There's been a couple of reports in the past few days about pirates operating off of the Somali coast. Several days ago, a U.S. destroyer pursued and fired upon a hijacked Japanese ship, sinking the pirate skiffs attached to it.
Apparently pirate attacks have increased tremendously in 2007, up 14% in the first nine months.
Today's report is especially striking:
The crew members of a North Korean freighter regained control of their ship from pirates who hijacked the vessel off Somalia, but not without a deadly fight, the U.S. Navy reported Tuesday.
When the battle aboard the Dai Hong Dan was over, two pirates were dead and five were captured, the Navy said.
Three wounded crew members from the cargo ship were being treated aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams.
The captured pirates were being held aboard the North Korean vessel, the Navy said.
The bandits had seized the ship's bridge, while the crew kept control of the steering gear and engines, the Navy said.
The Koreans moved against the attackers after the Williams -- responding to reports of the hijacking -- ordered the pirates to give up their weapons, according to the Navy.
Emphasis mine. The U.S. Navy came to the rescue of a North Korean ship! Two things come to mind about this. I'm glad to see that the U.S. can still, occasionally, do something that makes us look like the good guys. This is the sort of behavior that reminds me why I'm proud to be an American. Also, I would love to think that such an act could help cool relations with North Korea. Knowing the guy lounging about in the Oval Office, though, that doesn't seem likely.
Incidentally, while I'm thinking of pirates: my girlfriend and I were in Charleston, SC this weekend and learned a bit of the history. Most intriguing is the story of Anne Bonny, the world's only female pirate captain who terrorized the south and apparently had a romantic relationship with Mary Read, another female pirate who Bonny initially captured. The story is fascinating and well worth a read.