Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Somali pirates kill American sailors

Four sailors were killed today. Jean and Scott Adam, Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle became the first Americans to be murdered by Somali pirates. They were sailing the Adams' 58-foot yacht, Quest, several hundred miles south of Oman last Friday when they were boarded and taken hostage. U.S. warships intercepted the pirates as they steered the Adams' boat toward Somalia and attempted to negotiate the hostages' release. Earlier today, for unknown reasons, the pirates believed they were under attack. They fired a rocket-propelled grenade at one of the warships and then killed or mortally wounded all four hostages. U.S. troops moved in, killed two of the pirates and captured the rest.

When I heard this story on the radio this morning while driving to work, I couldn't believe it. As a sailor myself, I have been closely following the piracy situation in Somalia for years. It started in the early 1990s with commercial freighters cruising close to Somalia's shores, but lately it seems that any-sized boat in the Arabian Sea is fair game. In October, 2009, when I heard about Paul and Rachel Chandler, the British sailing couple who were taken hostage in the Seychelles, more than a thousand miles off the coast, I thought that things had gotten completely out of control, but today's tragedy takes it to unprecedented levels.

Farah, the pirates' leader, has vowed revenge on America for his lost comrades and his lost investment in the botched operation, which he claims cost him $110,000. His gall is unconscionable. If there is to be any revenge, I believe it will be by America against him and his comrades. Enough is enough.

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