Friday, March 19, 2010

Close But No Cigar

International naval forces are being more aggressive with pirates based out of Somalia:

An international fleet of warships is attacking and destroying Somali pirate vessels closer to the shores of East Africa and the new strategy, combined with more aggressive confrontations further out to sea, has dealt the brigands a setback, officials and experts said Thursday.

The new tactics by the European Union naval force comes after Spain — which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, and whose fishing vessels are frequent pirate targets — encouraged more aggressive pursuit of pirates and the coalition obtained more aircraft and other military assets, said Rear Adm. Peter Hudson, the force commander.

The EU Naval Force attacked 12 groups of pirate vessels, which normally includes several skiffs and a mother vessel, this month, more than last year. Half of those attacks were on the high seas and half close to shore, reflecting the new strategy to intercept pirates before they reach deep water and international shipping lanes.

This is certainly a welcome development, but it is just an inconvenience:
If the pirates aren't detained for prosecution — and most are not — they are disarmed and put back out to sea on one craft. Harbour said that while the aggressive tactics are not a long-term solution, they force pirates to find new vessels and weapons before they can launch more attacks.
Until we shoot to kill and just let them drown at sea, these guys will return to shore, find new vessels and weapons, and continue to seek weaknesses. It would be better to raze their shore bases and kill the leaders ashore, but raising the price of being a pirate from a mere inconvenience to death would do far more to end the threat.