Like many people around the world, I continue to follow the media coverage of the piracy rampage occurring mainly off the coast of South Africa. Today’s headlines cover the arrival of the lone surviving pirate from the skirmish involving the Maersk Alabama and her crew. This story continues to be a complicated one.

Depending on the source, the young pirate is only sixteen years old—or eighteen. His mother claims he is sixteen and was lured into participating in piracy by gangsters who flashed money. U. S. officials assert he is eighteen years old or older. His name is unclear as well. Court documents list him as Abduhl Wali-i-Musi, while his mother claims his name is Abdi Wali Abdulqadir Muse. In addition, civil rights lawyer, Ron Kuby of New York, has raised concerns about the validity of the charges against Wali-i-Musi, alleging that the young pirate boarded the Bainbridge to negotiate while under truce, and therefore questioning whether he is being lawfully detained.

Other confusing aspects of the piracy story continue to emerge as well. Last week, a widely circulated independent report claimed illegal dumping of toxic wastes and illegal fishing were the true reasons behind the piracy attacks. Other analysts claim the real impetus of the piracy problem has been the Spanish trawlers and other European vessels who have been illegally fishing in the waters of Somali. Still others claim the horrible living conditions in the country, along with its lack of government and broken economy, are what prompted the increased piracy activity.

The internet is full of both support and opposition for these varied claims. Cleary, this is a complicated problem with no easy solution. However, my heart tending to the soft side, I must say that I sincerely hope these claims are thoroughly investigated and addressed. If it should be proven that the illegal dumping of toxic waste is occurring in the waters of Somali, something needs to be done to stop it. Similarly, if certain countries are illegally fishing off the coast of Somali, that also needs to be stopped. In the meantime, no matter the case, the safety of passengers and crews on ocean-going vessels needs to be secured.

What thoughts or comments do you have on the recent pirate activity?

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