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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 18, 2009 at 6:00 AM

Somali pirates

Set realistic bounds, take appropriate action

It is unrealistic to think that we can “mend Somalia” any time soon or, for heaven’s sake, bomb them to fix the piracy problem [“Mend Somalia, end piracy,” editorial, April 14]. We have, unfortunately, a full plate of nation-building with Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

So, while we may not end piracy, we can and should attempt to control it.

First, this is an international problem and issue. The United Nations is the forum. We should introduce and press for the establishment of a security zone with established safe-transit lanes. That will limit the boundaries on a very large chunk of ocean.

Once established, a notice to mariners would be published and would state, in effect, any vessel entering these waters must establish and maintain direct communications and, failing to do so, will be subject to search, seizure and possible hostile action if deemed a threat to free transit.

Second, create a multinational coalition of maritime forces to include surface ships and maritime patrol aircraft with well-defined rules of engagement, the armament and the authority, via the on-scene commander (U.N.), to enforce them.

They must be able to respond in a timely manner. It takes a surface ship many hours to transit 200 nautical miles and minutes for an aircraft to do likewise.

This is doable, appropriate and in the right context of the realities at hand — freedom of

the seas and the greater good of the international community.

— Dave Stromquist, Tacoma

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