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Somali vigilantes fight back against pirates

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Somalis are fed up with pirates clogging up their ports – and they're not taking it anymore. At least some of them.

Somali vigilantes captured 12 armed pirates in two boats after regional leaders in the coastal towns of Alula and Bargaal in Somalia's northern Puntland region told the BBC that they have formed a militia of fishermen to catch the modern-day swashbucklers.

The vigilantes aren't going to make the pirates walk the plank into the briny deep. But their captives may face more of a penalty than those pirates who were captured by NATO earlier this month and immediately released. The vigilantes are expected turn the pirates the authorities. "Somali pirates could face the death penalty under recent get-tough measures announced by the internationally recognized but fragile Somali government," writes the BBC.

This comes just days after an Italian cruise ship with 1,500 people on board fended off a pirate attack along Somalia's coast. Israeli security officers aboard the ship reportedly repelled the attack by firing pistols. (Note to self: Bring Israeli security on next vacation.)

One of the crew members aboard the US-flagged merchant ship Maersk Alabama, who survived an attack by Somali pirates, may have wished he had such backup. He is now suing the company for failing to protect the crew.

In the lawsuit, Richard Hicks – who was the ship's chief cook and is from Royal Palm Beach, Fla. – says the company was made aware of the pirate problem and did nothing to protect the crew. He's seeking at least $75,000, and "reserves the right to amend this pleading for a certain amount in the future, as it is too early to determine the maximum amount of plaintiff's damages," according to the suit.

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