An Indian naval vessel sank a suspected pirate "mother ship" in the Gulf of Aden and chased two attack boats into the night, officials said Wednesday, as separate bands of brigands seized Thai and Iranian ships in the lawless seas.
The owners of a seized Saudi oil supertanker, meanwhile, negotiated for the release of the ship, anchored off the coast of Somalia.
A multinational naval force has increased patrols in the waters between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa, where pirates have grown bolder and more violent. The force scored a rare success Tuesday when the Indian warship, operating off the coast of Oman, stopped a ship similar to a pirate vessel described in numerous bulletins. The Indian navy said the pirates fired on the INS Tabar after the officers asked to search it.
"Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of this vessel with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers," said a statement from the Indian navy. Indian forces fired back, sparking fires and a series of onboard blasts — possibly due to exploding ammunition — and destroying the ship.
They chased one of two speedboats shadowing the larger ship. One was later found abandoned. The other escaped, according to the statement.
It used to be that pirates could be hanged on the spot, but the situation under international law has grown so ludicrous that the Royal Navy has been told not to capture pirates for fear they might claim asylum.
The other problem is that the piracy off East Africa is not done just for the money itself, but to fund jihad — jihad al-mal, or "monetary jihad." At least some of the ransoms they are paid find their way to al-Shabaab, a Somali jihadist organization that has close ties to al Qaeda. Thus ship owners buying back their vessels are giving alms to our deadly enemies. Smart. Very smart.
(hat tip: The Jawa Report)