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US Hopes to Set Piracy Precedent With Polaris Case

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[Here's a teaser of a story we'll be running tomorrow morning on Military.com]

The U.S. Coast Guard is using the recent capture of seven pirates in the Gulf of Aden as a test case of how to pursue swashbucklers worldwide and submit them to international courts.

According to key officials with the Coast Guard, maritime security experts and military commanders are examining a variety of ways to secure ships transiting through the East African waters and provide some semblance of order the largely lawless region between Yemen and Somalia.

"We're focused on providing what we call a 'consequence delivery system,' " said Capt. Chuck Michel, head of the Coast Guard's office of Maritime and International Law. "In the absence of the territorial sovereign standing up, what we're trying to set up is some kind of legal mechanism to make it more painful for the pirates to actually go out and do their activities."

Michel said the capture by the Navy of seven pirates who tried to take over the Marshall Islands-flagged MV Polaris Feb. 11 is a "test run" of the mechanism that the U.S. military would use in the future to deter more piracy.

"The whole follow-on train that follows once you grab these individuals to actually getting them behind bars is an excruciating process," Michel added during a Feb. 17 interview with military bloggers.

Also, we plan to have Jake Allen from The Combat Operator speak with us for Episode 3 of "Boots on the Ground" about piracy and security, as well as the recent name change from Blackwater Worldwide to Xe. We're scheduled for a Talkshoe live podcast at 10:30 EST tomorrow. Please tune in.

-- Christian

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