Henican: Somali pirates a swashbuckling downgrade
They havent forced anybody to walk the plank.
There isnt an eye-patch or a Jolly Roger or a shoulder-perched parrot in sight.
What kind of sad-sack pirates are prowling the waters off Somalia? Someone ought to take these wannabes to a Pirates of Penzance road show or at least a Johnny Depp matinee! Dont they have any respect for the noble traditions of piracy?
Sure, these seafaring gangbangers have grabbed their share of floating real estate, 40 ships this year. The pirates are still holding 15 of them plus 300 crew. And in the most audacious attack so far, these latter-day Jean Lafittes commandeered the Saudi supertanker Sirius Star and its 2 million barrels of crude.
OK, one loud YAAAR! for that.
But these Somali pirates have been comporting themselves more like low-level mobsters than proud swashbucklers of the sea, appreciated more for their strong-arm earning potential than for courage or derring-do.
Wheres the rough-hewn code of honor? Where are the peg-legs? If Captain Hook had been a part of this sorry mob, hed have been calling out for help from Tinkerbell.
These are pirates-light.In the Somali town of Eyl, where many of the sailor hostages are being held, special restaurants have been opened to accommodate the dining preferences of the pirates international guests. How thoughtful, huh? And the pirates have shown real flexibility in their ransom terms, reportedly coming down to $15 million from $25 mil for the Sirius Star.
Whoever heard of pirates with a holiday sale? Now theyre even getting cheery references from their hostages.
British sailor Peter French, lounging aboard the captured Sirius Star, just told the BBC:
The pirates are no problem whatsoever. Weve had no mistreatment. Hopefully, we get a phone call to our families soon. All in all, were not too badly off. The boys are quite happy. Were talking to them, reassuring them. Apart from the inconvenience of being locked up, our life is not too bad.
Theyre the perfect gentlemen pirates, soiling a once-proud and frightening name.
Quick, someone give these modern pirates a hug!