Perhaps my post on reviving the concept of Privateers to deal with Somali pirates was a bit hasty. I mean, it would certainly work on paper. My concept was that a private group-likely former servicemen and women-would outfit some refurbished World War II LST for the task. In this I probably was not ambitious enough, as I understand that the United States Navy actually has a large inventory of warships available in the so called " Mothball Fleet". Here for instance is a rather nice assortment anchored out in California, with the crown jewel on the far left clearly being the 45,000 ton battleship USS Iowa!
But there is a problem. The Somali pirates do not fight fair. When they encounter one of the numerous naval vessels patrolling the area they simply toss their weapons and boarding ladders over the side, pick up their fishing poles and try, probably with minimal success, to look innocent.
Which leaves our naval officers with little to do beyond asking them how the fishing is.
As it turns out that is actually a very relevant question!
If you are of a certain vintage you might remember this 1960s poster:
One of my blogging pals has a grandfather still alive and kicking at age 96. He ran a fish and chips business and tells tales of how enormous the codfish were in the immediate post war period. It makes perfect sense if you think about it. The fishing fleets of all the maritime nations were either in port due to threat of enemy action, or were actually drafted into service as naval auxiliaries. Leave fish alone and they grow like crazy. This parallels other experiences where human misbehaviour makes fishing impractical such as Giant Hungry Fish at Chernobyl!
So I was not surprised to find with just a little nosing about, a tale of how fishing has been great in Kenya, just a bit south of Somalia, since the pirates chased the commercial fishing fleet off. Fish coastal Africa.
Some people who want to think less badly of the Somali pirates indicate that they started out as local fishermen who were simply defending their livelihood. When civil society collapsed in their country there were supposedly unscrupulous commercial fishing vessels that showed up offshore and grossly over fished the waters while operating under flags of convenience.
Well, maybe. And if the pirates are just honest guys doing their best in a troubled time I think it would make sense to see if any of them want to go legit and start running sport fishing charters. It sounds like the fishing would be fabulous. And I suppose if there was any trouble with unrehabilitated pirates, well, old habits would take over. I could see them tossing the poles over the side and pulling the machine guns out from under the seats!