Archive for the ‘Somalia’ Category

History, precedent, diplomacy and war

April 11, 2009

The current President of the United States, his government and cabinet secretaries seem totally unaware of and unconcerned about the importance of history, precedent, diplomacy and war.

Precedent makes law.  And precedent and how to respond in both diplomatic settings and in a crisis tells both friends and enemies what to expect from great powers.

The precedent that the United States will respond almost immediately and with force at signs of piracy and other troubles on the high seas dates almost to the start of the Republic.  In 1804, at the very start of the U.S. Navy, war ensued with pirates off the coast of North Africa because the price of ransom paid to pirates just kept going up.

But this year we have seen the Chinese disrupt at-sea operations of a U.S. naval vessel, without much U.S. response, and now African pirates hold for ransom a U.S. merchant captain.

I guess Jimmy Carter showed the world that the U.S. would be slow to respond in hostage situations.  But Ronald Reagan and others made sure the message was sent again that toying with the American people even in far flung assignments would not be tolerated and could result in war or lesser uses of more than strong language.

But President Obama has more rapidly re-written precedent on how the U.S. will respond than any president in modern history.  That is his course to take but he needs to be aware that others have tried the soft approach before: earning Neville Chamberlain the nickname “appeaser.”

Nations usually change their diplomatic course gradually, like the gigantic ships of state that they are.  Putting the rudder over quickly toward appeasement or force has its dangers.

It would have seemed an open and shut case a few weeks ago, for example, that Presidents of the United States do not bow to anyone.

The President of the United States Barack Obama greets King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

The President of the United States Barack Obama greets King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Photo: Getty Images

Now that they do: what does that mean?  After two hundred years, outsiders have to see America in a new light, which is apparently what Mr. Obama wants.  But who has guessed at the consequences?  Who in team Obama is telling the president how China, Russia and the others see this great breakthrough and what it might mean?

My guess would be nobody is discussing this At the White House (who denied that a bow ocurred) or at State.  Nobody who can make an educated guess at how others will see the new U.S. and its conduct.  I base this observation on Hillary Clinton presenting her counterpart in Russia with a giant red button bearing a misspelled word and with an unclear meaning.  In most Russian experience, I believe, giant red buttons launch nuclear weapons — not improved or “reset” relations — even if you could spell the word correctly.

My real point here is this: when a few thugs at sea can hold an entire sea faring nation like the United States hostage for ransom something is certainly amiss — and a dangerous precedent could be in the making.  The precedent now being set by President Obama and his Administration is that perhaps America will cower to brigands of any and all sorts.

After all, precendent sets law so precedent bears watching.

This line of thinking would also include North Korea’s recent missile launch and the inability of the United States to make the United Nations act in a sure and responsible way in condemning that nation.  Japan has already withdrawn its demand that harsh actions be taken in response to the North Korean missile flight.  Japan’s voice is unheard without U.S. backing.

What precendent did America’s top ally in the Pacific just learn?

The message now sent by Mr. Obama around the globe is that he will bow to just about anybody at any time and on any terms.  This does not bode well for America’s future or the security of the United States and allies like Israel.

Each American has to judge for him or her self if this is good or bad.  But my experience tells me that in places like Moscow, Beijing and Tehran; leaders are seeing a new precedent set by the United States.  And that can mean mischief.

See Michelle Malkin
http://michellemalkin.com/200
9/04/11/pirates-seze/

********

Was it Joe Biden, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton that thought it was a good idea to encourage Russia to just hit the “reset” button?  Well, whoever…..

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red button marked "reset" in English and "overload" in Russian.
Coffrini/Getty

Related:
 Barack, Hillary: Moronic “Reset” Idea for Relations With Russia

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Barack Obama’s “Great Bow to Saudi” and the red “reset” button given to Russia are more than faux pas and less than the end of the world.  But they do certainly indicate a certain lack of professionalism and due care for diplomacy.

The almost unnoticed fact that Austrians do do speak Austrian and other errors great and small means to me that we are in for more errors unless the Obama Administration starts to do some homework and learns from the errors committed thus far….

See the “faux pas” view from the Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy
n/content/article/2009/04/10/AR200
9041002590.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

http://vetsonthewatch.wordpress.co
m/2009/04/11/obama-foreign-poli
ty-starts-to-show-results/

Japan’s Navy Warships Deploy to Somalia to Fight Piracy

March 14, 2009

Two Japanese navy destroyers left a port in southern Japan on Saturday to join an international anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia.

Prime Minister Taro Aso was on hand to see the ships off.

“It is well known that piracy is growing in the Gulf of Aden,” Aso said. “We hope you will fulfill your mission and return safely.”

Japan has had restrictions on the use of what other nations call “military forces” since the end of World War II.  To even send warships as far away from Japan on a mission that could including fighting required special government steps for Japan.

Japan’s Cabinet had to approve  a new anti-piracy bill to allow the mission.

Japan’s ships can only be deployed to protect Japanese vessels and their crews, during normal mission and Japan’s navy has been called the “Maritime Self Defense Force” for decades.

About 2,000 Japanese ships pass near Somalia each year.

A special Japanese law designed to relax restrictions on the use of arms by personnel on navy ships if engaged by pirates will allow Japan’s vessels to escort foreign ships in danger.

The anti-piracy effort has now drawn ships from Japan and China far away from home for the first time in decades to conduct actions that could involve actual engagement with another armed force.

China’s ships in the anti-piracy mission are the first Chinese warships sent outside China’s territorial waters in centuries.

Ironically, one of the two Japanese warships on the anti-piracy mission, Sazanami, visited China last June — the first visit to China by a Japanese waship since the 1940s.

 

Japan's 4,650-tonne destroyer Sazanami arrives ...
 Sazanami

Warships from several countries including Britain, the United States, France, China and Germany are participating in the anti-paracy mission that the Japanese warships will join when they get to the waters off Somalia.

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/
asiapcf/03/14/japan.pirates/index.html

Associated Press
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009
0314/ap_on_re_as/piracy

China’s Love/Hate Relationship With The U.S.

March 13, 2009

China has a love-hate-envy relationship with the United States.

The Chinese people love American culture and can’t get enough of the American movies, videos, and music — much of it on the internet.

Yet the Chinese government blocks much of the internet because the cultural trends of these same Chinese people, most of them young and with growing affluence, worries older leaders in Beijing.

China envys the U.S. and its powerful military and almost unchallenged influence in the world.  Leaders crave such influence and dispatched the first ever long-range naval mission far from China in modern times when ships went to fight piracy near Somalia last December.

China is building an aircraft carrier, its first ever, and the incident at sea between Cninese ships and USNC  Impeccable last weekend was no accident.  China wants the U.S. and the world to know that it is claiming sovereignty over a vast expanse of sea.

This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean ... 
This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23). Five Chinese vessels maneuvered dangerously close to a US Navy ship in the South China Sea on Sunday, March 8, 2009, approaching within 25 feet of the unarmed surveillance ship, the Pentagon said.(AFP/NVNS)

China aslo loves and fears the U.S. dollar.

China has so much reserve money that it has to be invested, and in many ways, that almost always has meant buying U.S. Treasuries.

China has invested almost $1 billion in U.S. bonds.

This huge holding has to worry the Chinese since the crash of the stock market and the global economic recession — which the Chinese blame on U.S. debt and greed.

Luo Ping, a director-general of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, tried to explain how China feels about the recession and China’s continuing purchases of U.S. debt:

“We hate you guys. Once you start issuing $1 trillion-$2 trillion… we know the dollar is going to depreciate, so we hate you guys but there is nothing much we can do….

Ping, “whose English tends towards the colloquial,” according to the Financial Times’ Henny Sender, also asked “Except for US Treasuries, what can you hold? Gold? You don’t hold Japanese government bonds or UK bonds. US Treasuries are the safe haven. For everyone, including China, it is the only option.”

The global recession means China’s exports have ground to a halt and along with that, many factories and factory jobs stand idle.

About 20 million  Chinese people, many of them migrant laborers, returned home last January and are out of work.  China is rushing aid to the unemployment and fears social unrest.

The Independent (UK) reported in early March:

“China’s growth has dropped from 13 per cent in 2007 to 6.8 per cent in the most recent quarter. The rapid slowdown in the global economy, and in the US in particular, has hit China’s export-led economy, which has been at the heart of wider Asian growth in recent years. While extremely high compared with growth levels in mature economies, the slower pace is well below the 8 per cent the Government needs to create jobs for the millions of rural workers heading for China’s cities.The slowdown has left 20 million rural labourers unemployed, with 7 million college graduates also seeking work. The authorities are desperate to stop sporadic clashes between police and protesting workers turning into more general unrest against the Communist Party.”

But the recent economic woes of the United States undoubtedly worry the Chinese — and it is not a surprise that Premier Wen Jiabao said on Friday, “We have loaned a huge amount of money to the United States,” said Wen at a news conference in Beijing. “Of course, we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I’m a little bit worried. I would like for you [a Western reporter] to call on the United States to honor its word and stay a credible nation and ensure the safety of Chinese assets.”

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

China's Premier Wen Jiabao gestures as he answers a question ... 
China’s Premier Wen Jiabao gestures as he answers a question at a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 13, 2009.REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA POLITICS SOCIETY)

Related:
Obama Wasting America’s Strategic World Power; China Surges Despite Economy
.
Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

 Global Economy Weakness Leading To Social Unrest

Stimulus: China Will Fund U.S. Debt But “We Hate You Guys”

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORL
D/asiapcf/03/13/china.wen/index.html

China Extends Navy’s Anti-Piracy Mission Near Somalia

March 9, 2009

he Chinese naval fleet joining the international anti-piracy campaign in Somali waters is likely to be replaced by new ships late April or early May, according to the deputy chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

In an exclusive interview with China Daily, Major General Zhang Deshun disclosed for the first time that the current mission for the naval fleet lasts about four months and the fleet will be replaced near the end of its mission.

The current fleet left the coastal resort city of Sanya in Hainan province on Dec 26, 2008, and began patrolling and guiding Chinese and overseas civilian vessels since its arrival in Somali waters this January.

Citing the mission so far as a great success, the major general said the navy has prepared for a prolonged endeavor in which China joins forces with international naval forces to combat piracy.

“We feel this is not a short mission. The length of the mission depends on the Somali political situation and whether Somali pirates can be eventually kept away,” he said.

The major general said substitute warships and personnel were ready to take charge, but he was not privileged to disclose either the number of warships replaced or the names of the new warships that would sail towards the Gulf of Aden next, just yet.

But he did say that some officers and soldiers with the current fleet would stay longer to ensure the “consistency and effectiveness of the mission”.

“Some key members will be staying for the second phase,” the general said, adding the navy has drawn up multiple plans for the replacement, to be carried out once approved.

The plans also include emergency cases, such as the failure of a warship and the impact of the monsoon due next month on the Indian Ocean.

Zhang said a welcome ceremony would be held at the naval base when the current fleet returns.

The current naval fleet includes flagship Wuhan, destroyer Haikou and supplier ship Weishanhu.

By March 7, the fleet has completed over 110 patrolling missions in Somali waters.

The officer said not a single vessel, including three foreign ships, were attacked under the Chinese navy’s protection.

The general said the destroyer Haikou also escorted Tianyu 8, a fishing vessel from Tianjin released by Somali pirates on Feb 8.

The warship guided the vessel to safe water territory, providing food and medical aid to the 24 crew members aboard.

Source: China Daily

Related:
 Pentagon: Chinese Ships Harassed Unarmed Navy Craft in International Waters

China Says Its Navy Expansion “No threat to others”


Above: Missile Destroyer Haikou 171 of the PLA Navy’s South China Sea Fleet.  She departed with two other Chinese warships on a mission to the Gulf of Aden near Somali on anti-pirate patrol in December.  Many in the West see this as a sign of renewed cooperation between China and other military powers.  Haikou and the other ships of China’s anti-pirate patrol near Somalia will be replaced by similar ships next month.

Japan To Send Warships On Anti-Piracy Mission

February 3, 2009

Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) said Tuesday that it will dispatch two destroyers on an anti-piracy mission off Somalia once receiving the order from the defense minister.

To be sent on the mission are the 4,650-ton Sazanami and 4,550-ton Samidare of the 8th Escort Division of the 4th Escort Flotillain Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, the MSDF said.


Sazanami

On Wednesday Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada ordered the Maritime Self-Defense Forces (MSDF) to prepare for the mission in a bid to protect Japanese and Japan-linked ships from pirates’ attacks.

In line with Article 82 of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) Law, which governs policing action on the seas, the MSDF will dispatch the two destroyers, according to an outline of the operational guidelines for the MSDF released on Jan. 27.

Under the maritime policing provision, the MSDF will protect only Japan-related vessels, including Japanese-registered ships and foreign vessels with Japanese nationals or shipments aboard.

The dispatch of the MSDF, the first overseas military deployment under the SDF law, is expected to take place in March at the earliest after training and other preparatory work is finished.

–Xinhua

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Associated Press:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090128
/ap_on_re_as/as_piracy_2

Japan's Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, right in the background, ... 
Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, right in the background, meet leaders of Self Defense Force as the minister orders the dispatch of the ships to fight piracy off the shores of Somalia, at Defense Ministry in Tokyo Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009.(AP Photo/Kyodo News)

Somali pirates hijack German gas tanker, 13 crew

January 29, 2009

Somali pirates hijacked a German tanker loaded with liquefied petroleum gas Thursday off the Horn of Africa. The ship’s 13-man crew was reported safe even though gunshots were heard over the ship’s radio.

The MV Longchamp is the third ship captured this month in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY, Associated Press Writer

This photo released on Wednesday Jan.28, 2009 by the French ... 
This photo released on Wednesday Jan.28, 2009 by the French Defense ministry, shows suspected pirates intercepted by Marine commandos of the French Navy in the Gulf of Aden, off Somalia’s coast, Tuesday Jan.27, 2009. The soldiers from the ‘Le Floreal’ frigate intercepted nine people trying to take over the Indian cargo ship ‘African Ruby’.(AP Photo/Ecpad/French Defense Ministry/HO)

The Longchamp, registered in the Bahamas, is managed by the German firm Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, which said in a statement that seven pirates boarded the tanker early Thursday.

Spokesman Andre Delau said the ship’s master had been briefly allowed to communicate with the firm and had said the crew of 12 Filipinos and one Indonesian were safe.

“We think that everything is in order, nobody is injured,” he told The Associated Press.

No ransom demands have been made yet, the company said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090129/ap_o
n_re_af/piracy;_ylt=Am5snIANH5HfMX
ISMG_eBCZvaA8F

Obama Picks New World “Winners” and “Losers”

January 24, 2009

The American people gave Barack Obama a mandate to solve the problem.

And the problem is clearly jobs and the economy, a new Pew Research Poll says.

After the economy and jobs, American interest in other more mundane things like global warming, the war against terror and international relations and foreign policy barely makes the poll needle move.

But every nation outside the U.S. is looking to every word and action from President Obama to help them decipher the new direction of the U.S. and much of the world.

[Review & Outlook]
AP

Each New Year in the U.S., dozens of newspapers list what is “out” from the old year and “in” for the New Year.

As the Asian or Lunar New Year is upon us, every nation in the world might feel the need to assess what is “in” or “out” since the President Obama tenure commenced.

China is worried and fear it may be “out.”  China loved George W. Bush as “China friendly” but has already signaled that “Houston, we have a problem.”

Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy F. Geithner’s remarks about China in his Senate confirmation hearings already sent a shock wave through China.

Mark Lander of the New York Times wrote, “A  simple restatement of his boss’s views, Timothy F. Geithner’s assertion that China ‘manipulates’ its currency has complicated a crucial front in President Obama’s efforts to improve America’s relations with the world.”

And China does not see Hillary Clinton as a friend.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, right, shakes hands with former ... 
Chinese President Hu Jintao, right, shakes hands with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, left, as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, center, looks on during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Monday, Jan. 12, 2009. Carter and Kissinger were in China to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of U.S.-China diplomatic relations which began on Jan 1st, 1979.  China hope relations with the U.S. will get even better, but the nation hated to see George W. Bush leave.(AP Photo/ Elizabeth Dalziel, POOL)

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev says Moscow is ready to help U.S. efforts in Afghanistan by allowing the Americans to ship cargo intended for coalition forces across Russian territory.

But Medvedev and Putin in Russia are loathe to accept U.S. missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic and fear other U.S. meddlesome activity in Georgia and elsewhere.

Asked about the prospects of the world with a President of the United States Barack Obama, Russin Preident Vladimir Putin said, “I am deeply convinced that the biggest disappointments are born out of big expectations.”

Pakistan is worried that the flow of American money may dry up, as former President Musharraf of Pakistan seemed to indicate when interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

But Pakistan is pleased there will be a new U.S. envoy to the region: Richard Holbrooke.

Iran and several “brothers against Zionism” in Hamas, Hezbollah, and among Palestinians and others seem emboldened by President Obama’s promise of a new way forward in the Middle East, stronger diplomatic efforts to resolve all difficulties, and the appointment of George Mitchell as special envoy.

But naturally, this makes for some concern in Tel Aviv, Cairo and other capitals.

Many in Africa and in the human rights arena are delighted to see Barack Obama as President of the United States but also express some longing for President Bush’s work to fight AIDS and the abuse and neglect of refugees.

Will President Obama do more in Somalia or Darfur?

Mush remains unknown…..

President-elect Barack Obama meets with Mexico's President Felipe ... 
President-elect Barack Obama meets with Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, January 12, 2009.(Larry Downing/Reuters)

In Mexico: indiscriminate kidnappings. Nearly daily beheadings. Gangs that mock and kill government agents.

This isn’t Iraq or Pakistan. It’s Mexico, which the U.S. government and a growing number of experts say is becoming one of the world’s biggest security risks because of the “drug war.”

But when President-elect Obama, just before his inauguration, met Mexican President Calderon, the discussion was not about drugs or immigration.  The media was told Obama praised Calderon for his work on global warming and energy.

But neither a bad environment nor energy problems are as likely to bring Mexico to its knees — and impact negatively on the United States — as the drug war, according to the U.S. military.

The leadership of every nation on earth is asking, “What does President Obama mean to us?”

Related:
Poll: Economy, Jobs Top Americans’ Priorities (Global Warming Last); Obama Solutions?

Pakistan Auditions For “New Start” in U.S. Policy, Funding From President Obama on CNN

Pakistan welcomes appointment of U.S. envoy

 Most World Leaders Encouraged By Obama Time; Putin Ready for Disappointment

Drugs, Crime Make Mexico “Under Sustained Assault”

Islamist insurgents display their weaponry in Mogadishu during a parade in mid-January.

Related:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD
/europe/01/24/un.somalia/index.html

Russian navy saves Dutch ship from Somali pirates

January 14, 2009

The Russian navy helped foil an attack by Somali pirates on a Dutch container ship in the dangerous Gulf of Aden, a maritime watchdog said Wednesday.

Six pirates fired rocket-propelled grenades at the ship, which took evasive maneuvers while calling for help, said Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Malaysia.

The pirates chased the vessel for about 30 minutes but aborted their attempt to board the ship after a Russian warship and helicopter arrived at the scene, Choong said.

Associated Press

Pirates last year attacked 111 ships and seized 42 off the Horn of Africa, many in the Gulf of Aden. An international flotilla including U.S. warships has stopped many attacks, but the area is too vast to keep all ships safe in the vital sea lane that links Asia to Europe.

Choong said it was nevertheless getting harder for Somali pirates to hijack ships because of increased naval patrols and the vigilant watch kept by ships that pass through the area.

“The attacks are continuing but successful hijackings by pirates have (been) reduced,” he said.

There have been 11 attacks in Somali waters this year, with two ships hijacked. In total, 11 vessels with 210 crew members remain in pirate hands, Choong said.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991 and its lawless coastline is a haven for pirates. The multimillion dollar ransoms are one of the only ways to make money in the impoverished nation.

Wars Won’t End Anytime Soon

January 11, 2009

In our World, there are lots of countries, nations, languages, religions, cultures, costumes but also lots of disagreements. History has it that there was never peace and respect among nations since the formation of the first State. From the beginning of the first conflict till date, wars have been fought for the same cause: political differences, trade, religion, liberation, dynasty, seizure of territory, the annihilation of a rival State, the destruction of the enemy’s ability to prosecute military action, revolution or genocide.

By Ivan Simic
Pravda

We can recall aggressive War of Alexander the Great, nine Crusade Wars, Spanish Succession, Hundred Years’ War (France-England), American Civil War, or 20th century wars; World Wars I and II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iran-Iraq War, Gulf War, Yugoslav War, among others.

There was not yet a single year without war in history known to mankind; and it seems mankind was yet to learn bitter lessons from centuries of fighting and conflicts; wars had never brought anything good to nations and countries. Currently, in contemporary days there are thirty two (32) ongoing wars which are being fought around the World. These include: Sri Lanka Civil War, Second Chechen War, War in Afghanistan, Civil War in Cote d’Ivoire, Central African War, Iraq War, War in Somalia, age-old Arab-Israel/Israel-Palestine (including al-Aqsa Intifada) conflict, among others.

Wars are now being fought in under-developed regions without any serious threat of spreading to neighboring countries, thought that may soon change. The World is altering, and countries are developing with the formation of new Unions, financial help and foreign investments. Very soon the World will be without the so-called Third World Countries, and without territories to start war. Would that signal the end of wars, or usher in new form of modern warfare into the World?

According to these facts and enormous velocity and evolution of the World, in the future we can expect more wars; wars that will be fought between industrial countries. These wars may not take place in our lifetime, but it offers mankind some food for thought which calls for critical thinking and preventive actions. It looks as thought some countries are not recognized and their voice is not heard so they use all necessary means to be heard even if it meant the use of force, start war and take some lives along that path. Consequently, it behoves on the United Nations to get serious in its business and invite all countries to become members of the world body and make them discuss issues of concern in diversified arena in peaceful and understanding way, rather than sorting issues out in the battlefield.

Somali Pirates Drown With Share of $3 Million Ransom

January 10, 2009

The sea gets even?  Part of $3 Million in ransom paid to Somali pirates went down the drain and several pirates lost their lives as rough seas capsized the small boat of the pirates yesterday….

This is the strangest twist yet in the more than year-long saga of piracy near Somalia….

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Five of the Somali pirates who released a hijacked oil-laden Saudi supertanker drowned with their share of a reported $3 million ransom after their small boat capsized, a pirate and port town resident said Saturday.

Pirate Daud Nure says the boat with eight people on board overturned in a storm after dozens of pirates left the Sirius Star following a two-month standoff in the Gulf of Aden that ended Friday.

He said five people died and three people reached shore after swimming for several hours. Daud Nure was not part of the pirate operation but knew those involved.

By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN, Associated Press Writer

A parachute dropped by a small aircraft drops over the MV  Sirius ... 
A parachute dropped by a small aircraft drops over the MV Sirius Star at anchor, in this U.S. Navy photo, Friday, Jan. 9, 2009, following an apparent payment via a parachuted container to pirates holding the ship. Somali pirates released the oil-laden Saudi supertanker after receiving a $3 million ransom, a negotiator for the bandits said Friday. The ship owner did not confirm it. The brand new tanker, with a 25-member crew, was seized in the Indian Ocean Nov. 15 in a dramatic escalation of high seas crime.(AP Photo/U.S. Navy,Air Crewman 2nd Class David B. Hudson)

Jamal Abdulle, a resident of the Somali coastal town of Haradhere, close to where the ship was anchored also confirmed that the boat sank and that the eight’s portion of the ransom money that had been shared between dozens of pirates was lost.

U.S. Navy photos showed a parachute, carrying what they described as “an apparent payment,” floating toward the tanker. The Sirius Star and its 25-member crew had been held since Nov. 15. Its cargo of crude oil was valued at US$100 million at the time.

The capture was seen as a dramatic demonstration of the pirates’ ability to strike high value targets hundreds of miles offshore.

On the same day the Saudi ship was freed, pirates released a captured Iranian-chartered cargo ship, Iran’s state television reported Saturday. It said the ship Daylight was carrying 36 tons of wheat when it was attacked in the Gulf of Aden Nov. 18 and seized by pirates. All 25 crew are in good health and the vessel is sailing toward Iran, the TV report said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090110/ap_on_re_af/af_p
iracy;_ylt=AmERcrLVg7qHELhTJbKn55BvaA8F