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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pirates Seize American Vessel in Biden's Safer World


Pirates have seized an American-flagged ship off the coast of Somalia (h/t Pundit and Pundette), and are holding 20 Americans hostage. The L.A. Times story is here.

Although the LAT mentions that "the attack marks a rare hijacking of a U.S.-operated ship in Africa, where piracy has been surging along Somalia's coast and in the Gulf of Aden," they fail to mention some significant facts. Notice the report missing elements reported here from Bloomberg: "Pirates captured the container ship Maersk Alabama and its crew of 20 Americans off Somalia in what Navy officials said may be the first seizure of a U.S. ship in four years of attacks" (emphasis mine). And later Bloomberg reports "It’s the first seizure of Americans and a U.S. vessel since a Maritime Protection Corridor was set up in the Gulf of Aden in August and may be the first since the pirates’ activity intensified in 2006, the U.S. Navy spokesman said."

You know, the difference between "rare" and "first" is pretty significant.

Coming directly on the heels of Biden's assurances-- "I guarantee you we are safer today, our interests are more secure today than they were any time during the eight years" (which itself came soon after North Korea's missile test and Obama's tepid response) is a bit troubling. Are we safer because Obama is being apologetic to European and Muslim grievance mongers? How will Obama handle this situation? Will he pay the ransom like the French, put aside bailout money for terrorist ransoms?

UPDATE: Reports are now saying that the unarmed crew have regained control of the ship. I hope this is the true, but we shall see.
UPDATE: Latest word is that captain is still being held by pirates (on a separate boat?).

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