The problem of piracy in the Indian Ocean has been in the news off an on lately, but it’s been festering for a long time. We need a solution, and here’s my list of proposals:
1. Just as was done in the Caribbean during the colonial period, we send in the Navy and the Marines. Any vessel that refuses to follow orders will be sunk. Marine units will go ashore to destroy the docks and kill those who aid and abet the pirates. This worked for the Royal Navy, and it will work for us.
2. Arm legitimate vessels sailing in the region. A .50 caliber rifle would blow apart the skiffs that the pirates are using. Now wimpy countries that support gun control won’t want these vessels in their ports, but we should offer said countries a choice: You get goods delivered by vessels capable of defending themselves, or you get nothing. How long would the French support unarmed merchants then?
3. Make paying a ransom a Class A felony. As emotionally wrenching as having a loved-one kidnapped must be, we have to have the will to refuse to pay any pirate for his bad acts. Ransom only encourages further crimes. So long as piracy is profitable, it will never end.
4. For the time being, it may be necessary to have a convoy system. This worked in both of the world wars. U-boats lost their effectiveness when merchant vessels sailed in groups under the protection of corvettes and destroyers.
All of this requires will. Without will, we are merely the victims of bad people. We may need to assess a fee on vessels travelling through those waters, but as the saying went during the time of the Barbary pirates, millions for defense, but not one penny for tribute.
Of course, I’d like to be given a letter of marque and do some pirate hunting myself, but we don’t live in that age, alas.