10 April 2009

Piratical Absurdity

I realize the situation is serious, and at least one man's life hangs in the balance, but the whole Somali-kidnap-captain-thing is so surreal that at one point during the news report I actually burst into laughter. Now, imagine that a writer was trying to get a screenplay made into a movie that contained:

(1) A small force of pirates trying to take over a ship carrying many more crew members than there were invading pirates
(2) The captain bravely volunteers himself as a hostage if the pirates will let his crew go free.
(3) Meanwhile the crew manage to either overpower the pirates or hide from them (I'm not sure which is the case, or if both have some accuracy).
(4) Remaining pirates and captain wind up in a skimpy lifeboat.
(5) Captain jumps out in sight of a battleship but pirates manage to pull him back into the lifeboat.
(6) U.S. Warships are moving in to rescue the captain.
(7) Pirate ships are also moving in to rescuesupport the pirates.

Seriously. This sounds like an extended Monty Python sketch, though apparently there's still plenty of food on the lifeboat so they won't have to bicker about who gets to eat whom.

Quotes from the BBC report:

The cruise-missile carrying USS Bainbridge was sent to the scene in a move analysts say will strengthen the hand of US negotiators.


Analysts have said negotiations could be lengthy, with the pirates likely to want a hefty ransom for the captain as well as compensation for a boat that was wrecked in the attack.


The crew held a wounded pirate for about 12 hours, dressing his wounds "because he was bleeding all over the ship"

I should point out that the situation would not be even remotely funny if the pirates did not have a reputation for releasing their captives unharmed (so long as sufficient ransom is paid). Of course, right now, the captain may be the only thing keeping U.S. ships from opening fire on the lifeboat. Maybe not, though, if more pirate ships containing more hostages are moving in. *shakes head*

UPDATE: The pirates were killed by snipers, apparently because the snipers saw one of them train a gun on the captain. Tragically ironic, perhaps, that they met the fate they'd threatened the captain with, but not particularly funny in the aftermath. I might have updated this sooner, but yesterday I took a day off from the internet (mostly; one brief period online last night), and didn't hear the news until this morning.

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