Philippine Sea

Monday, September 15, 2008

Not Punishing Pirates

Interesting tale of how some pirates were caught got away here:
As piracy grips the Gulf of Aden, the same questions can be raised about the effectiveness of efforts to address piracy.

There must be more the industry and governments can do than allow shipowners to simply pay the ransom.

Blyth’s criticisms are still pertinent. In his case, the Singapore, Chinese, Australian and Malaysian authorities never fully investigated inconsistencies that helped most of the hijackers escape prosecution.

Among the 12 pirates that hijacked his tanker, the Petro Ranger, were two engineers hired from a Singapore crewing agency. The Chinese, whose police boarded the ship and arrested the pirates in their waters gave vital documentary evidence, including false ship’s papers back to the owner in Singapore at the ship’s handover. They then deported the pirates back to their home country of Indonesia, saying that they had insufficient evidence to prosecute without the documents they had given back.

Blyth – who was held hostage until he dramatically escaped when Chinese police boarded the ship during a routine inquiry – risked his life to smuggle other pirates’ papers off the ship, which he gave to Australian authorities. Nothing came of it, he said. Blyth never returned to sea.

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