Monday, February 1, 2010

UK Refuses to Pay Ransom to Somali Pirates

The Foreign Office has refused to meet a ransom demand of $7million to free a British couple held hostage by Somali pirates. BBC News quotes a Foreign Office spokesperson:
"Although there is no UK law against third parties paying ransoms, we counsel against them doing so because we believe that making concessions only encourages future kidnaps. This is why the government does not make or facilitate substantive concessions to hostage takers."

More details about the couple:
The Chandlers, of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, were captured while sailing towards Tanzania on 23 October. The latest news of the couple emerged on Sunday. They spoke of their ordeal through a news agency which had been allowed to send a photographer when they were examined by a doctor last week. The Chandlers said they were being badly treated and were in urgent need of help.
The pirates have threatened to kill the couple if their demands for $7m (£4.4m) are not met.

An external agency is campaigning for the government to pay the ransom money:
Nick Davis, chairman of the Merchant Maritime Warfare Centre, which provides anti-piracy advice and training, said the Chandlers' captors were running out of patience. "For the amounts involved, I don't think it's worth trying to bring anyone to justice. We just need to get Paul and Rachel home. "We are the people who know what needs to be done, we can do it, we just need to be allowed to do it."

I've written previously about the need for strong military measures against Somali pirates. The lure of easy money will continue to incentivise more Somalis to commit piratical acts unless something is done fast.