This report is in the “good news” category. As many readers know, the waters off Somalia have been infested for years with pirates who seize major shipping vessels and then hold them for ransom. An international force of warships was sent to the area, but they have only occasionally intervened to stop the pirates. Two days ago, a major success occurred in confronting the pirates.

After a cargo ship based in Germany was seized by pirates off Somalia, a contingent of US Marines stormed the seized ship, capturing all the pirates and rescuing the entire crew. The raid was a remarkable success as the ship was recaptured and the pirates seized without a shot having to be fired (two accounts are contained in the links [1, 2] below).

This may signal a new aggressiveness on the part of the USA and other nations which have had warships in the Somali waters. As the first link notes, “It was the first boarding raid since the multinational task force was formed in January, 2009.” As a private observation, why did the nations even bother to send the task force to that region if they were not going to conduct boarding raids to wrest the vessels from the pirates and deter further pirate attacks? It was about time that such an action was taken against the pirates. Let’s hope the international task force starts doing such boarding raids each time pirates seize a ship. If such a policy were enacted and pirates knew they would either be killed or captured each time they seized a ship, the piracy would soon end. Deterrence really works if the “bad guys” know they will be confronted with strong force.

Let’s hope this very successful US raid is the start of a new “firm” policy to confront the pirates. We’ll have to see if it is the start of a new policy, or if it was just an exception to the rather listless performance of the multinational task force to date. At any rate, our hats are off to the US Marines who conducted such a successful raid.