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Pirates in the English Channel!

August 13, 2009
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We continue to ignore the threats of piracy to our peril, as they continue their expansion into the world’s oceans. From the Telegraph we learn:

An international maritime search was under way for the Maltese-registered Arctic Sea and its 15-strong Russian crew. They have not been heard from since communicating with British Coastguards as it prepared to enter the Strait of Dover from the North Sea at 1.52pm on July 28. There are fears that the 3,988-tonne ship, carrying about £1 million worth of sawn timber from Finland to Algeria, was under the control of pirates when contact was made with the British Coastguards.

It would be the first time a ship in the Channel has been taken hostage in modern times.

The threat from Piracy is the vital shot in the arm needed by the post-Cold War Navy, to give it a mission and a more active role in our ongoing wars. After all, contending with such a scourge originally defined our infant fighting fleet early in its existence. But the specific reason should be to stem the tide of law-breaking and maintaining freedom of the seas. Otherwise they can only get stronger, as William Lind points out:

Piracy is only the barometer; the storm will be something else. That storm is coming, and soon, as Brave New World’s promise of unending material wealth in return for acceptance of an administered life proves a lie. By the time the storm is over, the elites who fear to hang pirates will be facing far more immediate and deadly dangers themselves.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2009 11:22 pm

    Let’s hope for the best, may the ship be found. Piracy has exploded off the coast of some countries. All the necessary measures must be put in place to prevent an event like this to happen. The crew must at least be assured of safety.

  2. William permalink
    August 14, 2009 7:43 am

    A scenario thats been mentioned:

    I wonder if the ship is headed to La Palma, the Canary Islands, off the West Coast of Africa. A nuke could be used to trigger the unstable volcano to collapse into the ocean. This would cause a massive tsunami that would hit the US East Coast and Europe as well as Africa.

  3. August 14, 2009 5:59 am

    This ghost ship is an interesting story, and I plan to use it as anecdote for a future post about covert ship survivability.

    I’ll wait, though. We’ll probably only learn when the ship was detected and when not in a few weeks. OPSEC could blind us today.

  4. solomon permalink
    August 13, 2009 10:09 pm

    Mike, I didn’t even put the Russian subs into the equation. Now that you mention it it does explain the lack of concern by our officials. It also smacks of high level cooperation. Biden did say they would be tested. Maybe this is the time they were speaking of?

  5. August 13, 2009 3:33 pm

    Both Aljazeera.net and Bloomberg.com have reported that the Russian Krivak-class frigate Ladnyy is now pursuing or shadowing a ship in the Atlantic south of Gibraltar and which resembles the ‘missing’ Arctic Sea.

  6. Mike Burleson permalink*
    August 13, 2009 3:10 pm

    Solomon, now that you mention it, this does sound suspicious! Especially in conjunction with the Akula cruise off our East Coast.

  7. solomon permalink
    August 13, 2009 1:46 pm

    Reuters is reporting that the Russian Maritime Journal stating that this appears to be some type of state sponsored action. Other commentators have state that the operation appeared to have been conducted by professionals. I would almost surmise that the “secret” cargo that many are alluding to might have been nuclear fuel and that either Russian Commandos or Navy Seals or some other elite unit acted on that intelligence and that the vessel is being embargoed somewhere for further inspection or even decontamination. Would you want to be the Russians and proudly state to the world that missing nuclear fuel made it out the country? Or how about the western power to announce that they had boarded a Russian vessel? Just a theory but entirely plausible in my opinion.

    PS. I think the storm that Lind is speaking of will probably be food. Wheat infestation and now a sugar shortage looming. Food it is!

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