Thursday, August 26, 2010

The world's most successful pirates don't live in Somalia

Somali pirates are getting a lot of press, but the world's most successful pirates are not working off the east coast of Africa.  They are sailing the waters of Southeast Asian countries. In fact, during the first half of 2010 the east coast of Africa accounted for only 29 successful attacks, compared to 39 successful attacks in the waters of ASEAN countries and China.  Moreover, attacks by pirates around Indonesia, the Malacca Straights, Malaysia, Philippines, the Singapore Straights, and the South China Sea have a far greater chance of success than attacks occurring near Africa.  Just over a year ago, Malcolm Robertson, an Englishman sailing with his wife off the coast of Thailand, was reportedly killed and  thrown overboard by pirates.

Nevertheless, Thailand has announced that it will be spending over $8 million to help fight pirates off the coast of Somalia:
A 371-member Thai naval fleet will begin its 98-day-long anti-piracy mission in the waters off Somalia in September, reports said.

Thai government spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said the Cabinet on Monday approved a decision to allocate 270 million baht ($8.4 million) for the purpose. "Thai boats, too, were hijacked many times," he told reporters.
It's tempting to suggest that the Royal Thai Navy should be patroling waters closer to home.    But on second thought, what they're planning to do is probably for the best:  with the Thai fleet off to Africa, any Rohingya boat refugees will now have a fighting chance of survival.

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