Monday, November 07, 2005

Yarrrr, them's be terrorists, I'm sure, me hearty

"THE coast where a cruise liner was attacked by pirates should be declared a war zone, a British maritime union said yesterday. The demand came after passengers on a ship off the coast of Somalia awoke to the sounds of gunfire as heavily armed pirates tried to get on board.

"Numast, the merchant navy officer's union, described the situation as "anarchy on the sea waves", while Kenyan maritime authorities warned pirates were getting more ambitious in their plans to loot and hijack boats. Andrew Linnington, of Numast, said: "There have been so many attacks off Somalia we are urging the war-zone declaration, and we are also urging the UK government to do something.

"We believe there should be a naval task force, particularly off Somalia, to try to stop the attacks. In ten years, hundreds of seamen have been killed and thousands injured in pirate attacks across the world." There have been 23 attacks in the area since March, including two on UN relief ships, compared with only two in 2004. According to Andrew Mwangura, the head of the Kenyan chapter of the Seafarers' Assistance Program, the pirates may be the same group that hijacked a UN-chartered vessel in June and held its crew and food aid hostage for 100 days."

While on a different planet, far, far away......

"A cruise ship with 22 Australians and an unexploded missile on board was more likely to have been attacked by terrorists than pirates, says [Australian] Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. "It's quite possible they would just have been pirates,'' Mr Downer told ABC Radio. "But they were pretty well armed, they had not just small-arms but rocket-propelled grenades. We assume they had come from Somalia and they could be terrorists,'' Mr Downer said."

"The whole thing is an extraordinary story, that it would be attacked by, we're not quite sure who at this stage, but it's possible the people who attacked the ship were terrorists," he said.

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