Somali pirates seize Turkish ore freighter

Five other attacks were foiled this week, authorities say. But a unified international response could be difficult.

Somali pirates captured a Turkish freighter in one of a spate of pirate attacks this week. Although most of the attacks were foiled, the high number of raids highlight the pirates' increasing danger in the Gulf of Aden, on Africa's east coast between Somalia and Yemen.

The Associated Press (AP) reports that the freighter, the MV Yasa Neslihan, was seized Wednesday, despite NATO's increased naval presence in the region, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

The AP adds that the US Navy said Wednesday pirates launched five other attacks recently, but all were foiled.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) writes that in one of those attacks, a Spanish patrol plane fended off a pair of pirate launches, which were attempting to reach a Panamanian oil tanker, by throwing smoke bombs at them.

The International Maritime Bureau, which has a center dedicated to monitoring high seas piracy, called for international forces to launch pre-emptive strikes against the Somali pirates' "mother ships" in order to stymie their attacks, reports Reuters.

A commentary in The Star of South Africa calls out the Egyptian and South African navies in particular, arguing that those two nations "have the naval capability to do something useful, have a very real interest in safe sea routes, and yet have failed to do anything at all...."

Many nations have committed forces to the region since September, when pirates seized a Ukrainian cargo ship carrying tanks to Kenya. But even with sufficient naval power committed to the region, there are other complications in stopping the pirate threat. German magazine Der Spiegel writes that despite the EU's commitment of ships to police the area, it is unclear how effective those ships can be due to the jurisdictional ambiguities of maritime law.

The New York Times reports that the Danish navy has encountered similar issues.

The Times writes that piracy is rife in Somalia due to its sheer profitability. While "countless children are starving and people are killing one another in the streets of Mogadishu, the capital, for a handful of grain," engaging in piracy can move Somalis to the top of society.

The Los Angeles Times writes that fishing villages such as Hobyo, 300 miles north of Mogadishu, have turned to pirate dens as resources have dried up due to encroaching foreign fishing and pollution.

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