Some people still have stories to tell their grandchildren. Just take a look at Hassan Khalil, the owner of an Egyptian fishing vessel – the Momtaz 1 – that had been held captive by Somali pirates for 4 months. Khalil grew frustrated after official negotiations went nowhere, so he travelled to Somalia to negotiate in-person the ransom for his ship and a second captive vessel, the Ahmed Samara. These negotiations also bogged down. But instead of paying an exorbitant ransom, pretending that his lawyers could help him, or hoping for the best, Khalil took matters into his own hands. He bought himself some mercenaries in a nearby Somali town, bribed the pirates to let him come aboard to check on his crew, and with the help of his hired guns and the captive fishermen, retook the vessel. Eight pirates were captured and the rest ended up as fish food.
The maritime industry is spending a fortune on insurance premiums and “nonlethal weapons” like squirt guns and sticky glue, not to mention ransom payments. A few hired guns manning the decks while in dangerous waters would solve the problem, but I guess that would be politically incorrect. Instead, we are incessantly reminded of “the need to build institutions of law and order within Somalia to combat the root causes of piracy,” as if that is a realistic option. Good luck with that.