Dispatches From The Pirate Coast: Out of Troubled Waters


All week long Jon Bowermaster has been posting dispatches written by his friend Dennis Cornejo as he traveled up the eastern coast of Africa aboard a passenger ship (without passengers) on its way from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to its eventual destination in Egypt. The ship passed through the dangerous, pirate infested waters off the coast of Somalia, while everyone on board held their breath, and watched the horizon nervously.

When last we checked in on Dennis on Wednesday, the ship was just entering the most dangerous region, and was already encountering signs of pirate activity. Yesterday’s dispatch had the ship just 18 miles off the coast of Somalia, a very dangerous place to be, but also a calculated risk. At that distance, the ship can move through the region much more quickly, and if they could pass by undetected, they would be in great shape. Most of the pirate attacks occur further out to sea, so in a sense, the ship was moving behind enemy lines. Dennis notes that four ships were attacked in the night, with one being taken, but as the day goes on, they approach the Horn of Africa, which takes them further and further away from the pirates and out of danger.

Today’s dispatch bring us the last word from the Pirate Sea. Dennis and the rest of the crew have moved through the Gulf of Aden, and are now out of harms way. He reports that there is a sense of relief and high spirits aboard the boat, having realized that they have passed through the most dangerous waters on the planet and came out the other side.

These dispatches have made for great reading all week long, and in the past month or so, we’ve all become much more aware of what is happening of the coast of Somalia. But, we’re a long way from resolving anything. Even as Dennis’ ship approaches its destination, they were still hearing reports of others being attacked, including an Italian cruise ship with 1000 passengers on board. That ship had an Israeli security detachment which managed to fend of the pirate attack, but clearly this lawless section of the sea will continue to remain so while the lawless section of Africa, known as Somalia, continues as well.

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