back to article Royal Navy won't fight pirates 'in case they claim asylum'

Following a recent spate of pirate attacks* off the Horn of Africa, reportedly Her Majesty's Royal Navy has been powerless to act following official concern over possible violations of the buccaneers' human rights - and worries that they might seek asylum in the UK after being captured. The shipping paper Lloyds List first …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You can see their point...

    ...the last thing we need is a bunch of pirates equipped with RN RIBs.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    How much is a house in Somalia these days?

    So if I move to Somalia and rob, pillage and generally make a bloody nuisance of myself HMG will let me get on with it or give me a nice council house, but if I dare to look at dodgy pics in a magazine or on an offshore-based website I can be clapped in irons?

    What is the difference between "Give us your valuables and a ransom and we'll let you go home" and "I'm sorry, I'm only a Pensioner and cannot afford another £60 a month on my council tax"? (For those El Reg readers who cannot tell the difference, and for any fsckwit Government types who have managed to stay awake long enough to read the story AND get to the comments, it's this - one is an old lady from the north of England, the other is either a pirate or a council official depending on what badge he's wearing today...)

    Since the gaols are already too full of those intimidating council tax dodging grannies and depraved speeding motorists who actually have tax and insurance, maybe HMG's policy is the right one.

    Fill the theiving scum with lead and let 'em seek asylum with Davy Jones...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pirate Asylum Seekers?

    Don't bring them on board to take them to the UK. Just sink their boat and let them swim home - problem solved

  4. fajensen

    Navy: A sad bunch of Sissy's!

    The navy should just shoot the bastards - If any pirate happen to claim asylum they should bloody well shoot them again!

  5. NB

    what a crock

    of shit. Keelhaul the limp-wristed office dwelling pansies that made this decision!

  6. NT


    I don't normally go for the BBC 'Have Your Say' Daily Mail approach, but this seems a bit of a non-issue to me.

    Rather than worrying that the pirates might seek asylum if captured, could the Navy not... well... shoot them and sink their ships?

    "Oh dear, Admiral, you know what? We were just going to invite them on board and offer them a cup of tea and a biscuit, but would you believe, just as we're coming about, their poor ship exploded and sank. Terrible thing, really. The humanity, etc. Mind you, the ship was in a terrible condition as we passed - surprised they put to sea in it at all, really. All those holes in the side, and fires kept starting all over it for some reason. No, no survivors that we could find. We looked. We raked... I mean combed... the area until we ran out of am... until it went dark, and not a sign."

    Seriously, I know the tradition is that everyone's in the same boat - so to speak - on the sea and when push comes to shove you help your enemy if he's in trouble. But on the other hand, they're pirates. And pirates, despite the popular conception, aren't cuddly funny people with parrots. They're robbing, raping scum the world would be far better off without. So sink them and to hell with them.

    Sorry. I'm going to go for a lie down.

  7. Marvin the Martian

    Piracy -> local economy or terrorism?

    Judging by the enormous villas being built in Puntland, around Eyl, most of the cash goes to the local economy and not to terrorism I'd say.

    If you define piracy as terrorism (it's anarchy and strikes terror in its victims: fair enough) then of course the point is moot.

  8. Sam

    Obvious course of action

    Why not just blow them clean out of the water?

  9. mark

    I hate to be a pedant, but...

    ...asylum seekers are not the source of council flat shortages, and it really hacks me off when people suggest that they are, because you end up with an uprising of right wing lunatics who go off chaning xenophobic "Britain for the British" slogans blaming all of society's evils (such as council flat shortages) on foreign nationals.

    My particular borough in London has a waiting list of 11,000 households wanting a council flat - last year 85 got housed. The housing shortage has nothing to do with asylum seekers hoovering up council property - it has everything to do with there being simply not enough council housing stock.

    Seeing as The Reg has such a distaste for the Daily Mail, any chance you could stop pedalling its lies?

    I think I'll get my coat - it's the one with flameproof lining.

  10. lee harvey osmond

    "ill afford any damage or mess"!??!?!?

    "Since paintwork seems to be more in demand than gunnery you had better come in and make yourself pretty"

    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

  11. Jonathan Richards

    Cranking up the Tw*t-O-Tron

    At the risk of being identified as a tub-thumper, I have a question about modern naval training. It used to be a point of pride for a bosun's mate to be able to organize an efficient and humane hanging at a yard-arm. Is this skill missing from today's Navy?

    [the only time this icon, or its late lamented forebear, has been geniunely useful]

  12. Chris Jones-Gill

    Blow them out of the water

    Just make sure they all die, then no one will complain about their human rights - or be able to claim asylum.

  13. David Willis
    Paris Hilton

    The Royal Navy

    Lets resolve this one in the least painful way possible.

    Re-commission HMS Belfast, lock and load the 6" guns. Dispose of Home & Foreign Office (and possibly the houses of parliament - freindly fire excuse and all that).

    Paris - Because she would only wring her hands as much as the FSO if she were buing a REALLY expensive handbag.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Human Rights?

    "for fear of transgressing human rights legislation or encouraging their seeking asylum once taken to the UK."

    Sea Pirates aren't all like the "Captain Sparrow". These are generally quite violent and vicious criminals who probably don't give two stuffs about the human rights of the people they have robbed from/killed/terrorized.

    This f***king country just gets worse. Blow the pirates out of the water, make them walk the plank and stuff their human rights.

    (Pirate for obvious reasons)

  15. Gianni Straniero

    Lily-livered sons of mangy curs

    An unsophisticated position to adopt, I know, but if you send 'em straight to Davy Jones' locker, they won't have time to claim asylum, will they?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Rule the Waves No Longer

    > "Your correspondent recently spoke off the record to a lately-retired admiral who said that the once-aggressive Service culture has been "shockingly" undermined in the modern era ..."

    I'd agree with that. In my own opinion, many Western navies have become shadow of their former selves. As one former senior officer I know put it, "Women and telephones - that's what I blame. I swore to myself I'd resign if they introduced women and telephones at sea, and regretted everyday since that I didn't".

    Not that the women themselves are a problem - they can be trained to perform just as well as men (most of them, anyway) - but it's the top brass' attitude that came along at the same time ... "We must appeal to a broader spectrum of the community" ... "We must not be seen as harsh or uncompromising" ... and the consequent watering down of just about everything.

    Then there's the telephones. We used to issue a set of orders to the CTF/CTG and trust they would get it right using their judgement, framed by "the finest traditions of the Service". Now we issue more Rules of Engagement (a long list of things you can't do) than orders and further cloud the situation with very untimely voice calls from Whitehall (or wherever) from people with no fucking idea how to conduct a naval campaign, or worse, HQ with politicians on their back. There's a damn good reason why they're the *Armed* Forces, and fuckwit civilian managers and politicians should withdraw to their corner and let the Services get on with it. Then there's the apparent neutering of senior officers - paralysed by legal shackles and media paranoia.

    Please excuse the langauge, but for fuck sake, these are pirates - order to stop, fire warning shots, then (if they haven't stopped) engage - any survivors can be picked out of the water, emprisoned, then deported. And to keep the lawyers happy, instead of passing more legislation on disenfranchising citizens of the freedoms their forefathers died fighting for (with a damn sight more courage then shown since), how about a simple statute/amendment that permits the emprisoning and deportation as above?

    I've had exactly the same experience as Lewis with overnight transit in certain straits. I'd go into a couple more examples, but I'd be inviting a visit from men in dark suits ....

  17. goggyturk

    Lewis - which group were you in?

    If it's not too rude a question, which course of action did you favour when you were in that neck of the woods, and why?

  18. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    a short drop and a sudden stop

    It's a lot more difficult to request asylum when you're hanging.

    Or when you've got a bullet through the head, for that matter.

    What is the world coming to ? The remnants of the worlds' greatest Navy have all become yellow in a generation ? Since when does this kind of debate take place at the task force command level ?

    It should be a debate in the political arena, where the softies can wring their hands repeatedly while the hardliners rebuff them with economic logic, then everyone stops for tea. Meanwhile, the Navy just keeps on blowing the buggers out of the water.

    Meaning the pirates, of course, not the politicians.

  19. Luke McCarthy


    The Navy are just doing their bit to reduce global warming.

  20. Nick

    Witty Title to Follow.

    Why not just fire cannons or other more modern projectiles at them?

    Or push them off the gangplank?

    Of course, if there's a Kiera Knightly amongst them, Id be happy to keep her under lock and key in my "dungeon"


  21. Maverick

    not surprised really

    the Senior Service? sounds like a bunch of wusses nowadays

    but as for the 'guidance' how can you expect better from a government - here I mean = elected representatives + civil servants (ha!) - that continues to treat the Gurkhas so damned shamefully

    pirate - well obviously we should fight fire with fire, make the scurvy scum walk the plank - preferably with a kukri in their back :)

    PS was trying to work in a Cap'n Pugwash reference in . . thought better of it as it is before the watershed (i.e. the lunchtime pint)

  22. Anonymous Coward

    One harsh solution to the problem...

    Men in small boats, armed with RPG-7's and AK's. Looking slightly threatening. (And an RPG would be considered a relatively serious threat)

    RN vessel identifies threat, makes challenge, 'inadequate' response received, engages with close defence weapons. Say for example Oerlikon 30mm and mounted M134s. You know, the light stuff.

    Smoke clears. Threat gone. And no asylum claims.

    May be considered a bit of an overreaction, but it deals with the immediate threat and can be considered to discourage the others. And after all, the pirates get in their boat knowing what could happen, and intending to do the same to others.

    I suspect the policy would be even more effective if employed via armed merchant vessels but as the article is about the reaction of the RN we won't go there.

  23. Steve


    That is all.

  24. Dark Hippo

    Am I missing something?

    Or is this a case of the French actually doing the right thing while everyone else acts like a pussy and pulls the human rights excuse for doing fuck all?

    Hey, you know all those guys that took out the World Trade Centre? I'm fairly sure they impinged the human rights of everyone in the building at the time, think they cared?

  25. Glyn
    Thumb Up

    Hanging's too good for 'em

    Isn't piracy still one of the 3 things you can get hung for in the UK?

    So the pirates are successful in getting UK citizenship and then get hung 10 minutes later. Pirates are happy (for a bit), Sun readers are happy and a notice in the job centre "Wanted, hangman, black hood provided" will help bring down the unemployment figures

    It's all doubleplus good

  26. Anonymous Coward

    What's this nonsense about capturing people?

    "Stop pirating all we'll blow your shit out of the water!"

    You can't give a council flat to a bunch of Somali pirate corpses floating face down, can ye?

    Seems simple to me.

  27. Triscopic


    I'm ashamed. Has the royal navy come to this? Being afraid of pirates in case it makes them a little bit late? I can't help but think in days gone by they would have gone out of their way to be mistaken for a merchant convoy and would have been keen to make blighty proud, and the powers that be would have lauded their efforts.

    Of course they would probably also have been "privateering" the french, dutch and/or spanish merchants, but as we all know that's completely different.

  28. Dr. Mouse

    The Navy

    have converted to the CoFSM. They know that Pirates are also followers, and all this talk of ransoms, terrorists, theft etc. is just propaganda spread by Christians.

    The Royal Navy 'warships' in the area are actually used to hold prayer meetings, as it is at least a safe from being boarded by French or Russian seamen (**giggle**, I think I'll leave this in despite reading it back and noticing the double entendre) seeking to persecute our righteous brothers.

  29. Mike Crawshaw

    Inappropriate commander?

    "There is in fact an international naval force operating in the Arabian and Red Seas called Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), currently commanded by a Canadian officer..."

    WTF? The Canadian Navy consists of 2 blokes in a rowing boat with shotguns!!

    (disclaimer: I'm Canadian, OK?)

  30. AC

    so basically

    "do not arrest criminals it is against their human rights"

    I'll bear that in mind the next time I rob a bank and make of with many millions.

    "No you can't arrest me, I have human rights ..."

    and people wonder why I hate the lefties and the pc twats.

  31. Luke


    Blow me down - It be a dark day when those scurvy french be out fighting us!

  32. Nick
    Paris Hilton


    My Girlfriend and I are planning a round the world sailing trip and were considering heading down through the Red Sea. However, there is some concern of Pirates (think boats not software) and rather than be boarded by a bunch of stroppy Somalian’s wielding machete's I think we will head over to the Caribbean instead.

    They used to say that a an Englishman could safely walk across the breadth of the British empire unprotected because no one dared provoke the armed forces. Maybe I should practice my French instead...

    Paris - because she knows how to lie back and think of England..

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Proud to be British

    Never mind, we'll all feel better after another one of Gordons proud to be British schemes ...

  34. Neil Greatorex

    Symptomatic I'm afraid

    Of all the nuLabour PC bollocks that is straightjacketing the entire country.

    It starts out with school children banned from climbing trees or playing conkers etc. and ends up with the RN not allowed to fight genuine piracy.

    I have to agree with Lewis.

    Skull and crossed bones obviously (Why does your icon have crossed swords?)

  35. James Anderson
    IT Angle

    Britania rules the waves!

    Well this one wave anyway, off the Cornish coast, unless of course we are offending you in any way or upsetting your view perhaps in which case the wave is yours.

    We will just carry on with our mission to defend the right of the Public School boys at the Foriegn Office to behave like prats. After all without the extra money from the KGB they can barely afford the Opera these days.

  36. Moss Icely Spaceport

    Avast ye me hearties!

    There flies the flag of the good ship Meal-ticket!

  37. Matt Bradley
    Thumb Down


    Surely its a simple enough matter for the immigration office to officially deny asylum and deport somebody who was arrested by the UK for piracy?

    Seems to me that there might be more to this story. Did you syndicate it from the Daily Mail or something?

  38. kevin elliott

    Why have a navy?

    Pointless having a navy if you're not going to fight piracy with it. Really sad when training exercises are more important than getting a few pirates.

    Perhaps the real problem is that if there were british casualties, there'd be hell to pay and the mealy mouthed politicians would be incapable of explaining. And who'd have to foot the bill for damage to Her Majesty's fleet?

  39. lIsRT

    But what do you do once they're caught?

    Personally, I'd have no problems with the Navy just sinking pirate ships/boats on sight and steaming away after making sure all the pirates were dead, but it seems rather inconsistent that when we don't even execute murderers/rapists/etc. in this country, pirates can be summarily drowned or machine-gunned.

    That probably means they have to at least be given the chance to surrender which brings its own problems - do modern Navy ships even have a (large enough) brig? After a few vessels dealt with, the ship might have to make a special unloading trip to the nearest British controlled port.

    I feel like I'm coming over all Daily Mail, but a British prison, while being an extremely unpleasant place, probably offers a better life than a modern pirate has - so the proper incentives aren't really there.

    Handing them over to possibly easily-bribed local police might not be the best idea either.

    What seems like the best idea is mentioned in the article - pretending to be an easy victim then killing them all...

  40. Liam
    Thumb Down


    "British Foreign Office officials are understood to have advised the Royal Navy not to confront or arrest pirates in the region for fear of transgressing human rights legislation or encouraging their seeking asylum once taken to the UK."

    - you really couldnt make this up could you?

    surely these people who murder, steal and kidnap have forgone any human rights? also why the hell should we bring such nasty pieces of work over here to live?

    i fucking despair at this government i really do! the navy should just blow them out of the water ffs!

    werent we the best sailing nation in history at one point? now relegated to a world joke! is anyone else feeling embarassed to be english these days? :(

  41. Thomas
    Thumb Down

    Politics Ahoy

    Well, I for one just welcome our new pirate overloads….

    And point you to the story of the Danish warship “Absalon” that had too free captured pirates because of worries that they might seek asylum in the Denmark.

    Now where is this Lord Nilsson guy when you really need him?

  42. Richard

    Would they *have* to take them back to the UK?

    Haven't we got some pink coloured islands in pretty much every ocean?

    I notice an appropriately named Danger Island in the Indian Ocean Territory. Uninhabited, plenty of coconuts, what more could a pirate want?

  43. Anonymous Coward

    It is a sad day when the French have more guts

    It is a really sad day when the French have more guts than the royal navy. What the f*** happened "England expects that every man will do his duty"?

    Not that there is something new in that. Throughout its history it generally took a Scott to command ships flying the Union Jack for them to show some guts.

    Plenty of examples to that starting with Admiral Cochrane and finishing with the now forgotten scottish school teacher called back from the reserve who disobeyed Lord "do not do it" Dudley orders to abandon defenceless the PQ 17 convoy in World War 2 and refused to abandon merchant ships against an incoming combined raid of the Luftvaffe, Denitz subs and the German surface fleet. He stayed, a combined British and American fleet consisting of an aircraft carrier, several heavy cruizers and escort fled.

    Oh well, I guess the times have not changed since "Do not do it" Dudley. Sad. That is all that has to be said about it. Really sad.

    Me coat.

  44. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton


    So Lloyds special maritime multi tasking/ multilingual security consultants section outfitted mostly with clerks hired from assorted military service units with fancy initials like SAS , SBS , DGS and so on are very busy bodies these days then , much like socialites today .

  45. Stuart Van Onselen

    My Favourite Somali Pirate Story

    OK, so it's the *only* Somali pirate story I know, and it's short:

    Apparently the Americans are a little less reticent about the use of force than are the Royal Navy. Once, as a US Destroyer closed on a pirate vessel, said vessel displayed a little spunk, albeit accompanied by a large dose of stupidity - They fired an RPG at the destroyer. The Yanks promptly arrested the pirates anyway.

    In case anyone doesn't get teh funny of this: They fired an RPG at a Destroyer!

    They'd have had better luck shooting a spitball against a charging rhinocerous! All they achieved was to annoy some poor sod who had to spend all of five minutes cleaning off the smudge.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    You should have published this on last week's 'talk like a pirate day'

    Make the vermin walk the plank after introducing them to the cat o' nine tails.

    Between this and the woman soldier who's suing the army for £400,000 for being called names, you have to wonder what's coming next... orders not to shoot at the enemy in case they sue or because it's a breach of their health and safety rules?!

    Surely, if they can't capture them, they can comply with government guidelines simply by blasting them out of the water.

    Nelson would be turning in his barrel.

  47. jubtastic1

    Best subheading ever

    I lol'd on the train, still grinning. Article was good as ever Lewis, keep em coming.

  48. Anonymous Coward


    So if the RN is to do nothing...just whats the point of us taxpayers paying for them to actually be there then? It would be cheaper have the RN patrol the waters off the Isle of Wight in Mirror Dinghy's and blow soap bubbles at passing seagulls.

    Just when you think HMG cannot get any more sheeet they go and surpass themselves.

    Where's the Icon for I want to kill the lot of them useless fecktards in HMG and slink off hanging my head in shame at the ar5e my country has become. Almost makes you consider voting for the BNP...I'm that fecked off. Maggie wouldn't have issued such a stupid order. She sank the Belgrano not waved a hanky at it like Nu Liars would.

    Gordoom McSnot-Gobbler needs replacing with a more effective cardboard cut out.

  49. David Pollard

    Human rights excuses

    Though I agree that the navy shouldn't be forced to be limp-wristed, there is another dimension to the situation. As a comment on the Times article, which Lewis references, points out:

    "Many Somalis see the pirates almost as heroes protecting their waters from pillaging by EU and Asian fishing fleets and the dumping of toxic waste."

    Had you been a fisherman and seen most of your potential catch sold off by a bunch of politicians and businessmen who then grew rich and fat on the proceeds, while destroying your livelihood, what would you do? Is it wrong to fight back? Quite often when people are ripped off they see little option but to redress the balance by conducting a rip-off themselves.

    Whether or not piracy can be condoned, the question does arise of who is doing the plundering. It can't be much fun to be an officer in situations where the 'dissent' you are called on to put down may seem to have more justification than some of the unjustness in which your country has co-operated.

    What's the tradition here? Might is right or British fair play for all?

  50. Echowitch

    Government Interference again

    I grew up near Portsmouth, I've dated an Admirals daughter, and numbered members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines past and present amongst my friends and drinking companions, and this wishy washy Government interference digusts me. But they've been doing it for a long time now.

    The Senior Service was the largest and most respected Navy in the world. Its also our frontline defence. So why is it for years we've struggled to fill ships with fuel and munitions, let alone get them out. Because the Government doesn't seem to think that our armed Forces are important. We have two new super carriers going to be built, with 50+ JSF's on each. Why don't we have more ?? Why are the number of Frigates and Destroyers we have shrinking in number ?? Because of the Government.

    We need more ships, more aircraft, and more people in the Navy. These all create jobs, their support businesses create jobs. And most importantly we need them as we take on more and more UN and NATO work, We can't fulfill these global responsibilities with a wishy washy Government and Home Office that tells the Senior Service to go softly softly with Pirates.

  51. Anonymous Coward


    The cowardly Danes actually caught some pirates and then set them free with apologies, cause they were also afraid of asylum seekers.

  52. This post has been deleted by its author

  53. Pat

    Keep It Simple

    I'm not of a violent temperment so would not be inclined to hang the pirates; just sink their vessels with an overwhelming amount of fire-power and let them walk home.

  54. Dave Bell

    What a load of wankers.

    The way these people are headed, I'm expecting the imminent arrival of the Mekon.

    (Yeah, been reading the recent Dan Dare comic that Virgin published.)

    Lewis, tell your Admiral that I thoroughly approve of his cinematic tastes.

    (Note on icons: the pirate flag matches the descriptions of that flown by John "Calico Jack" Rackham, who had the famous Anne Bonney and Mary Read in his crew (according to reports, they were the only pirates sober enough to fight back when captured).)

  55. Matt

    @ Pascal

    "Meaning the pirates, of course, not the politicians."

    hey, lets not get too hasty here......

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Can't Egypt sort this lot out?

    After all, it's their own back yard and the shipping has come through their canal.

    Wouldn't have happened when it was our canal. Harrumph!

  57. Richard

    Don't bring them back to Blighty ...

    ... just sail across the straits and offload them somewhere like Saudi, who will no doubt give them a warm welcome.

  58. Stuart Van Onselen

    Agree with all of the above...

    The simplest way is not to sink those cruddy little ships most pirates sail, and then hang the survivors.

    The simplest thing is to train *real* guns on the pirate vessels. Even in these days where missiles have made big guns obsolete, those guns that remain on your average destroyer are still plenty big enough to blow a pirate dhow into teeny-tiny itty-bitty pieces. Now let Whitehall try to prove that there ever was any pirate ship in the first place! Toothpicks and slivers of flesh disappear very quickly from the ocean, after all.

    "Missing rounds from the magazine you say, sir? Must have been the gunnery practice from last Thursday."

  59. Andrew Moore

    The solution...

    Just let it be known up and down the straits that all pirate vessels will be scuppered and that it's the responsibility of the crew to ensure they have enough life jackets available.

  60. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    Bloodthirsty lot aren't we?

    You're unlikely to kill them all on the first shot are you? Sink their boat, fine, but there will be a few survivors floating around in the water. What do you suggest, sailing over and machine gunning the survivors? What kind of a navy do you think we have?

    Anyone even remotely civilised is going to bring them on board and arrest them, and as a naval vessel is considered UK territory they then have the right to apply for asylum, just as they would do if they'd snuck over the border at Calais.

    That said, a captain at sea can make all sorts of decisions autonomously. I don't know what the rules are for considering asylum claims, but if the captain had the power to consider them himself when in international waters I imagine this would neatly solve the problem.

  61. JohnG

    Piracy = Crime, Criminal => not a refugee

    From the Council Directive 2004/83/EC, giving clarification as to who may be considered a refugee or persons needing international protection:

    "A third country national or a stateless person is excluded from being a refugee where there are serious reasons for considering that:


    (b) he or she has committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to his or her admission as a refugee; which means the time of issuing a residence permit based on the granting of refugee status; particularly cruel actions, even if committed with an allegedly political objective, may be classified as serious non-political crimes;"

    Maritime piracy has been considered a serious crime for long time and attacking one or more RN ships for such a purpose would surely be grounds to void any asylum claim.

  62. Liam

    arrr jimlaaaaad

    isnt the penalty of piracy in most countries death?

    surely just open fire and blow the suckers out the water...

    its a sad day when i wish our gov was more like the merkins :(

    wtf is our british navy? seems more like the RNLI to me!

    "that continues to treat the Gurkhas so damned shamefully" - hear hear! we lets all kinds of sponging europeans over here but true british spirit is sent packing. this makes me ashamed!

    @ "My particular borough in London has a waiting list of 11,000 households wanting a council flat - last year 85 got housed. The housing shortage has nothing to do with asylum seekers hoovering up council property - it has everything to do with there being simply not enough council housing stock." - so you are saying nobody is an asylum seeker then? i used to live up in hull and i can tell you large areas have been given to eastern europeans. one shop even had 'no english' sign on the door!

    i know most council properties are held now by stupid pregnant teens who are too stupid to use johnnies but you cant say no places are taken by asylum seekers. why cant we have the same logic as every other country in the world? 'fix us first then you'- why do the english feel the need to help everyone else at the expense of ourselves (i say english as its the english paying for great britain)

    maybe we could just dress the pirates up as british servicemen and let the yanks practice more friendly fire?

  63. Anonymous Coward

    So not going after PirateBay then ?

    Thank god for that !

  64. Adrian Challinor

    I wish I was suprised

    But this is yet another story of the British Government having gone completely barking mad and is, in fact, very soft on terror.

    It should be clear, and if necessary parliament could add a codecil to the Human Rights Act (better yet, repeal it) that these rights are not enjoined to people comitting any sort of criminal offence in the UK or abroad. Pirates (the non-digital type) have no rights. They cannot claim asylum under any circumstances. In fact, their vessels should be used by our noble lads in the navy for live fire target practice.

    Make them walk the plank and dance on davy jones locker.

  65. Miami Mike

    Just because they can count doesn't mean they have any brains

    A few years ago, three boatloads of Somali pirates attacked - wait for it - a US navy battle cruiser and a US navy destroyer off Somalia. They fired AK-47 rounds and some RPGs. The US ships returned the favor with somewhat larger artillery, and it was about the shortest naval battle in history - three pirate boats sunk, several pirates killed, remainder captured, a few smudges on the Navy ships.

    Captain of the cruiser went and asked the leader of the soggy morons what the F**K was he thinking when he decided to take on the US navy with a couple of leaky rowboats and a slingshot.

    Moron answers "We had you outnumbered, there were three of us and only two of you."

    We (and you) pay a lot of tax money for this hardware - lets USE IT instead of sailing it around in fair weather looking pretty. If we got serious about stomping out this kind of crap it would be over in a day. Eyl would be a glassy parking lot that glows in the dark, the few survivors would seriously reconsider their career paths, and piracy would be something you see only in movies and as Halloween costumes.

    Peace through superior firepower!

  66. Dale

    Haven't they watched any movies about pirates?

    You don't deal with pirates by capturing them. You deal with pirates by shooting holes in their boats until they sink. Navy destroyers are supposed to be quite good at that sort of thing.

  67. Anonymous Coward


    "..adopt deceptive lighting and break up our formation to encourage such a mistake, man the guns and issue weapons..." Hmmm. Sounds like a spectacularly well thought-out plan. It's people like this who tend to get their colleagues killed unnecessarily.

  68. Mark

    It's some high mucky-muck doing a CYA

    Nobody wants to pay to find out whether this is a problem, nobody wants to take the issue on to find out what they could do and there's no money or prestige for the numbnuts in charge to risk making a decision on their own bat.

    Just ask them which country they belong to, sink the boat (after taking the contents that are worth something) or take the boat to impound it. Then take the pirates back to their home.

    If they say "no home" then they either sink on the ship or get impounded with it.

  69. Mick Sheppard
    Dead Vulture


    Hmmm... why capture them? They are a hostile force in international waters. Seems like a good excuse to put all of that training and hardware into action.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I call bullshit on this story. It's clearly bollocks.

    @Glyn: Noone can be hanged for anything in the UK, nowhere in Europe is allowed to have the death penalty for anything (except in time of war) anymore.

    @The London council house guy: The reason you don't have enough council houses is because of Mrs Thatch. She gave everyone the "right to buy", the right to buy hoses that belong to everyone else, at massive discount. Great. No wonder councils didn't build any more houses. Still, it can't be long till I can sport my "Ding Dong the witch is dead." T-Shirt and dance in the street.

  71. Michael Brennen
    Paris Hilton

    Human rights

    Human rights always seem to get in the way of doing the job. Why not go back to the old days of hanging the pirates then they could not make it back to the UK to claim asylum or that their missus just dropped a sprog and they now need sky tv and a council flat plus UK citizenship for themselves and all there mates!

    Paris Hilton because even she would understand the stupidity sometimes in the human rights bill protecting the criminals more than Joe Bloggs......

  72. Anonymous Coward

    tell me again

    You can't execute murderers.

    You can't execute rapists.

    You can't execute pirates.

    Please tell me; what are you keeping them for and who's picking up the tab?

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Liam

    Exactly the attitude that leads me to want independence for Scotland, Wales and Cornwall, and re-establishment of Scottish territorial waters which conveniently include most of the offshore oil and gas reserves.

    describing yourself as "English" is a bit of a misnomer given most "English" are genetically french/german/other euro nation hybrids - due to Romans, Saxons, Normans etc.

    I support british weapons design but without government interference (Which always means cut costs and capabilities in short sighted electioneering)

    However I do like the americans approach....big guns ala A-10 (why didnt we buy them or build something even more mental? useful in afghanistan I hear)

    For the pillock who parped on about herr thatcher.....we were lucky to have a Navy given her lot of axe bearers decommissioned the HMS Ark Royal thereby neutering the navies aerial capabilites (Otherwise we would have been able to bring Phantoms and Buccaneers and other fixed wing assets into the fight and really hassle the Argentinians), also made rampant cuts across the RAF and the army oh and fed the troops on the ships to the falklands with argentine corned beef that the stores couldnt sell. that "woman" should be tried for crimes against Britain and its people, stripped of any and all honours and be banned from the public eye. (If you want a good account of the hassles that happened and what the RAF did to try and help, check out Vulcan 607 - a good read :) (on a sidenote sad that the restored vulcan likely will be mothballed again due to lack of funds (whats 1.5 million a year for 10 to 15 years to showcase a crucial part of our history compared to the X Million for Northern Rock or the XXX trillion the new nuclear missiles will set us back or even the 400 million labour blew on the stack of portakabins sitting at holyrood masquerading as a parliament *rolls eyes* )

    Ignore the lima bean munchers and their "dont aggravate people or we will be destroyed" BS, spend some proper money on the forces, ban the chavs from the forces (or beat the chavviness out of them or human shields if they cant be made into tolerable people)

    Put catapults on the carriers and put some proper planes on board ala E-2, EA-6B, modified Typhoon etc)

    Lastly If we are going to spend £50 billion on new nukes then lets use the ones we have before they go out of service (for the reason of persuading other nations not to screw with us (Iran, N Korea, Venezula etc would make good demonstration targets) or just cancel the whole stupid scheme and buy a lot of conventional bombs to put the point across.

  74. Anonymous Coward

    Re: One harsh solution to the problem...

    I'm also a great believer in warning shots...

    Best delivered through the forehead of the first to try piracy....

    The second boat to try piracy in front of an HMS deserves to know exactly what is about to happen to it.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear sir

    Dear sir,

    I strongly object to your characterization of Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service as being filled with limp-wristed, peace-piping, ninnyslinkers. Most officers I know are strong and burly and will start a pub fight at the drop of a hat. There is very little gentle, sensitive lovemaking among fellow officers, midshipmen, Rear Admirals, Boris Johnson, or the Foreign Secretary and none of it has influenced the policy of the Foreign Office with respect to piracy on the high seas, which remains staunchly heterosexual. Please correct this appalling error of fact.

    Yours very truly etc.,

    Roger M.E. Backside

    Up the old yardarm


  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where are the Q-ships when we need them?

    The whole human-rights-or-asylum argument is farcical; when a boatload of heavily-armed men motors up to a merchant ship uninvited in international waters, it's fairly obvious they aren't looking to sell you tax-free cigarettes or ask directions. Lethal force can thus be used in legitimate self-defense, with full confidence that you're not whacking innocents or violating international law. (After all, there's nothing that REQUIRES one to warn the pirates that they'll be sunk if they attack you; that's entirely their problem.)

    It occurs to me that those presently operating as pirates would be rather less inclined to hoist the Jolly Roger if they thought they were likely to be summarily sunk by their intended targets. Thus, resurrecting the 20th-century concept of the Q-ship (a heavily-armed warship disguised as a defenseless freighter) would seem to be a great idea. It has excellent deterrent value if pursued over an extended period with a sufficient variety of "defenseless freighters." Word WILL get around on shore that the risk-reward balance just became untenable.

  77. Stuart Van Onselen


    It's not as bad an idea as you might think. Even the crummiest modern radar can differentiate between a destroyer and even the biggest boats the pirates sail. What's more, the pirates will have SFA in terms of radar jamming or stealth. A dinky scow (or even a captured commercial vessel) will stick out like a sore (but tiny) thumb in the midst of a group of relatively huge destroyers. A professional crew should have no difficulty at all in avoiding friendly fire.

    And we're also not likely to see another Gulf of Tonkin balls-up where naval vessels spend all night firing at radar glitches, either.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait Wait

    You will go into Iraq( questionable war) , but you wont engage people who you have clear proof of being a criminal ??? Can you explain that one to me ???

    also explain who a criminal can seek asylum ??

  79. irspariah

    Pirates and Royal Navy

    Just kill all the bastards.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mike JVX

    'describing yourself as "English" is a bit of a misnomer given most "English" are genetically french/german/other euro nation hybrids - due to Romans, Saxons, Normans etc.'

    As are the Scots, Welsh, the Cornish and the Irish if you check your history.

    BTW - I am British and proud of that, but I am also English and proud to be so. My Grandfather is Scottish and I am also proud of my Scottish heritage. The origins of my surname have been traced all the way back to the time of bonny prince Charlie and the Jacobite uprising. I have no doubt that most family trees in the British Isles contain mixes of all our nations if you look.

    I completely agree with you about Thatcher, she should be tried and shot for treason.

    Back on topic, This order for the navy is a complete disgrace and makes us a laughing stock. The order should be to blow them out of the water and kill as many as possible. It is their choice to live a pirate lifestyle so they take the consequences.

  81. David Neil

    Couple of points - off topic, butit hasn't stopped the rest of you

    @ Fraser

    Council Houses being sold - It wasn't just a case of the stock being sold off and the councils not wanting to build more - they were actively prevented from using the proceeds to invest in building more council housing.

    @ MikeJVX

    The Ark Royal (R09) which had the big desk was actually decommisioned in December 1978, not by the Tories.

  82. Big Pete

    I say we...

    Hang em from the yard arm, What's that?, Ships no longer have yard arms. Bugger!

    It's Rum, Sodomy and the Lash for you laddie.

  83. Anonymous Coward

    There is an alternative

    What they are missing is that there is an alternative if the Royal Navy really is worried all those pirates they bring to Britain in irons will ask for asylum. That alternative is to summarily execute the Pirates on the high seas under English admiralty law and the articles of the 1856 Declaration of Paris.

  84. Anonymous Coward


    Do they move then? I though they were stationary?

  85. n

    ...and the rest

    The people who are this is overblown or exaggerated are wrong.

    It wasn't that long ago that an aircraft was hijacked by armed men who forced a landing in the uk.

    After a while they released the hostages and instead of receiving an SAS bullet through the head the hijackers all claimed asylum and received a council house for their trauma.

    The phrase "you couldn't make it up" is becoming worn out!

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ David Neil

    hmm, what happens when you rely on a (supposedly) well researched set of texts without checking them online......

    Shame would have made a better case for prosecuting thatcher....criminal negligence

  87. Steve Glover

    More hearsay, it sounds like....

    And no-one seems to have read down to this bit yet: "the whole thing about human rights and asylum seeking sounds like some shamefaced naval officer making up bullshit excuses"?

    (safety glasses icon because so many Reg readers seem to need them)

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Got to be balls

    Any story that fits the Daily Mail/Sun agenda so perfectly has got to be bullshit.

  89. Chris


    Where the fuck have this countries balls gone?

  90. Nigel

    This may sound ruthless but ...

    This may sound ruthless, but the way to deal with pirates is to sink their boats and leave them to rescue themselves or drown.

    It encourages the others. Also makes assylum claims most unlikely.

  91. Maryland, USA

    It's not asylum, Mate: It's "P-p-p-parlay"!

    ...or haven't you seen Pirates of the Caribbean?

  92. John Dougald McCallum

    Piracy & "Q Ships"

    "I suspect the policy would be even more effective if employed via armed merchant vessels but as the article is about the reaction of the RN we won't go there." Thats a very good idea a few armed merchantmen and job done Worked during WW1 against German U boats I don't see any problem with it now crewed with Mercenaries if need be.

  93. NT

    @ Bloodthirsty lot aren't we?

    << You're unlikely to kill them all on the first shot are you? Sink their boat, fine, but there will be a few survivors floating around in the water. What do you suggest, sailing over and machine gunning the survivors? What kind of a navy do you think we have? >>

    Just sail away and leave them. Let the sea decide their fate. They signed the contract when they took up piracy.

  94. jon green
    Dead Vulture

    Just f****** do it

    s'a joke


    sink the ships and burn the port, demolish it's breakwaters and go back to blighty for a celebratory drink!

    I don't mean the imperialistic "if your not with us we kiilllll you" like uk did in the 19th century and the merkins, Israelis and slamicks are doing now. I mean a bit of pride and direct action like the frogs!

    FUCK political correctness - when did it ever save lives?

    Rant over - is there an IT angle? (hence the headstone)

  95. Mark

    Shoot them all

    It's hard to beg for asylum when your brains are floating some distance from your body. I'm sympathetic with the idea of human rights, but once you start depriving others of their human rights through piracy, you should be in forfeit of your own.

  96. Andy Bright

    Didn't we

    used to hire pirates to handle this sort of thing for us? Hand the Somalis a Privateer Commission or two and let them have at the French and Spanish.

    No wait.. that was last time.. anyway what I meant was..

    Hand the French and Spanish some Privateer Commissions and let them have at the Somalis..

    BTW in case the British Government hadn't noticed, Piracy is a violent crime and normally, just normally we don't accept immigration applications from violent criminals. Even when those applications come under the guise of political asylum. There isn't really any need for a new law as suggested by a previous commenter, we already oppose this as well as the other little things we usually say no to and commonly committed by pirates - such as rape, murder, drug smuggling, gun running, prostitution, robbery.. so I think we might be safe on a solid reason or two for refusing their applications.

    Funny but we regularly send people back to the worst places on earth, and we don't usually have anything close to the valid reasons for refusing asylum that piracy and it's related crimes would give us. Seems to me the cowardice angle is bang on Lewis.

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