3 Mar 2012

War in the Indian Ocean

Enrica Lexie: Have we asked all the relevant questions?

Any modern merchant ship is a well trained and disciplined organisation – not because sailors are necessarily more enlightened, but because their survival depends on it (between PSCs and Audits and Drills and Logs and Mother nature).

By very definition, discipline is a qualitative phrase but that quality to it is refined by repetitive enforced recurrence. Further, there is one phrase drilled into the psyche of a seagoing professional – “Call the captain” and represents the hierarchical nature of the merchantship order. There is no action, diversion, role play, ever.... without the ship’s master being informed (as goes the concept). [The exceptions (even if it be an extended drinking party or fixing a fused nav light) are always with the ‘trepidation’ that the captain oughta've been informed.]

Enrica Lexie is an Italian merchant tanker ship and in Feb 2012 allegedly fired upon and killed two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala. This incident has caused much international debate and has raised various concerns on armed gumen on foreign going ships. This case is discussed in highlights in the following paragraphs.

See Figure: White arrow depicts typical ship route from Singapore towards Red Sea, entering from the Gulf of Aden. The red cross is ~20 miles off the sea side town of Alappuzha where the killing occurred on 15-Feb-2012; and ~200 miles off the typical route.