Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ship Vanishes Off Sweden: Piracy Suspected

First it was Somalia. You had to look it up on the map. Shipping companies paid ransom. It became a part of doing business. Amazingly enough, maritime law makes about as much sense as New York City gun laws. Merchant ships are not allowed to be armed. That's kind of like unloading $5 million dollars cash and transferring it into a Volvo station wagon to drive it to the bank.

So now, while we're on the subject of Volvo, we have reports of piracy in the waters of Northern Europe. Reuters News reports as follows.

"Pirates have probably hijacked a merchant ship which disappeared after sailing through the English Channel last month, its operator said on Wednesday.

The Kremlin has ordered Russian warships to join the hunt for the 4,000-tonne, 98-meter bulk carrier Arctic Sea, whose mysterious fate has baffled national maritime authorities across Europe and North Africa.

The Maltese-registered vessel, carrying a cargo of timber worth $1.3 million, was supposed to have docked on August 4 in the Algerian port of Bejaia.

It never arrived, raising fears of a rare case of piracy in northern European seas.

"My view is that it is most likely that the vessel has been hijacked," Viktor Matveyev, director of the Finnish company Solchart, which operates the vessel, told Reuters. "It is unclear where the vessel is now."

The last radio contact was in the Dover Straits between Britain and France. At that point, the radio signal that broadcast ship location was shut off. There is no rational reason for turning off a locational signal.

The shipping company had received reports that the ship had been boarded and that violent hands were laid on its crew. There is no question that human foul play had a role.

The ship was Maltese. Malta is a country in the Mediterranean that speaks a dialect that is a mixture of Sicilian, Arabic and other languages. It defers to the Arab world much as Finland once did to the USSR.

The sole miscalculation of the pirates seems to have been attacking a ship with a Russian crew. Russia does not look at root causes that drive desperate men to piracy. It strikes back with an iron fist, and does so without apology. After letting Ukraine and Belarus go as well as the Baltic and Asian republics, Russia still covers twelve time zones and encompasses numerous non Asian nationalities. It is still in many senses an empire. If anyone catches up with the hijackers, the hijackers will have far better luck if they end up in the hands of the EU than if the Russians catch them.

It is ironic that the mushrooming violence on the streets of Stockholm, Paris, Brussels and other European cities has apparently made it out to sea. There are Somali immigrants in Europe, particularly in Sweden. They have certainly maintained contact with their homeland in which hijacking ships has become a growth industry.

Lawlessness expands in direct proportion to government's willingness to tolerate it. I saw this first hand in the streets of Crown Heights, Brooklyn in 1991. Rioters ran free and even turned over police cars. I watched them toss bricks through windows and walk calmly by policemen who let them depart undisturbed. For three days, the rioters were emboldened by police inaction. When Mayor Dinkins had a stone tossed at him, the perspective of the city changed. Police took out their clubs, and surprised emboldened mobs by making arrests. That is when the violence stopped.

The European Union has been languishing in Dinkinsian anarchy for decades. The political mainstream has abdicated on the question of rampant lawlessness by its Muslim immigrant population. Now the seas of Northern Europe, once an enclave of tranquility are becoming as unsafe as Arab neighborhoods in Rotterdam and Malmo. Everything that happens on the surface of the high seas starts on land.

In any war, half of the battle is showing up. Recognising trends and downward trajectories is the first step to solving serious problems. The situation speaks for itself when a locational device is disabled in the Dover Straits. Europa Europa.... Where are you? Sphere: Related Content

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