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calendar   Thursday - May 08, 2008

Not Your Usual Aarrgh, Pirates

A suburban London man said he will not take down a pirate flag he erected for his daughter’s birthday party, despite threats of legal action.

David Waterman, 41, a firefighter from the London suburb of Ashtead, said he purchased a $10 Jolly Roger and put it up outside his house for his daughter’s pirate-themed eighth birthday party, The Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

However, he said he left the flag flying after the party, and seven weeks later, on April 21, he received a letter from a Mole Valley council official warning him that he had seven days to remove the flag before he would face legal action.

“I find it ridiculous that the council are fighting me over this,” Waterman said. “It’s a 5 pound ($10) flag, not hurting anyone, and they’re probably spending hundreds of pounds of our cash getting me to take it down. That could be spent on improving the local area it’s disgraceful.”

Local laws only give homeowners the right to fly the country’s flag or a flag advertising a business.

A Mole Valley council spokesman said officials have not yet decided whether to pursue legal actions against Waterman. However, the firefighter said he will not back down from the issue.

“This is a point of principle and I’m standing firm,” he said.

When governments set rules that manage even the smallest aspects of your life, like this case, then you’ve got too damn much government. That they then go and enforce such pissant laws shows that they are focused on the wrond set of priorities. Here in the Land of The (mostly) Free, an entire industry has sprung up in the last decade or so, selling all sorts of seasonal and thematic flags for people to fly, either from poles or from the front of their homes. Flags for all reasons, from your favorite sports team to your children’s birthday parties. It’s a basic form of expression. So sad that some anal retentive bunch of twits have got their knickers in a twist over something so innocuous. The local laws are wrong. Period. Stick to your guns Mr. Waterman; and stand by to repel boarders! Aargh.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/08/2008 at 09:40 PM   
Filed Under: • Pirates, aarrgh!Stoopid-People •  
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calendar   Thursday - May 01, 2008

Even better than Aarrgh, Pirates!

Sunken Treasure Ship Found

WINDHOEK, Namibia (AP) —Geologists searching for diamonds have stumbled upon a shipwreck loaded with gold and silver coins, ivory and cannons to fend off pirates.

That must have been a fun report to give to management. “So, did you find diamonds?” “No sir, we found gold!” “Damn, there goes the 1Q profit margin.”

An archaelogist told The Associated Press on Thursday that the ship dates back some 500 years—around the time Vasco de Gama and Columbus were plying the waters of the New World.

The Namdeb Diamond Corp. had reported Wednesday that geologists discovered the shipwreck on April 1 during a search for diamonds off Namibia’s southwest coast.

Astrolabes and other period navigational tools were discovered.
...
Spanish gold coins, Portuguese silver coins minted in the late 1400s or early 1500s were found, as well as dividers used for measuring distance on a map during navigation.

The reverse of the some of the gold coins depicts Ferdinand and Isabella, two Spanish monarchs of the time.

Awesomely cool. I wonder if they will ever be able to figure out which ship it was, and whether it was a pirate vessel or not. It doesn’t matter if the haul here is as big as that of the Atocha that Mel Fisher found some years ago, this is a boyhood dream come true. Buried treasure! Aarrgh! 


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/01/2008 at 03:45 PM   
Filed Under: • Pirates, aarrgh! •  
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calendar   Tuesday - April 22, 2008

Don’t tell me this is going to be a DAILY column!!

Arrgh, Pirates! Tuesday Edition

Now Somalia has joined the Get The Pirates game? But, but, how, since they usually ARE the pirates?  tongue wink

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Security forces in northern Somalia stormed a hijacked ship carrying food Tuesday, rescuing hostages and arresting seven pirates, officials said. The seizure was the latest in a spate of pirate attacks off the increasingly lawless Somali coast.

The Dubai-flagged ship, called the al-Khaleej, originated from the United Arab Emirates and was seized Monday, said Abdullahi Said Samatar, security affairs minister in Somalia’s semiautonomous Puntland region. It was not immediately clear how many people were on board. Puntland officials announced it had been seized only after the boat was rescued.

“Our forces rescued a small commercial boat hijacked on Monday off the coast of Bossaso town,” Samatar told The Associated Press. “Three were injured in the operation and seven others will be brought to justice.”

Piracy is rampant along Somalia’s 1,880-mile coast, which is the longest in Africa and near key shipping routes connecting the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean

Hmmm. A real rescue of a real hijacking, or just some Show ‘n Tell to get the UN off their backs? Because the UN is about to be on their backs - France and USA are pushing for a big anti-piracy resolution that would enable much stronger and swifter retaliations against pirates. Glad to hear this.

The push by key U.N. Security Council nations to tackle the issue follows an alarming increase in piracy by well-armed bandits, prompting international demands for better protection of the world’s shipping lanes.
...
According to a report from the International Maritime Bureau, piracy is on the rise, with seafarers suffering 49 attacks between January and March — up 20 percent from the period last year.

Pirates boarded 36 vessels and hijacked one, the report said. Seven crew members were taken hostage, six were kidnapped, three were killed and one went missing. Most of the attackers were heavily armed with guns or knives, the report said.

Nigeria ranked as the No. 1 trouble spot. India and the Gulf of Aden tied for second, with each reporting five incidents. Nearly two dozen piracy incidents were recorded off the coast of Somalia since January 2007, according to Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based Seafarers Assistance Program.

image imageThis is one of the pirates that Somalia is claiming to have captured. I like the rolled up pants leg ... it’s like he’s getting ready to have his wooden leg installed. Aarrgh that one, matey. (does anybody know what the shar’ia punishment for piracy is? One leg, one arm? How about one head, so they can’t even think about being repeat offenders?)


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/22/2008 at 01:52 PM   
Filed Under: • Pirates, aarrgh! •  
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calendar   Monday - April 21, 2008

Your Weekly Arrgh, Pirates!

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Here’s today’s news on the latest misadventures on the high seas. Once again TWICE again we’ve got pirates attacking ships off the coast of Somalia. One got away, one didn’t. I think I might have to make this a regular column; it seems we’ve got something here every single week. I think it might be time to involve the UN. Because you know how amazingly effective they are at solving international crises and bringing the weight of the free world to bear against rogue states and semi-organized groups of thugs. Sure, maybe I’ll live that long, right? In the meantime, this looks like a situation that could be cured by good old fashioned naval gunfire. Sink their ships, raze their villages, drumhead trials for any pirates captured, then hang them. Enough already. A huge amount of the world’s wealth sails past the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. And every country with a navy has ships in the area. It’s time for some multi-national cooperation and some pirate stomping. Arrgh.

An unidentified ship fired on a Japanese oil tanker Monday off the eastern coast of Yemen, leaving a hole from which hundreds of gallons of fuel leaked, the ship’s operator said. No one was injured. The 150,000-ton tanker Takayama was attacked about 270 miles off the coast of Aden in southwestern Yemen while it was heading for Saudi Arabia, its Japanese operator, Nippon Yusen K.K., said in a statement. None of its 23 crew members _ seven Japanese and 16 Filipinos _ was injured, the company said. The tanker had left the South Korean port of Ulsan on April 4. Nippon Yusen spokeswoman Yuko Tsutsui said the attack left a 1-inch hole in the tanker’s stern which was temporarily patched after hundreds of gallons of fuel leaked. She said the tanker was heading to Aden for repairs, and its itinerary could change depending on the extent of the damage.

Yukio Yamashita, a Transport Ministry official in charge of crisis management, said the area is considered prone to pirate attacks. He said the unknown attacker had left the scene.

Kyodo News agency said the tanker was hit by a rocket fired from a small boat.
...

We heard one big boom at first and then we were chased by the group for about an hour,” a crew member told Japanese public broadcaster NHK. “We were attacked on the left and the right sides of the ship at least four times.”

The attack occurred in international waters some 440 kilometres (275 miles) east of the Yemeni port of Aden, Japanese officials said.

“We have received information that the tanker was attacked by a small pirate ship with weapons like rocket launchers,” chief Japanese government spokesman Nobutaka Machimura told reporters.
...
The ship suffered small punctures and leaked a small amount of oil, said Shousuke Hamada, who manages the ship’s operations.

“The tanker felt a big boom at around 4:40am as it was attacked by some kind of firearms. After that, it was attacked on the portside and starboard, about twice on each side, while it made a zigzag escape,” Hamada told a news conference.

MADRID, Spain - Officials say a Spanish fishing boat with a crew of 26 has been hijacked off the coast of Somalia.  The Foreign Ministry says there are no reports of injuries in the seizure Sunday.  The ministry says in a statement issued Sunday night that a Spanish military vessel that was in the general area has been ordered to head toward the scene of the hijacking.

So we’ve got two attacks, and it’s only Monday. What if that rocket had actually gone off? (I’m guessing it was a dud. A 1” hole is not much damage, almost small enough to be caused by plain old bullets. But if the “rocket” (was this an RPG we’re talking about?) had exploded, then it’s likely this small tanker would have gone down in flames.) Is that what’s it’s going to take to focus enough attention on this plague to demand a solution?

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Ok, THIS might be enough to get the powers-that-be to pay some attention:

this morning the 150,000-ton tanker Takayama was attacked about 270 miles off the east coast of Yemen while it was heading for Saudi Arabia causing oil to spike to a record $117.40 a barrel.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/21/2008 at 02:35 PM   
Filed Under: • Pirates, aarrgh! •  
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