January 21 was a bad day for the Somali pirates as two of their hijacks were thwarted by the Malaysian and South Korean navies.
The Malaysian navy commandos rescued a Malaysian chemical tanker and its 23 crew members in the Gulf of Aden just after midnight following a distress signal from the vessel. A total of 18 pirates were captured, three being injured.
Hours later in a separate operation, the Korean navy special forces stomped a vessel which was hijacked on January 15 in the Arabian Sea and rescued its 21-person crew. Eight pirates were killed and five were captured.
There’s no serious injuries among the navies and crews. Job well done for both, which were aided by the fact that most of those less equipped Somali pirates had decided to surrender instead of going berserk.
The piracy off the Somali coast has been a threat to international shipping for the past few years. Some countries have sent out military escorts for their cargo vessels as countermeasure, which together with other anti-piracy efforts, have managed to cut the piracy activities in 2010.
The bad news is that the piracy activities will not be completely halted despite the fresh setbacks. There’s other complicated social-political issues involved.