back to article Royal Navy won't fight pirates 'in case they claim asylum'

Following a recent spate of pirate attacks* off the Horn of Africa, reportedly Her Majesty's Royal Navy has been powerless to act following official concern over possible violations of the buccaneers' human rights - and worries that they might seek asylum in the UK after being captured. The shipping paper Lloyds List first …

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Anonymous Coward

You can see their point...

...the last thing we need is a bunch of pirates equipped with RN RIBs.

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Pirate

How much is a house in Somalia these days?

So if I move to Somalia and rob, pillage and generally make a bloody nuisance of myself HMG will let me get on with it or give me a nice council house, but if I dare to look at dodgy pics in a magazine or on an offshore-based website I can be clapped in irons?

What is the difference between "Give us your valuables and a ransom and we'll let you go home" and "I'm sorry, I'm only a Pensioner and cannot afford another £60 a month on my council tax"? (For those El Reg readers who cannot tell the difference, and for any fsckwit Government types who have managed to stay awake long enough to read the story AND get to the comments, it's this - one is an old lady from the north of England, the other is either a pirate or a council official depending on what badge he's wearing today...)

Since the gaols are already too full of those intimidating council tax dodging grannies and depraved speeding motorists who actually have tax and insurance, maybe HMG's policy is the right one.

Fill the theiving scum with lead and let 'em seek asylum with Davy Jones...

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Anonymous Coward

Pirate Asylum Seekers?

Don't bring them on board to take them to the UK. Just sink their boat and let them swim home - problem solved

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Pirate

Navy: A sad bunch of Sissy's!

The navy should just shoot the bastards - If any pirate happen to claim asylum they should bloody well shoot them again!

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NB
Pirate

what a crock

of shit. Keelhaul the limp-wristed office dwelling pansies that made this decision!

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NT
Flame

Asylum?

I don't normally go for the BBC 'Have Your Say' Daily Mail approach, but this seems a bit of a non-issue to me.

Rather than worrying that the pirates might seek asylum if captured, could the Navy not... well... shoot them and sink their ships?

"Oh dear, Admiral, you know what? We were just going to invite them on board and offer them a cup of tea and a biscuit, but would you believe, just as we're coming about, their poor ship exploded and sank. Terrible thing, really. The humanity, etc. Mind you, the ship was in a terrible condition as we passed - surprised they put to sea in it at all, really. All those holes in the side, and fires kept starting all over it for some reason. No, no survivors that we could find. We looked. We raked... I mean combed... the area until we ran out of am... until it went dark, and not a sign."

Seriously, I know the tradition is that everyone's in the same boat - so to speak - on the sea and when push comes to shove you help your enemy if he's in trouble. But on the other hand, they're pirates. And pirates, despite the popular conception, aren't cuddly funny people with parrots. They're robbing, raping scum the world would be far better off without. So sink them and to hell with them.

Sorry. I'm going to go for a lie down.

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Flame

Piracy -> local economy or terrorism?

Judging by the enormous villas being built in Puntland, around Eyl, most of the cash goes to the local economy and not to terrorism I'd say.

If you define piracy as terrorism (it's anarchy and strikes terror in its victims: fair enough) then of course the point is moot.

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Sam

Obvious course of action

Why not just blow them clean out of the water?

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Coat

I hate to be a pedant, but...

...asylum seekers are not the source of council flat shortages, and it really hacks me off when people suggest that they are, because you end up with an uprising of right wing lunatics who go off chaning xenophobic "Britain for the British" slogans blaming all of society's evils (such as council flat shortages) on foreign nationals.

My particular borough in London has a waiting list of 11,000 households wanting a council flat - last year 85 got housed. The housing shortage has nothing to do with asylum seekers hoovering up council property - it has everything to do with there being simply not enough council housing stock.

Seeing as The Reg has such a distaste for the Daily Mail, any chance you could stop pedalling its lies?

I think I'll get my coat - it's the one with flameproof lining.

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"ill afford any damage or mess"!??!?!?

"Since paintwork seems to be more in demand than gunnery you had better come in and make yourself pretty"

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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Pirate

Cranking up the Tw*t-O-Tron

At the risk of being identified as a tub-thumper, I have a question about modern naval training. It used to be a point of pride for a bosun's mate to be able to organize an efficient and humane hanging at a yard-arm. Is this skill missing from today's Navy?

[the only time this icon, or its late lamented forebear, has been geniunely useful]

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Go

Blow them out of the water

Just make sure they all die, then no one will complain about their human rights - or be able to claim asylum.

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Paris Hilton

The Royal Navy

Lets resolve this one in the least painful way possible.

Re-commission HMS Belfast, lock and load the 6" guns. Dispose of Home & Foreign Office (and possibly the houses of parliament - freindly fire excuse and all that).

Paris - Because she would only wring her hands as much as the FSO if she were buing a REALLY expensive handbag.

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Pirate

Human Rights?

"for fear of transgressing human rights legislation or encouraging their seeking asylum once taken to the UK."

Sea Pirates aren't all like the "Captain Sparrow". These are generally quite violent and vicious criminals who probably don't give two stuffs about the human rights of the people they have robbed from/killed/terrorized.

This f***king country just gets worse. Blow the pirates out of the water, make them walk the plank and stuff their human rights.

(Pirate for obvious reasons)

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Pirate

Lily-livered sons of mangy curs

An unsophisticated position to adopt, I know, but if you send 'em straight to Davy Jones' locker, they won't have time to claim asylum, will they?

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Thumb Up

Rule the Waves No Longer

> "Your correspondent recently spoke off the record to a lately-retired admiral who said that the once-aggressive Service culture has been "shockingly" undermined in the modern era ..."

I'd agree with that. In my own opinion, many Western navies have become shadow of their former selves. As one former senior officer I know put it, "Women and telephones - that's what I blame. I swore to myself I'd resign if they introduced women and telephones at sea, and regretted everyday since that I didn't".

Not that the women themselves are a problem - they can be trained to perform just as well as men (most of them, anyway) - but it's the top brass' attitude that came along at the same time ... "We must appeal to a broader spectrum of the community" ... "We must not be seen as harsh or uncompromising" ... and the consequent watering down of just about everything.

Then there's the telephones. We used to issue a set of orders to the CTF/CTG and trust they would get it right using their judgement, framed by "the finest traditions of the Service". Now we issue more Rules of Engagement (a long list of things you can't do) than orders and further cloud the situation with very untimely voice calls from Whitehall (or wherever) from people with no fucking idea how to conduct a naval campaign, or worse, HQ with politicians on their back. There's a damn good reason why they're the *Armed* Forces, and fuckwit civilian managers and politicians should withdraw to their corner and let the Services get on with it. Then there's the apparent neutering of senior officers - paralysed by legal shackles and media paranoia.

Please excuse the langauge, but for fuck sake, these are pirates - order to stop, fire warning shots, then (if they haven't stopped) engage - any survivors can be picked out of the water, emprisoned, then deported. And to keep the lawyers happy, instead of passing more legislation on disenfranchising citizens of the freedoms their forefathers died fighting for (with a damn sight more courage then shown since), how about a simple statute/amendment that permits the emprisoning and deportation as above?

I've had exactly the same experience as Lewis with overnight transit in certain straits. I'd go into a couple more examples, but I'd be inviting a visit from men in dark suits ....

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Lewis - which group were you in?

If it's not too rude a question, which course of action did you favour when you were in that neck of the woods, and why?

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Silver badge

a short drop and a sudden stop

It's a lot more difficult to request asylum when you're hanging.

Or when you've got a bullet through the head, for that matter.

What is the world coming to ? The remnants of the worlds' greatest Navy have all become yellow in a generation ? Since when does this kind of debate take place at the task force command level ?

It should be a debate in the political arena, where the softies can wring their hands repeatedly while the hardliners rebuff them with economic logic, then everyone stops for tea. Meanwhile, the Navy just keeps on blowing the buggers out of the water.

Meaning the pirates, of course, not the politicians.

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Joke

Environment

The Navy are just doing their bit to reduce global warming.

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Pirate

Witty Title to Follow.

Why not just fire cannons or other more modern projectiles at them?

Or push them off the gangplank?

Of course, if there's a Kiera Knightly amongst them, Id be happy to keep her under lock and key in my "dungeon"

Yarrr!

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Pirate

not surprised really

the Senior Service? sounds like a bunch of wusses nowadays

but as for the 'guidance' how can you expect better from a government - here I mean = elected representatives + civil servants (ha!) - that continues to treat the Gurkhas so damned shamefully

pirate - well obviously we should fight fire with fire, make the scurvy scum walk the plank - preferably with a kukri in their back :)

PS was trying to work in a Cap'n Pugwash reference in . . thought better of it as it is before the watershed (i.e. the lunchtime pint)

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Pirate

One harsh solution to the problem...

Men in small boats, armed with RPG-7's and AK's. Looking slightly threatening. (And an RPG would be considered a relatively serious threat)

RN vessel identifies threat, makes challenge, 'inadequate' response received, engages with close defence weapons. Say for example Oerlikon 30mm and mounted M134s. You know, the light stuff.

Smoke clears. Threat gone. And no asylum claims.

May be considered a bit of an overreaction, but it deals with the immediate threat and can be considered to discourage the others. And after all, the pirates get in their boat knowing what could happen, and intending to do the same to others.

I suspect the policy would be even more effective if employed via armed merchant vessels but as the article is about the reaction of the RN we won't go there.

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Pirate

YAAAAAARRRRR!

That is all.

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Am I missing something?

Or is this a case of the French actually doing the right thing while everyone else acts like a pussy and pulls the human rights excuse for doing fuck all?

Hey, you know all those guys that took out the World Trade Centre? I'm fairly sure they impinged the human rights of everyone in the building at the time, think they cared?

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Thumb Up

Hanging's too good for 'em

Isn't piracy still one of the 3 things you can get hung for in the UK?

So the pirates are successful in getting UK citizenship and then get hung 10 minutes later. Pirates are happy (for a bit), Sun readers are happy and a notice in the job centre "Wanted, hangman, black hood provided" will help bring down the unemployment figures

It's all doubleplus good

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Go

What's this nonsense about capturing people?

"Stop pirating all we'll blow your shit out of the water!"

You can't give a council flat to a bunch of Somali pirate corpses floating face down, can ye?

Seems simple to me.

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Unhappy

Ashamed

I'm ashamed. Has the royal navy come to this? Being afraid of pirates in case it makes them a little bit late? I can't help but think in days gone by they would have gone out of their way to be mistaken for a merchant convoy and would have been keen to make blighty proud, and the powers that be would have lauded their efforts.

Of course they would probably also have been "privateering" the french, dutch and/or spanish merchants, but as we all know that's completely different.

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Silver badge

The Navy

have converted to the CoFSM. They know that Pirates are also followers, and all this talk of ransoms, terrorists, theft etc. is just propaganda spread by Christians.

The Royal Navy 'warships' in the area are actually used to hold prayer meetings, as it is at least a safe from being boarded by French or Russian seamen (**giggle**, I think I'll leave this in despite reading it back and noticing the double entendre) seeking to persecute our righteous brothers.

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Joke

Inappropriate commander?

"There is in fact an international naval force operating in the Arabian and Red Seas called Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), currently commanded by a Canadian officer..."

WTF? The Canadian Navy consists of 2 blokes in a rowing boat with shotguns!!

(disclaimer: I'm Canadian, OK?)

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AC
Flame

so basically

"do not arrest criminals it is against their human rights"

I'll bear that in mind the next time I rob a bank and make of with many millions.

"No you can't arrest me, I have human rights ..."

and people wonder why I hate the lefties and the pc twats.

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Pirate

Gaarghh

Blow me down - It be a dark day when those scurvy french be out fighting us!

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Paris Hilton

Nick

My Girlfriend and I are planning a round the world sailing trip and were considering heading down through the Red Sea. However, there is some concern of Pirates (think boats not software) and rather than be boarded by a bunch of stroppy Somalian’s wielding machete's I think we will head over to the Caribbean instead.

They used to say that a an Englishman could safely walk across the breadth of the British empire unprotected because no one dared provoke the armed forces. Maybe I should practice my French instead...

Paris - because she knows how to lie back and think of England..

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Pirate

Proud to be British

Never mind, we'll all feel better after another one of Gordons proud to be British schemes ...

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Pirate

Symptomatic I'm afraid

Of all the nuLabour PC bollocks that is straightjacketing the entire country.

It starts out with school children banned from climbing trees or playing conkers etc. and ends up with the RN not allowed to fight genuine piracy.

I have to agree with Lewis.

Skull and crossed bones obviously (Why does your icon have crossed swords?)

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IT Angle

Britania rules the waves!

Well this one wave anyway, off the Cornish coast, unless of course we are offending you in any way or upsetting your view perhaps in which case the wave is yours.

We will just carry on with our mission to defend the right of the Public School boys at the Foriegn Office to behave like prats. After all without the extra money from the KGB they can barely afford the Opera these days.

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Pirate

Avast ye me hearties!

There flies the flag of the good ship Meal-ticket!

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Thumb Down

Scaremongering

Surely its a simple enough matter for the immigration office to officially deny asylum and deport somebody who was arrested by the UK for piracy?

Seems to me that there might be more to this story. Did you syndicate it from the Daily Mail or something?

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Pirate

Why have a navy?

Pointless having a navy if you're not going to fight piracy with it. Really sad when training exercises are more important than getting a few pirates.

Perhaps the real problem is that if there were british casualties, there'd be hell to pay and the mealy mouthed politicians would be incapable of explaining. And who'd have to foot the bill for damage to Her Majesty's fleet?

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But what do you do once they're caught?

Personally, I'd have no problems with the Navy just sinking pirate ships/boats on sight and steaming away after making sure all the pirates were dead, but it seems rather inconsistent that when we don't even execute murderers/rapists/etc. in this country, pirates can be summarily drowned or machine-gunned.

That probably means they have to at least be given the chance to surrender which brings its own problems - do modern Navy ships even have a (large enough) brig? After a few vessels dealt with, the ship might have to make a special unloading trip to the nearest British controlled port.

I feel like I'm coming over all Daily Mail, but a British prison, while being an extremely unpleasant place, probably offers a better life than a modern pirate has - so the proper incentives aren't really there.

Handing them over to possibly easily-bribed local police might not be the best idea either.

What seems like the best idea is mentioned in the article - pretending to be an easy victim then killing them all...

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hmmm

"British Foreign Office officials are understood to have advised the Royal Navy not to confront or arrest pirates in the region for fear of transgressing human rights legislation or encouraging their seeking asylum once taken to the UK."

- you really couldnt make this up could you?

surely these people who murder, steal and kidnap have forgone any human rights? also why the hell should we bring such nasty pieces of work over here to live?

i fucking despair at this government i really do! the navy should just blow them out of the water ffs!

werent we the best sailing nation in history at one point? now relegated to a world joke! is anyone else feeling embarassed to be english these days? :(

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Thumb Down

Politics Ahoy

Well, I for one just welcome our new pirate overloads….

And point you to the story of the Danish warship “Absalon” that had too free captured pirates because of worries that they might seek asylum in the Denmark.

Now where is this Lord Nilsson guy when you really need him?

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Pirate

Would they *have* to take them back to the UK?

Haven't we got some pink coloured islands in pretty much every ocean?

I notice an appropriately named Danger Island in the Indian Ocean Territory. Uninhabited, plenty of coconuts, what more could a pirate want?

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Coat

It is a sad day when the French have more guts

It is a really sad day when the French have more guts than the royal navy. What the f*** happened "England expects that every man will do his duty"?

Not that there is something new in that. Throughout its history it generally took a Scott to command ships flying the Union Jack for them to show some guts.

Plenty of examples to that starting with Admiral Cochrane and finishing with the now forgotten scottish school teacher called back from the reserve who disobeyed Lord "do not do it" Dudley orders to abandon defenceless the PQ 17 convoy in World War 2 and refused to abandon merchant ships against an incoming combined raid of the Luftvaffe, Denitz subs and the German surface fleet. He stayed, a combined British and American fleet consisting of an aircraft carrier, several heavy cruizers and escort fled.

Oh well, I guess the times have not changed since "Do not do it" Dudley. Sad. That is all that has to be said about it. Really sad.

Me coat.

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Paris Hilton

So

So Lloyds special maritime multi tasking/ multilingual security consultants section outfitted mostly with clerks hired from assorted military service units with fancy initials like SAS , SBS , DGS and so on are very busy bodies these days then , much like socialites today .

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Happy

My Favourite Somali Pirate Story

OK, so it's the *only* Somali pirate story I know, and it's short:

Apparently the Americans are a little less reticent about the use of force than are the Royal Navy. Once, as a US Destroyer closed on a pirate vessel, said vessel displayed a little spunk, albeit accompanied by a large dose of stupidity - They fired an RPG at the destroyer. The Yanks promptly arrested the pirates anyway.

In case anyone doesn't get teh funny of this: They fired an RPG at a Destroyer!

They'd have had better luck shooting a spitball against a charging rhinocerous! All they achieved was to annoy some poor sod who had to spend all of five minutes cleaning off the smudge.

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Pirate

You should have published this on last week's 'talk like a pirate day'

Make the vermin walk the plank after introducing them to the cat o' nine tails.

Between this and the woman soldier who's suing the army for £400,000 for being called names, you have to wonder what's coming next... orders not to shoot at the enemy in case they sue or because it's a breach of their health and safety rules?!

Surely, if they can't capture them, they can comply with government guidelines simply by blasting them out of the water.

Nelson would be turning in his barrel.

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Happy

Best subheading ever

I lol'd on the train, still grinning. Article was good as ever Lewis, keep em coming.

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Coat

OMG

So if the RN is to do nothing...just whats the point of us taxpayers paying for them to actually be there then? It would be cheaper have the RN patrol the waters off the Isle of Wight in Mirror Dinghy's and blow soap bubbles at passing seagulls.

Just when you think HMG cannot get any more sheeet they go and surpass themselves.

Where's the Icon for I want to kill the lot of them useless fecktards in HMG and slink off hanging my head in shame at the ar5e my country has become. Almost makes you consider voting for the BNP...I'm that fecked off. Maggie wouldn't have issued such a stupid order. She sank the Belgrano not waved a hanky at it like Nu Liars would.

Gordoom McSnot-Gobbler needs replacing with a more effective cardboard cut out.

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Bronze badge

Human rights excuses

Though I agree that the navy shouldn't be forced to be limp-wristed, there is another dimension to the situation. As a comment on the Times article, which Lewis references, points out:

"Many Somalis see the pirates almost as heroes protecting their waters from pillaging by EU and Asian fishing fleets and the dumping of toxic waste."

Had you been a fisherman and seen most of your potential catch sold off by a bunch of politicians and businessmen who then grew rich and fat on the proceeds, while destroying your livelihood, what would you do? Is it wrong to fight back? Quite often when people are ripped off they see little option but to redress the balance by conducting a rip-off themselves.

Whether or not piracy can be condoned, the question does arise of who is doing the plundering. It can't be much fun to be an officer in situations where the 'dissent' you are called on to put down may seem to have more justification than some of the unjustness in which your country has co-operated.

What's the tradition here? Might is right or British fair play for all?

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Pirate

Government Interference again

I grew up near Portsmouth, I've dated an Admirals daughter, and numbered members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines past and present amongst my friends and drinking companions, and this wishy washy Government interference digusts me. But they've been doing it for a long time now.

The Senior Service was the largest and most respected Navy in the world. Its also our frontline defence. So why is it for years we've struggled to fill ships with fuel and munitions, let alone get them out. Because the Government doesn't seem to think that our armed Forces are important. We have two new super carriers going to be built, with 50+ JSF's on each. Why don't we have more ?? Why are the number of Frigates and Destroyers we have shrinking in number ?? Because of the Government.

We need more ships, more aircraft, and more people in the Navy. These all create jobs, their support businesses create jobs. And most importantly we need them as we take on more and more UN and NATO work, We can't fulfill these global responsibilities with a wishy washy Government and Home Office that tells the Senior Service to go softly softly with Pirates.

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