Russia says pirates who held tanker are freed
Skepticism and suspicion have arisen from the report that Russia has released the Somali pirates captured by a Russian warship. The pirates boarded the tanker Moscow University on Wednesday. They were arrested Thursday after special forces from a Russian warship stormed the tanker. A gun battle ensued in which one pirate was killed; 10 others were arrested.
Authorities initially said the pirates would be brought to Russia to face criminal charges for hijacking a Russian oil tanker. But Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Alexei Kuznetsov said that the pirates had been released.
The Law of the Seas Convention, to which Russia is a signatory, says the courts of a country that seizes a pirated vessel on the high seas have the right to decide what penalties will be imposed.
But according to the Defense Ministry the pirates – seized by the Russian warship off the coast of Somalia – have been released because of “imperfections” in international law. a claim that sparked skepticism — and even suspicion the pirates might have been killed.
What to do with pirates has become a murky problem. Some countries are concerned about hauling in pirates for trial and then being stuck with them and having to feed and care for them. “Why should we feed some pirates,” asked Col. Kuznetsov
Mikhail Voitenko, editor of the Russian online Marine Bulletin, said,”There is no more stupid version than the one that has been proposed to us — that there was no sense in dealing with the pirates and that in Russia there are no suitable laws for convicting them.” “If the pirates really were let go, it should have been done in the presence of journalists. If the pirates were killed, a heroic version would have to be thought up,” Voitenko said.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had hinted Thursday at tough punishment for the pirates, saying “perhaps we should get back to the idea of establishing an international court and other legal tools” to prosecute pirates. “Until then, we’ll have to do what our forefathers did when they met the pirates,” he said.
Personally, I was hoping that Medvedev would actually follow through with what their “forefathers did when they met the pirates.” It will soon come to the point where some country is going to send a message to these Somali thugs. If they don’t, the piracy will just continue.