Rampant piracy off the coast of lawless Somalia has targeted cruise ships as well as commercial vessels, including a Saudi oil tanker and a Ukrainian ship carrying tanks and other weapons.
MS Nautica (R) in the Omani port of Muscat 3/12/2008
Pirates fired on the cruise ship MS Nautica last week
German cruise operator Hapag-Lloyd has taken the rare step of evacuating passengers from its cruise ship MS Columbus while it sails through the dangerous waters of the Gulf with a limited crew.
Some 246 passengers will be flown to Dubai, where they will spend three days before rejoining the ship in the Omani port of Salalah for the remainder of their round-the-world tour that began in Italy.
Last week, pirates fired upon the MS Nautica, a cruise liner carrying 650 passengers and 400 crew members, but the massive ship quickly outran its assailants.
Other ships have not been so lucky - pirates have attacked 32 vessels and hijacked 12 of them since Nato deployed a four-vessel flotilla on 24 October to escort cargo ships and conduct anti-piracy patrols.
The EU has conducted 20 peacekeeping operations so far, but the anti-piracy mission is its first naval endeavour.
In addition to the EU vessels, about a dozen other warships from the US, India, Russia and Malaysia are patrolling in the area.
I have though long and hard about this issue and have come to the conclusion that this tragedy presents a serious business opportunity.
ARAMCO the owners of the oil tanker STILL being held I am sure will pay to have the vessel taken back rather than negotiate a ransom.
With a ransom of $10 000 000 it must make more business sense to take the vessel back by force.
How about some entrepreneurial sa business people get together a plan and get the cash flush oil companies to finance a private security force