Sunday, September 28, 2008

Silly Pirates, Tanks are for Troops

Pirates seek to steal any sort of resource, even ice

There is a reason why you never read about the kind of glamorous super-crimes so popular in American pop culture: smart people generally don't become crooks. For the most part, the trait they most cash in on is not intelligence but lack of morals. Simply ignoring laws is what allows them to make a living, not any particular skill in avoiding them. The reason laws work is because the vast majority of us agree to follow them. So, with few exceptions criminals are simply too stupid to make money any other way. This also makes them easy to catch and often results in their generally lower-than-average lifespan.

Case in point, off the Somali coast last week, a group of pirates seized a Ukrainian cargo ship carrying T-72 battle tanks. Thirty-three tanks, in fact, due for Kenya. One can assume that this was not part of an official pirating business plan, but merely a random attack whose results were as big a surprise for the pirates as for everyone else.

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I can only imagine the discussion that must have occurred during the post-raid inventorying process:
Pirate 1: "Uh, I am in the hold... and you guys gotta see this."
Pirate 2: "Oh yeah? Find some good shit?"
Pirate 1: "I found something alright."
Pirate 2: "Booty?"
Pirate 1: "Heh. No. Tanks."
Pirate 2: "Tanks of what?"
Pirate 1: "No. Tanks! Tank-Tanks."
Pirate 2: "I fucking heard you say tanks, douche bag. Saying it louder or over and over doesn't help."
Pirate 1: "Fucking tanks! Blitzkrieg! George Patton! Eastwood and Sutherland in Kelly's Heros! Bang-bang!"
Pirate 2: "Wow."
Pirate 1: "Yeah... how we going to sell this shit? I was hoping for Tivos."
In an orgy of optimism, the pirates originally demanded the equivalent of $35 million dollars in ransom for the tanks and the ship's crew. First, nobody gives a shit about the crew. Second, nobody is going to let the pirates go anywhere with 33 tanks. The US already has a destroyer monitoring the ship. Why? Apparently this pirating is a known problem and the Americans keep naval forces in the area in case a ship we give a shit about runs into trouble. This article claims there are currently 14 captured ships being ransomed in the area. That is some Black Beard-era shit, right there.

So now the pirates have a US warship on their ass. And that is the least of their problems. In addition to two other european warships also shadowing the moored cargo ship, it appears that the US ship is just watching to make sure nothing happens. Waiting. Waiting for what? This:
Russian navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo reportedly said that the missile frigate Neustrashimy left the Baltic Sea port of Baltiisk a day before the hijacking to cooperate with other unspecified countries in anti-piracy efforts. The ship was then ordered directly to the Somalian coast after Thursday's attack.
The Russians are coming. This is extremely bad news for pirates. And hostages. 

Currently, the hostages serve as human shields in the more general meaning of the term where their mere presence deters action. If the Russians arrive, they will storm the ship and the term will become much more literal. As in, their bodies may stop some of the bullets. But that just means the Russians will bring and shoot more bullets. My advice to pirates, get the fuck out of dodge.

But, recall my original point: criminals are stupid. By the end of the week expect to read about some dead pirates.

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