Miners supporting pirates with cash payments. Seems hard to believe. But the news is out that an Australian mining company is doing just that. Read on.
Books on pirates glorify the romance of the free spirit and the rough life. Movies and musicals do likewise. Recall the wonderful Pirates of Penzance, in which it turns out that all the pirates are peers of the British Empire “who have done wrong” and so are pardoned to marry the Major-General’s daughters.
The reality off the coast of Somalia does not seem quite as romantic. My son who floated around on a Navy ship in the area assures me the Navy could wipe out the pirates fast if it were not for the reticence of the insurance companies who understandably want to minimize their losses, preferring to pay the ransoms. Maybe the pirates are Robin Hood in disguise afterall—-preying on cautious insurance companies like AIG.
Then just maybe the pirates are peers of the Somalia empire. Consider this great story that Australian mining companies are falling over themselves to pay money to the pirates to get mining rights in the lands of the pirates. I quote:
An Australian mining company has paid millions of dollars in controversial fees to Somali rebels responsible for a surge in international piracy, including the hijacking this week of an oil supertanker.
Since 2005, oil explorer Range Resources has paid the disputed government of the Puntland State of Somalia more than $US6 million ($A9.3 million) for resource rights to the region.
Puntland’s ruling clans are suspected of controlling piracy off the coast of Somalia — including the pirates who this week seized control of a Saudi-owned oil tanker, the Sirius Star, which is carrying a cargo of oil worth at least $US100 million.
I cannot but wonder if there is reality in this story. It does illustrate, regardless, that just because you profess to be a miner, you are not necessarily honorable. It reminds us once again that each jurisdiction makes its own rules and for sure there will be somebody who is prepared to come in a play the game. And even call themselves miners if needed to get the cash cow in their stable or pirate the resources to float away scott-free on the high seas.