Cruising toward trouble

What would possess you to get on a cruise ship headed for the pirate-laden Gulf of Aden is beyond me. But apparently, that’s what 650 or so passengers did, only to have my fears fulfilled and be attacked by… pirates. Their Rome to Singapore voyage on a U.S. vessel was impolitely interrupted by gunfire on ...

By , International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.
591355_081202_aden5.jpg
591355_081202_aden5.jpg

What would possess you to get on a cruise ship headed for the pirate-laden Gulf of Aden is beyond me. But apparently, that's what 650 or so passengers did, only to have my fears fulfilled and be attacked by... pirates. Their Rome to Singapore voyage on a U.S. vessel was impolitely interrupted by gunfire on Tuesday.

Luckily, the good ship avoided capture. As CNN dramatically put it: "The ship took evasive maneuvers and accelerated to its full speed of 23 knots or 27 mph." That's some speedy driving.

But as we all know by now, others have not been so lucky. A Ukrainian weapons ship and a Saudi oil tanker are still being held for ransom.

What would possess you to get on a cruise ship headed for the pirate-laden Gulf of Aden is beyond me. But apparently, that’s what 650 or so passengers did, only to have my fears fulfilled and be attacked by… pirates. Their Rome to Singapore voyage on a U.S. vessel was impolitely interrupted by gunfire on Tuesday.

Luckily, the good ship avoided capture. As CNN dramatically put it: “The ship took evasive maneuvers and accelerated to its full speed of 23 knots or 27 mph.” That’s some speedy driving.

But as we all know by now, others have not been so lucky. A Ukrainian weapons ship and a Saudi oil tanker are still being held for ransom.

Back on land, the chaos ensues. The Ethiopian troops who have occupied the country since December, 2006, are pulling out next month, and the government is nervous it won’t be able to stay in power (no wonder, since it was installed by Ethiopia to begin with). Peacekeepers are nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, the former Islamic government is gaining lost territory.

Hell of a cruise.

Photo: ERIC CABANIS/AFP/Getty Images

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

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