra mil per year on insurance x 164 vessels in the fleet vs 2 mil ransom (which we won't pay) a few times per do the math
- the interview remark was to Jerry (it was under the heading Jerry)so I guess that confused you
- you are definetly entitled to your own opinion no matter how neieve it may be......all I am saying is starting a war is not always the best answer to the problem.
- I don't know it all but I actually went to the UN website and looked at the charter again so I could answer your question with facts. If you don't like my answer please research the question yourself since obvously you have web access also.
- The original question actually was not "whose job is it to keep the waters safe for all" but since you asked the answer is that there is governance by maritime law but there is no police force roaming the open ocean enforcing the laws. That is the simplest answer I could give so I am not providing so much information in answering your question that I get accused of being a "know it all" again.

I apologise for answering in the first place. I assumed since I am in the industry, and have been for a long time, and my business is dealing with this very issue on a daily basis that maybe, just maybe, you would appreciate an inside opinion of a factual nature to help you understand the situation a little better.

Happy Easter

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 12, 2009 at 12:48 pm

mm...have you ever served your country in a combat zone? If not, then shut-up!

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Posted by Silly People
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2009 at 3:56 pm

If you are talking to me Cholo the answer is yes and that is why there is a military.
Merchant mariners are not combat troops though so let's leave the wars to the pros......I think the SEALS did a pretty good job today myself. That is thier profession. I have no problem with the pirates getting what they got today but it is not the job of the merchant mariners to do that. They are not trained or paid to run battleships.
I am just happy Richard got out unharmed and the SEALS answered the call and ended this situation appropriately.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 12, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Richard is!

Marine Mom has never served her country in a war zone. Marine Mom, please tell everybody about your experience combatting terrorists. You refused to sign up for the military and crossed your fingers so that other people were put at risk and not you. Unless you served in a combat zone, then you're a sick puppy with a sick bark!

Marine Mom = sicko!

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