Thursday, November 20, 2008

Paying the ransom

Its been a busy day or two, so little blogging. But hearing the gap year student on the radio taking a strong and principled stand against paying ransoms ( specifically relating to the sailors kidnapped with the oil tanker of Kenya and now in Somalia ) just sounded too hypocritical and / or naive to let go.

Maybe Mr Miliband hasn't been aware of this but in some parts of the world kidnap and ransoms are big business.

As someone who has worked in the oil industry and travelled to places that involve some risk of this I can tell you its not far from your mind. Indeed I've refused to go on a job where I was asking myself the question of would the boss pay my ransom or would he have a rush of Mr Miliband's principles and decide to make a stand. I have a young family and have to think these things through.

Many companies have kidnap insurance and people to sort these things out. Its a cost and risk of doing business in some parts of the world.

Its just misleading to say we don't pay ransoms - we do. It might not be the government paying, but one way or another it usually happens.

And if it didn't then more skilled engineers would take the same decision I once did and just refuse to work in some locations. The result would be the Chinese and others would take over the business and Gordon Brown would have even less tax income to play with.

I'm not saying its right - I'm just saying the risk is all piled onto a few people when the politicians decide to make a stand.

Lets not forget how the Royal Navy behaved when a few of the sailors lots their ipods in the Gulf. I don't think Mr Miliband's Government are the people to give lectures.

Of course kidnapping is wrong and must be discouraged, but that is often a symptom of wider dysfunction in the states where it occurs. Deal with those issues and the police can then deal with the kidnapping.

Mr Miliband would do better to make credible statements, rather than ones to play on the radio.


Letters From A Tory said...

Miliband is the most embarrassing foreign secretary in living memory. Every time an international crisis occurs, his responses are limp at best. Kenya, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Burma, Somalian pirates etc etc.

killemallletgodsortemout said...

Excuse my naivety, but can't ship's Masters just blow the pirates out of the water, and stop all this nonsense before it begins?
Isn't this what the US Navy woman was advocating the other day?

Saw Miliband pontificating on something or other last night. What a complete lightweight!
Pitiful was the word that came to mind.

Man in a Shed said...

That would appear to be the Indian Navy's approach to these things.

The problem is I imagine that once you try to kill someone you'd better do it quickly or they will kill you ( and just ransom the ship ). Merchant sailors don't sign up for that sort of thing.

You need a watch and armed men - on a hydrocarbon carrying supper tanker ( not a great idea ).

However I imagine some of the Navies involved are probably considering sting operations of just the sort you describe.