Pirates’ Spokesman Still Speaking

You forgot about that Somali-pirates-holding-Ukranian-vessel story, didn’t you? The latest: that ship is still being held, NATO is sending ships to “protect vessels off Somalia’s coast,” and the AP is still in touch with that pirates’ spokesman. And, while a U.S. Navy spokesman who has been in touch with the hostages aboard the Ukranian ship says they are “living in fear,” the pirates’ spokesman says:

Their chef still prepares their food for them. They are healthy and have no worries. But of course their only worry is when they will gain their freedom. Their feeling is typically that of hostages — no more, no less.

So, what’s the big picture here? CNN gives a good distillation towards the end of its piece today:

The Faina’s hijacking, the most high-profile off Somalia this year, illustrates the ability of pirates from a failed state to menace a key international shipping lane despite the deployment of warships by global powers. More than two dozen ships have been hijacked off Somalia’s coast this year.

And what’s at stake with this increase in “seafaring bandits,” potentially, worst-case?

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters Wednesday that “three million people are in danger of starving” because nearly 90 percent of the food that feeds them arrives by sea on World Food Program-contracted ships.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.