Somali pirates threaten to blow up ship

Jason Zalasky/U.S. Navy via Getty Images Those pesky Somali pirates — yet to get their payday as I incorrectly predicted last week — have run out of patience. Pay us by Tuesday, the pirates are now saying, or we’ll blow up the weapons-laden Ukrainian tanker (shown at left) they’ve held hostage for several weeks. The ...

By , International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.
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592117_081013_pirates22.jpg
HOYBYO, SOMALIA, AT SEA - SEPTEMBER 29: (EDITORS NOTE: IMAGE RELEASED BY U.S. MILITARY PRIOR TO TRANSMISSION) In this handout image provided by the U.S. Navy, the MV Faina, one of the three pirated cargo vessels, is observed by the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) September 29, 2008 at sea in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Hoybyo, Somalia. Several navy ships are in the area monitoring the situation where Somali pirates have seized the Ukrainian-operated MV Faina, a ship carrying 33 T-72 tanks, armored personnel carriers and weapons destined for Kenya. The Somali pirates are demanding a ransom of $20 million and report that they are surrounded by at least three foreign warships. Two other pirated vessels, MV Capt Stefanos and MV Centauri, are also anchored in the same location as the Ukrainian ship. (Photo by Jason Zalasky/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

Jason Zalasky/U.S. Navy via Getty Images

Jason Zalasky/U.S. Navy via Getty Images

Those pesky Somali pirates — yet to get their payday as I incorrectly predicted last week — have run out of patience. Pay us by Tuesday, the pirates are now saying, or we’ll blow up the weapons-laden Ukrainian tanker (shown at left) they’ve held hostage for several weeks.

The pirates’ chutzpah is rather surprising, surrounded as they are by U.S. and Russian ships, watching to ensure the arms are not offloaded. Then again, there are hostages involved, and Somali pirates are heartier than you might expect. Thanks to them, shipping routes through the Suez canal have become some of the most dangerous in the world. 

I’ll make my prediction again: When the pirates ask for ransom, the world will pay up.

Elizabeth Dickinson is International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.

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