Piracy War Escalates: Korean Sailor Shot
A Korean crewman aboard a ship sailing on the Indian Ocean was shot in the head by Somali pirates but survived, the AP reports. Despite the surge in East African piracy in the past 18 months, only two people have died as a result of pirates’ actions, by my count. One was the Russian captain of the MV Faina, a cargo ship seized last fall. That man died of natural causes, perhaps exacerbated by stress, while in captivity. Also last year, a member of the Puntland security forces in northern Somalia was killed during an operation to re-take a seized ship from pirates.
In contrast to their kin in many other parts of the world, Somali pirates are not known for being particularly bloodthirsty. They are more interested in ransoming a crew than hurting them. But the act of seizing a ship is, nevertheless, a violent one. And as seafarers get better at resisting pirates, using hoses, Molotov cocktails and other methods, the pirates will escalate their use of force. Cruise ship owners worry that a small band of pirates trying to capture a liner carrying potentially thousands of people might find themselves so overwhelmed that they just open fire.