Friendly Breaking-and-Entering

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

I stand corrected – for this:

Yes, for a while there it seemed like we would be able to look forward once again to following the madcap exploits of that ragged but plucky band of ex-Somali coastal fishermen who one day – with a little help from the flood of small arms of every conceivable description to be found in that war-torn land – came up with rather bigger and more lucrative prey to go after on the high seas. Maybe we would even get to see Tom Hanks in action once again, in crusty old sailor mode, in a sequel to last year’s American-ship-gets-hijacked movie. (Or maybe Hollywood would not particularly let mere facts get in the way of such a sequel, if the original turned out to be enough of a financial success.)

That was not true though: the Marzooqah was not captured by Somali pirates – or by any pirates – a week ago. I only discovered this by putzing around a bit on my Twitter-feed and clicking once again on the underlying article from the Volkskrant that had originally announced the news.

That article has been revised – drastically. Yes, a bunch of men were seen rushing onto the Marzooqah that evening, but those were not pirates, those were Eritrean soldiers! It took an announcement to that effect the next day by a spokesman from the European anti-pirate mission to clear up the confusion.

Just why it was that those soldiers were rushing onto the Marzooqah was not explained by that spokesman. I guess some people were rather worried that the ship had been or was about to be hijacked. Getting jumpy! – when in reality, as this revised piece now points out, in 2013 there were only 7 pirate attacks on shipping in that general area, and none of those was successful. The 2014 counter has likewise been reset back to zero.

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