US Should Treat Pirates Like Terrorists: Vice Admiral

To stop piracy, follow the money and bust the network
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2011 4:00 PM CST
In this photo released by South Korean navy, South Korean naval special forces prepare to rescue crew members on the South Korean cargo ship Samho Jewelry, center, in the Arabian Sea Jan. 21.   (AP Photo/South Korean navy via Yonhap)

(Newser) – The problem of piracy in the Gulf of Aden might be receiving less attention in the media these days, but it has not gone away. In fact, hostage-taking is up, from 350 people in captivity in September to 750 today. Ransoms are a million-dollar business for pirates, who are also spreading out their area of operation, Reuters reports. The problem demands a new approach, says the vice admiral in command of US naval forces in the area: namely, we should borrow some tactics from counter-terrorism operations.

Vice Admiral Fox isn't talking drone strikes. Instead, he thinks the US should investigate the funding of pirate networks and look to destroy their financial and organizational infrastructure. Pirates are currently treated as normal criminals: authorities wait until a hostage situation develops, then react. It's time for that to change, says Fox. "I don't advocate that we necessarily go into a higher level of lethal activity, but I do advocate broadening the overall scope of how we're tackling the problem."

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