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US media hail US captain's rescue from pirates

world Updated: Apr 13, 2009 10:42 IST

AFP
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US media on Monday hailed the rescue of US merchant marine captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates, but urged more forceful action to end piracy near the Horn of Africa.

"The Easter on Sunday rescue of cargo ship Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates is a tribute to his personal bravery and the skill and steel nerves of the US Navy," The Wall Street Journal wrote in an editorial.

"Now the Obama administration has an obligation to punish and deter these lawless raiders so they'll never again risk taking a US-flagged ship or an American crew," the newspaper said.

The conservative daily said that Somali pirates were turning the high seas into "a state of anarchy not seen in a century or more.

"They'll continue to terrorize innocents until what we call the 'civilized world' demonstrates that they will suffer the same fate as the pirates who made the mistake of kidnapping Captain Phillips," the paper concluded.

Former senior defense official Fred Ikle, now a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post that it was "a scandal" that Somali pirates continue to routinely operate with impunity around the Horn of Africa.

Ikle calls for arming merchant ship crews, or at least the captain and the most experienced and reliable officers on board.

"The international right of self-defense would also justify an inspection and quarantine regime off the coast of Somalia to seize and destroy all vessels that are found to be engaged in piracy," Ikle went on to say.

"Furthermore, the UN Security Council should prohibit all ransom payments," he continued. "If the crew of an attacked ship were held hostage, the Security Council could authorize a military blockade of Somalia until the hostages were released."