Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close-Call

15.12.08

Categorie: Africa, Axe vs. Pirates, Naval, Piracy |

kennedy-mwale-dec-9-2008-mombasa.JPG

Kennedy Mwale, 32, pictured, is a freelance tour guide in Mombasa’s old port, a claustrophobic melange of Arab and Portuguese architecture with one small stone pier. A week ago Monday, three small cargo ships were tied to the pier. Scores of shirtless stevedores lugged bags of cement and tossed them into the ships’ holds. The stevedores might earn a couple dollars for hours of hot, back-breaking work. That’s just enough to survive in Mombasa. Mwale, by comparison, earns up to $15 for an hour tour.

Five years ago, Mwale escaped Mombasa’s maritime economy. He had been a fisherman, plying the waters as far north as the Somali borderland in search of tuna and other big fish. But with piracy taking root in lawless Somalia, fishing and sea trade were becoming riskier and less profitable by the day for the small operators. One of the final straws for Mwale was a close call, in 2002, with a band of 14 pirates that sneaked up on the 11-man refrigerator ship where Mwale was the chief engineer. (The reefer ships follow behind the fishing boats to store fresh catches.)

They came at night, as the ship was anchored near Mdoa island, surprising the sleeping crew and their one Somali bodyguard. When the pirates failed to wrestle away the guard’s rifle, a standoff ensued. The pirates demanded the crew’s money and possessions, plus all the diesel fuel stored on deck — and wanted the ship sailed to the Somali port of Kismayo. If the crew didn’t comply, the pirates would start killing people, they said. The crew coughed up all their cash — just a few dollars for most, but around $700 in the case of the ship owner’s secretary — and handed over possessions including a new boom box stereo. But the captain refused to give up the diesel or to sail to Kismayo. He would not allow the ship to enter in to captivity, nor strand it at sea. The captain had only as much leverage as was afforded by his one armed guard, but it was enough. The pirates compromised. They agreed to go to Mdoa and continue negotiations.

That apparently was a clever bit of strategizing on the captain’s part, for he had called at Mdoa earlier, seeking the ruling committee’s permission to fish Somali waters. The committee had endorsed the expedition. And when the pirates rolled in with Mwale and his shipmates in tow, the committee immediately branded the captors criminals and had the local militia seize their weapons and return everything they’d stolen. They gave back the boom box, but denied taking anything else. The penniless Kenyans now were free to sail home.

This story has a happy-ish ending, but for Mwale, it was another near-miss in a career full of them. Every day the arguments mounted against working at sea. Already, three of his friends had been killed by sharks. And with piracy making profitable fishing a dicey venture, Mwale soon decided he’d had enough. He went ashore, for good, and for five years was unemployed on Mombasa’s sweltering streets.

Today, as a tour guide, he survives, and surely does better than many of the city’s 700,000 residents. Not that freelancing for curious tourists is an easy way to make a living: it’s just a Hell of a lot safer than grappling with Somali pirates.

(Photo: me)

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8 Responses to “Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close-Call”

  1. 111 says:

    Sibghatullah Mujadidi

    Religious leader, warlord, leader of the Afghan National Liberation Front
    Born: 1929

    A graduate of al-Azhar University in Cairo, Mujadidi served three years in jail in the 1960s for protesting the pro-Soviet policies of the last Shah. In 1979 he founded the Afghan National Liberation Front. In 1992, after the mujahideen captured Kabul, he served as acting president of a unity government for three months.
    HERE IS THE 2ND HALF OF THAT DATA. SAYS THE DYNAMITE DID NOT EVEN HAVE A DETONATOR IN IT. NOT REAL SPECIFIC TO A PROFESSIONAL ATTACK.

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  3. [...] Related: Inside the Navy’s prison ship Video: pirates hijack help World mobilizes to fight pirates Why robots can’t fight pirates Navy’s new “soft” pirate-fighters Pirate-fighting ship’s big problems Japan, South Korea team up to fight pirates Establishing a Somali coast guard? Coast Guard’s tips for beating pirates U.S. Navy Coordinates Counter-Piracy Fleets Pirates Not Just the Stuff of Legends How Pirates Get Paid Axe vs. Pirates: Convoy! Axe vs. Pirates: “I Fear No One but God.” Chinese Seafarers Kick Pirate Ass Kenyan Navy Fires Rhetorical Broadside against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Everyday Kenyans Suffering Effects of Somali Piracy Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection Piracy Threatens Somalia Aid Effort Axe vs. Pirates: The Panic Button Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close Call Somali Piracy Puts Squeeze on Kenyans Mombasa Looks Like This E.U. Deploying Vessel against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Welcome to Mombasa No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  4. [...] Related: Coasties and Marines join Navy pirate-fighters Inside the Navy’s prison ship Video: pirates hijack help World mobilizes to fight pirates Why robots can’t fight pirates Navy’s new “soft” pirate-fighters Pirate-fighting ship’s big problems Japan, South Korea team up to fight pirates Establishing a Somali coast guard? Coast Guard’s tips for beating pirates U.S. Navy Coordinates Counter-Piracy Fleets Pirates Not Just the Stuff of Legends How Pirates Get Paid Axe vs. Pirates: Convoy! Axe vs. Pirates: “I Fear No One but God.” Chinese Seafarers Kick Pirate Ass Kenyan Navy Fires Rhetorical Broadside against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Everyday Kenyans Suffering Effects of Somali Piracy Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection Piracy Threatens Somalia Aid Effort Axe vs. Pirates: The Panic Button Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close Call Somali Piracy Puts Squeeze on Kenyans Mombasa Looks Like This E.U. Deploying Vessel against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Welcome to Mombasa No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  5. [...] Related: Coast Guard: Prosecuting Pirates an “Excruciating Process” Skewz: On the Trail of Pirates C-SPAN: Somali Piracy Overview Kenyan navy sits out pirate fight Coasties and Marines join Navy pirate-fighters Inside the Navy’s prison ship Video: pirates hijack help World mobilizes to fight pirates Why robots can’t fight pirates Navy’s new “soft” pirate-fighters Pirate-fighting ship’s big problems Japan, South Korea team up to fight pirates Establishing a Somali coast guard? Coast Guard’s tips for beating pirates U.S. Navy Coordinates Counter-Piracy Fleets Pirates Not Just the Stuff of Legends How Pirates Get Paid Axe vs. Pirates: Convoy! Axe vs. Pirates: “I Fear No One but God.” Chinese Seafarers Kick Pirate Ass Kenyan Navy Fires Rhetorical Broadside against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Everyday Kenyans Suffering Effects of Somali Piracy Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection Piracy Threatens Somalia Aid Effort Axe vs. Pirates: The Panic Button Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close Call Somali Piracy Puts Squeeze on Kenyans Mombasa Looks Like This E.U. Deploying Vessel against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Welcome to Mombasa 1 Comment so far Leave a comment [...]

  6. [...] Related: U.S. Navy Uses “Smart Power” to Fight Pirates Exclusive Video: MV Faina Released by Pirates Coast Guard: Prosecuting Pirates an “Excruciating Process” Skewz: On the Trail of Pirates C-SPAN: Somali Piracy Overview Kenyan navy sits out pirate fight Coasties and Marines join Navy pirate-fighters Inside the Navy’s prison ship Video: pirates hijack help World mobilizes to fight pirates Why robots can’t fight pirates Navy’s new “soft” pirate-fighters Pirate-fighting ship’s big problems Japan, South Korea team up to fight pirates Establishing a Somali coast guard? Coast Guard’s tips for beating pirates U.S. Navy Coordinates Counter-Piracy Fleets Pirates Not Just the Stuff of Legends How Pirates Get Paid Axe vs. Pirates: Convoy! Axe vs. Pirates: “I Fear No One but God.” Chinese Seafarers Kick Pirate Ass Kenyan Navy Fires Rhetorical Broadside against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Everyday Kenyans Suffering Effects of Somali Piracy Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection Piracy Threatens Somalia Aid Effort Axe vs. Pirates: The Panic Button Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close Call Somali Piracy Puts Squeeze on Kenyans Mombasa Looks Like This E.U. Deploying Vessel against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Welcome to Mombasa No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  7. [...] Related: Wired.co.uk: Beating Somali Pirates at Their Own Game Piracy War Escalates: Korean Seafarer Shot in Attack Video: How the Littoral Combat Ship Will Fight Pirates Offiziere.ch: Pirate Attacks Decline, but for How Long? Proceedings: Defeating Somali Pirates on Land Video: Kennedy Mwale’s Big (Pirate) Adventure Who Watches the (Pirate) Watchers? U.S. Navy Uses “Smart Power” to Fight Pirates Exclusive Video: MV Faina Released by Pirates Coast Guard: Prosecuting Pirates an “Excruciating Process” Skewz: On the Trail of Pirates C-SPAN: Somali Piracy Overview Kenyan navy sits out pirate fight Coasties and Marines join Navy pirate-fighters Inside the Navy’s prison ship Video: pirates hijack help World mobilizes to fight pirates Why robots can’t fight pirates Navy’s new “soft” pirate-fighters Pirate-fighting ship’s big problems Japan, South Korea team up to fight pirates Establishing a Somali coast guard? Coast Guard’s tips for beating pirates U.S. Navy Coordinates Counter-Piracy Fleets Pirates Not Just the Stuff of Legends How Pirates Get Paid Axe vs. Pirates: Convoy! Axe vs. Pirates: “I Fear No One but God.” Chinese Seafarers Kick Pirate Ass Kenyan Navy Fires Rhetorical Broadside against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Everyday Kenyans Suffering Effects of Somali Piracy Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection Piracy Threatens Somalia Aid Effort Axe vs. Pirates: The Panic Button Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close Call Somali Piracy Puts Squeeze on Kenyans Mombasa Looks Like This E.U. Deploying Vessel against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Welcome to Mombasa No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  8. [...] Related: Esquire.com: Five Pirated Crews Who Didn’t Fare as Well as the Americans Pirates Seize Ship with U.S. Crew Wired.co.uk: Beating Somali Pirates at Their Own Game Piracy War Escalates: Korean Seafarer Shot in Attack Video: How the Littoral Combat Ship Will Fight Pirates Offiziere.ch: Pirate Attacks Decline, but for How Long? Proceedings: Defeating Somali Pirates on Land Video: Kennedy Mwale’s Big (Pirate) Adventure Who Watches the (Pirate) Watchers? U.S. Navy Uses “Smart Power” to Fight Pirates Exclusive Video: MV Faina Released by Pirates Coast Guard: Prosecuting Pirates an “Excruciating Process” Skewz: On the Trail of Pirates C-SPAN: Somali Piracy Overview Kenyan navy sits out pirate fight Coasties and Marines join Navy pirate-fighters Inside the Navy’s prison ship Video: pirates hijack help World mobilizes to fight pirates Why robots can’t fight pirates Navy’s new “soft” pirate-fighters Pirate-fighting ship’s big problems Japan, South Korea team up to fight pirates Establishing a Somali coast guard? Coast Guard’s tips for beating pirates U.S. Navy Coordinates Counter-Piracy Fleets Pirates Not Just the Stuff of Legends How Pirates Get Paid Axe vs. Pirates: Convoy! Axe vs. Pirates: “I Fear No One but God.” Chinese Seafarers Kick Pirate Ass Kenyan Navy Fires Rhetorical Broadside against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Everyday Kenyans Suffering Effects of Somali Piracy Axe vs. Pirates: The Kenya Connection Piracy Threatens Somalia Aid Effort Axe vs. Pirates: The Panic Button Axe vs. Pirates: Scared onto Land by Pirate Close Call Somali Piracy Puts Squeeze on Kenyans Mombasa Looks Like This E.U. Deploying Vessel against Pirates Axe vs. Pirates: Welcome to Mombasa No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

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