Although the French effort to free the Lemaçon family was unsuccessful, at least the effort was made, though it may have been ill-planned or not well carried out. And the hostage family in that case entered the waters of that region knowing the risks. There had been a previous incident involving a luxury yacht seized by the pirates last year, though that fact did not deter the Lemaçons
They wanted to visit Kenya and the “spice island” of Zanzibar off the Tanzanian coast. They had also spoken of travelling on to the Seychelles.
In Egypt, while crossing the Suez Canal, they happened to bump into a French couple whose yacht, the 50ft Carré d’As, had been seized during September 2008 by pirates who had demanded a ransom of ¤1m (then £800,000). The couple were freed in a daring rescue mission by French frogmen in which one pirate was killed and six were captured. No ransom was paid.
Sarkozy had also ordered an assault to free the 30 crew members — including 22 French citizens — of the Ponant, a 289ft luxury yacht which had been seized the previous April with no passengers on board.
In that operation, French troops later captured six of the 12 pirates after pursuing them ashore in helicopters and recovered some of the $2m (then £1m) ransom. All the captured pirates have been taken to Paris where they are awaiting trial. The latest three to be captured will soon join them.
The Lemaçons were not to be deterred by the risks. In their blog they described the other couple’s account of being held hostage as “impressive” but also “reassuring” because it was clear to them that the pirates were motivated more by money than any interest in harming westerners.
“The danger exists,” Lemaçon wrote in his blog, “and it has probably grown in the course of these past few months, but the ocean is vast. The pirates must not be allowed to annihilate our dream.”
This seems to be yet another example of liberal White obliviousness to reality; their 'dream' took precedence over prudence and safety. I suppose if adults want to take such risks, they might have a right to their rashness, provided they don't expect to be rescued when they run into trouble, but when the whole family is brought along, that seems foolish.
As for our countryman Richard Phillips, our Justice Department speaks reassuringly about being willing to 'prosecute' the pirates, in other words, to treat them as regular criminals, if and when they are ever apprehended. This kind of talk is not exactly confidence-inspiring.
The incident described in the CBS News story is rather demoralizing; our Navy boats are being chased off by a few thugs, and our countryman sits captive. I see little sign that the current regime feels inclined to do anything much to free him. It appears politics are taking priority over thee well-being of Captain Phillips.
A sidenote: it's somewhat ironic that the USS Bainbridge, mentioned in the news stories, is named after William Bainbridge, who fought the Barbary pirates in the Second Barbary War.
Meantime, I will add my prayers to those of the good people of Underhill for the safe return of Captain Phillips.