Sailors held: no one cares

Millions of pounds in ransoms are being negotiated daily in the world’s worst marine mugging industry, run by Somali pirates between the coast of India and east Africa.

But where is all the money going? There are only so many SUVs, ersatz Armani suits, and East European hookers any warlord can buy.

It has been suggested to me, from a knowledgeable source, that those in the maritime world now fear much cash is being routed to agents of Al Qaeda who ‘will always find a nice home anywhere where law and order has broken down.’

If that is the case then why is the United Nations acting so lamely? Might it be because the only immediate victims – the 700 or more unfortunate sailors banged up in rusting freighters – are from Third World countries about which no-one in the west gives a carrot?

Attention on this terrible industry only comes into focus when a yachtsman gets himself kidnapped. But it is not just about leisure sailors enjoying their retirement, it’s about merchant seamen who have to cross oceans for a living to raise families, it’s about the whole maritime community, it’s about the freedom of the seas.

Pirate attacks are now taking place on a daily basis in this area which has gone from being a ‘pirate alley’ to a pirate ocean. Ironically part of EUNAVFOR’s mission out there is to deter and disrupt piracy to protect food supplies going to…Somalia.

Quite right too, it’s not the fault of the poor ordinary citizen in the archaic Puntland peninsula that his fellow countrymen is a gangster, but it is the fault of the international community that not enough is being done to disenfranchise the thug.