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PARAGRAPH 1651

"Pirates on deck"

INS Kalpeni (T75)

USS Nicholas (FFG47)


Finally there seems to be some cases of positive action and results for us long suffering seafarers against the pirates. In Norfolk, VA five Somali males were convicted of attacking a Navy ship and in accordance with U.S. Code Title 18, Chapter 81, Paragraph 1651 sentenced to life in prison under the law of nations. This is the harshest sentence to date as more serious efforts are made to halt piracy off the Horn of Africa.
The federal prosecution in Virginia relied on the 19th. Century maritime laws and it was the first piracy case to go to trial since the Civil War. This is of course as it should be, the fact that the law has only rarely been used is meaningless. It was enacted to deal with piracy when and if it occurred, as we seafarers know only too well it has flared up in the last decade off the Horn of Africa (HOA) and is spreading across the Indian Ocean to within 600 nautical miles of India.
The convicted pirates had at first admitted their crime but later when they saw they were not just going to be released they claimed to be innocent fishermen. Their attack on the USS Nicholas (FFG 47) which is homeported in Norfolk, VA was when she was part of the anti-piracy patrol off HOA. Stated U. S. Attorney Neil MacBride:
"Today' sentences should send a clear message to those who attempt to engage in piracy. Armed attacks on U.S. flagged vessels carry severe consequences in U.S. Courts."

In other good conter-piracy action the INS Kalpeni (T75) captured a pirate mothership and along with 61 pirates and freed 15 hostages. Those of you who follow piracy news already know that the Indian Navy and Indian Coastguard are doing outstanding work in fighting the pirates. They are just about the lead nation in effective counter-action to prevent piracy and in capturing those involved.
Good Watch.

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