Reporting on Piracy

This week the JoC launched its online special report on piracy, featuring stories by JoC staff and links to external resources.

There's a lot of information in this section, which complements and supplements the special report that ran in the June 1 edition of The Journal of Commerce.

Especially interesting is Janet Nodar's detailed account of the trials of the Amiya Scan and its owner, Scan-Trans Holdings, after the ship was hijacked and its crew held for ransom. The Amiya Scan, which didn't get the media attention granted the Maersk Alabama, was held for 30 days last year.

Scan-Trans eventually paid $5 million to free the ship and its Russian and Filipino crew.

There are signs that the massive naval buildup in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean is paying off, detering piracy and fostering maritime cooperation among nations that don't always pull on the same oar. CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar last week reported some unusual Iranian-American cooperation against Somali pirates. You could say piracy makes strange boat-fellows.

Even pacifist Japan is increasing its presence in the area, sending two P-3C planes to nearby Djibouti to aid two Japanese destroyers already deployed.

One figure I haven't seen reported is the total cost to those nations participating in the coalition — and their citizens — of the anti-piracy effort. I'm sure it dwarfs any ransom figure in a Somali pirate's wildest dreams.

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