Sunday, April 12, 2009

Changing the Game

The profit-loss calculation for piracy has taken a sudden turn for the worse if you view piracy as a way to make million dollar profits for yourself and your friends.

My own guess got it half right. I figured the captain would be rescued by Navy SEALS, but thought it would be done from an underwater assault - but sniper work got a lot easier when the lifeboat was taken under tow.

It has also been interesting to see how the White House played this. No "Cowboy George" riding to the rescue and strutting in triumph. So far, the Obama White House seems happy to let the military take all of the credit, right down to making the call of when to shoot. This has also put all of the media coverage where it belongs, which is on the men who did a difficult job without error.

The NBC graphics folks sure botched it, however. They had an animation of a shadowy group firing multiple rounds from automatic weapons, leaving me laughing. Come on. I've seen the program about sniper school on the History Channel. I had little doubt that three men fired as one. Snipers only need one bullet, particularly at a range set by an 82 foot tow rope - less than 30 meters.

Some commentator said the pirates will be unlikely to make the same mistake again, as they will learn from the tactics employed to free the captain. Other than not go after an American flag vessel, what exactly would they do differently? Without hostages, they die or go to prison, and killing their hostages, as one pirate said they will do in the future, will result in death or prison when the ship is retaken by force. Not many good choices, since hostages have been their only way to defend their ships.

Time will tell, but the game has definitely changed.


The Thomas said...

Check out the pictures of the Mærsk Alabama "lifeboat" at Instapinch, its definitely designed for open sea, bad weather conditions.

None of this stuck in the middle of the ocean in an open boat like the Titanic.

Doctor Pion said...

Thanks for that link, which includes the first picture I've seen of the bullet holes. Even with that sliding window closed, that is a pretty tight grouping of shots on the starboard side of the "pilot house". The bad guys were definitely too close together.

I thought the media did a really good job showing everyone what a modern life boat looks like. I had been expecting a SEAL assault through the back door and front hatch with gas based on what had been shown of what it is like inside.

If it had been an open boat, the pirates would have been gone a lot earlier.