Not long ago, piracy was considered a very urgent problem. It still is, but it’s not urgent enough that western governments are willing to hold trials and incarcerate pirates from the Gulf of Aden, the Washington Post reports today.
The Kenyan government, which has been gamely trying the pirates captured in their region, has gone wobbly, announcing they would no longer do so, then sort of (but not completely) walking back the moratorium on accepting newly captured pirates for trial.
This is what I found most alarming:
The European Union’s naval forces caught 275 pirates off the coast of Somalia in March and April but released 235 of them after confiscating their weapons, said Anders Kallin, a Swedish navy commander and spokesman for the E.U. forces. Ten were taken to Hamburg to face charges of attacking a German-owned container ship, despite some German officials’ fears that the suspects might seek asylum. The island nation of Seychelles agreed to prosecute 11 others, while the remaining 19 were handed over to authorities in Puntland, a region in southern Somalia.
In the same period, the U.S. Navy — which focuses more on capturing terrorists — caught 39 Somali pirates and released 18 of them.