"It's war! Saudi opposes negotiations with pirates Prince Saud al-Faisal says Somali pirates who seized tanker are like terrorists. -->Fri, Nov 21, 2008 AFP
OSLO, Nov 21, 2008 (AFP) - Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said Friday he was opposed to any negotiations with pirates, reiterating his assertion that sea piracy was "like terrorism."
Somali pirates who captured the Sirius Star supertanker and its 100 million dollar load of oil last Saturday off the coast of Kenya have given the Saudi owners of the vessel 10 days to pay a 25 million dollar ransom.
"Like terrorism, it is an evil that has to be eradicated," Prince Saud told reporters in Oslo after talks with his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Stoere.
"Negotiations and payment of ransom only encourage the piracy and are not a solution to the piracy issue," he added. Contrary to remarks he made in Rome on Wednesday, the Saudi minister said he did not know whether negotiations were under way with the pirates for the release of the Sirius Star.
"Not on the part of the government. If the owners of the ship are doing it, we don't know about it and we're not encouraging it," he said. Prince Saud reiterated that his country was ready to take part in an international naval force to combat piracy.
Norway has also said it would be willing to participate but not until new frigates enter service "in 2009 or 2010," Stoere said."
This is really HEAD-TURNING news! That Somali pirates captured an oil tanker laden with millions of dollar worth of crude oil and demanding ransom from the container ship owners!
I normally thought of pirates as those one-eye jack with a hook for hand that appeared in cartoons or Disney movies! Now I know better!! It is real! Pirates of the seas still exist today! Actually being very bold and daring too!! Challenging the navy of nations in fact!
Lessons for me:
1. when there are money to be made, some people will do it! When the pay-back outsized the risks and costs, some people will do it! This is the case with strong navy of many nations not caring about what goes on in the international water that are near their shores but NOT within their shores!;
2. as it involved an oil tanker, some nations will pay attention since it means economic interests may be at stake. So, the Somali pirates will soon realize that they had just stirred the hornets' nest and some navies will come after them like what the Saudi minister is suggesting. It is terrorism and not mere robbery!;
3. it will be difficult for nations to split the cost of defending oil tankers that pass the international water near their shores. However, if they cannot look beyond individual cost bearing and work out something deemed equitable to all participating navies, the Somali pirates will continue to ply their trade and grow rich while the world just watched marvelling the re-birth of another pirate fairy tale!!
May the seas be safe for merchants to carry their goods to benefit the world at large without worrying about being robbed or hijacked by pirates of the sea!!