Sea Transportation: June 29, 2005


As if Iraq didnt have enough problem with terrorists, it now has a growing piracy problem off its small coast. Youd think that the presence of coalition warships, and a growing number of Iraqi patrol boats, would discourage piracy. But no, it seems that the much increased commercial ship traffic has attracted speed boats full of gunmen. Going after tankers and large cargo ships, the pirates try to scramble aboard and, basically, mug the crew, before speeding away. The pirates know that the police, or someones navy, could show up quickly. The pirates cannot always be sure the crew did not send out a distress message, even when the raid is made in the middle of the night. The temptation is great, for these large foreign vessels carry at lot of portable wealth worth stealing. The government is more concerned about terrorists in speedboats, who could commandeer a large tanker and ram it into oil pumping facilities. So offshore security is getting a major boost, before al Qaeda realizes what opportunities there are in piracy.


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