South Korea: 1, Pirates: 0

At least 11 pirate-seized ships are being held hostage off the coast of Somalia these days. The waters are about to get friendlier to the pirates. And on land, Somalia is looking less than hospitable (unless, of course, you’re a pirate). Still, there’s good news of sorts today from the pirate-catching world. This time, it’s ...

By , International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.
582592_090806_korea12.jpg
582592_090806_korea12.jpg

At least 11 pirate-seized ships are being held hostage off the coast of Somalia these days. The waters are about to get friendlier to the pirates. And on land, Somalia is looking less than hospitable (unless, of course, you’re a pirate).

Still, there’s good news of sorts today from the pirate-catching world. This time, it’s South Korea that gets to claim the success:

In the seventh operation of its kind, a group of 30 UDT/SEAL forces aboard rigid inflatable speedboats, backed by a Lynx attack helicopter, seized seven pirates trying to hijack the cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden. … It was the first time that South Korean forces of the Cheonghae unit have captured pirates on a ship.”

Reads like a novel when the hero takes the day. But here comes the “but” — courtesy of NightWatch. Seems the South Korea anti-pirate magic has a lot of work to do before it woos shippers back to the Gulf of Aden:

Shipping agencies are increasingly resigned to placing military personnel on vulnerable vessels as the best response to pirates. “We have got to the point where everyone is just resigned to more attacks,” a London-based shipbroker said. “It is getting tougher to find ship owners willing to travel there.”

Add it to the list of crises that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed had to discuss in Nairobi this morning.  I have no idea how they kept the talk at just over an hour.

And in other pirate news, the accused bucaneers now have French pro-bono lawyers

Photo: CHOI JAE-HO/AFP/Getty Images

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

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