Marines Take Pirates. Call President Jefferson.

Piracy has been a challenge for shipping around Africa for centuries. Many European nations just paid what was demanded and were on their way. In 1801, Tripoli demanded the equivalent of $10 million big ones from the United States. President Thomas Jefferson refused and dispatched a number of frigates. In 1804 Navy Lt. Stephen Decatur led Marines into action against Tripoli. The rest is history

Aside from “the shores of Tripoli,” you get my fascination with this pirate nuisance. As I have written before, the pirates have a negligible effect when compared with the amount of shipping that moves through the Gulf of Aden without incident each year.

But, U.S. Marine Capture Pirates in 2010! Give me the Barbary Wars all over again and toss in Jack Sparrow for fun (wrong hemisphere, but indulge me). Send in two dozen Marines and a pirate ship reverts back to coalition hands.

The New York Times reported 24 Marines took a pirate vessel in a predawn raid. The 436-foot Magellan Star had been hijacked by pirates between Yemen and Somalia. The crew of just 11 of the German-owned cargo ship barricaded itself in a safe room and killed the engines so the pirates were dead in the water in more ways than one.  A day later at around 5 am two teams of 12 Marines using tactics similar to the pirates. They motored alongside the large cargo vessel, moved quickly up the ladders they brought for the task and took the ship without firing a shot.

The pirates were handed over, though it is not known if they were released. The U.S. spokespeople and commander of the Turkish-led CTF 151 made the requisite canned remarks about team work and dangerous pirates. (Blah Blah Blah Blah.)

It seems the Marines were a part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Units. How would you like to be the guy who goes home and tells his kid or friends in a bar, “I captured a pirate ship.”

Sure this is serious and dangerous work, but some pirate humor is a welcome distraction from Iraq and Afghanistan.

What would President Jefferson say?

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