Somalia pirates said on Saturday they would keep any Indian nationals from freed ships as hostages until fellow pirates held by India are set free.So, what does this tell us? That you can't trust a pirate? Well, duh.
Somali pirates, who make millions of dollars ransoming ships hijacked as far south as the Seychelles and eastwards towards India, on Friday released MT Asphalt Venture, but held some of its Indian crew.
"We are holding eight of Asphalt Venture crew. It was a joint understanding among us not to release any Indian citizens," a pirate who gave his name as Abdi told Reuters from pirate stronghold Harardhere.
"India hasn't only declared war against us, but also it has risked the lives of many hostages," he said.
An Indian warship stationed near the Gulf of Aden has thwarted dozens of hijacking attempts and escorts vessels passing through the region. India is holding more than 100 pirates it has detained mostly in rescue operations.
UPDATE: Related thoughts:
Maritime professionals aver that this is the first time that the Somali pirates have adopted such a stance and that this marks a break from the unwritten protocol that all crew members would be released when the agreed ransom was paid.
Added thought: If India gives in to this blackmail, then the pirates will do this with every country whose sailors they capture - and probably to every other nation which is out there capturing and prosecuting pirates by threatening (again - this is a common pirate refrain) to kill more hostages. But this Indian situation is a serious escalation of the brutish pirate behavior.
As to who is putting the hostages a risk - well, it certainly wasn't India that took merchant sailors innocently plying international waters into captivity for ransom. Of course the pirates are to blame and no half-baked attempt to shift that responsibility can be allowed to succeed.
If I were in India's shoes, I'd be gathering a small invasion fleet. If the pirates want war, they can have it.
Some one has to take on the job of "owning" the Indian Ocean and it shouldn't be the pirate thugs of Somalia.
Of course, they may have some work to do:
It sounds like that work is in progress.