Friday, September 26, 2008

Piracy and the reputation of the Royal Navy 

So Somali pirates have seized 33 tanks and associated spare parts with the capture of an Ukrainian ship off the Somali coast..

And Russia is apparently considering sending warships to the Arabian and Red seas to carry out anti-Piracy patrols. This would be alongside the existing international ‘Combined Task Force 150’ (which includes Royal Navy vessels) which undertakes anti-piracy operations in the region. Things seem to be hotting up at sea.

Piracy is no joke in today’s world as noted before here and here.. What I do hope is an amusing misunderstanding is this report in Lloyds List

“British Foreign Office officials are understood to have advised the Royal Navy not to confront or arrest pirates in the region for fear of transgressing human rights legislation or encouraging their seeking asylum once taken to the UK.”

Lewis Page thinks this ‘asylum threat’ is a Royal Navy inspired bit of bullshit to cover up some operational and morale inadequacies of the service. Page’s analysis (he is an ex-Navy man) is rather scathing of the RN. In fact a rather worrying analysis for people who cherish the ‘Nelsonian Aggression’ ethos of RN tradition. In CTF 150 it is apparently the Marin Francais which now shows derring-do and initiative in combating the pirates.

Not the picture Nick Clegg tried to promote in his visit to Portsmouth yesterday. (Clegg praises unsung heroes of the Royal Navy).

And a quick question. What in the name of Cthulu is an Ukrainian ship doing with 33 tanks as cargo off the coast of Africa anyway? One suggestion is that the final destination of the cargo was the south of Sudan. There is a story to dig out here…

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