x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Reader's suggestions for the fight against Somali pirates

Readers write letters addressing the Somali piracy problem, the need for fog lights, opportunities for poor children and bad concert behaviour.

A reader offers suggestions on combating the scourge of Somali pirates who are currently holding some 30 vessels and nearly 700 hostages. Mohamed Dahir / AFP
A reader offers suggestions on combating the scourge of Somali pirates who are currently holding some 30 vessels and nearly 700 hostages. Mohamed Dahir / AFP

In reference to the front page news article Hijacked ship freed in daring sea raid (April 3), the UAE Special Forces are to be complimented on their successful storming of a pirated ship. But according to the EU's anti-piracy naval force, Somali pirates currently hold about 30 vessels and nearly 700 hostages. This current epidemic of piracy has been cited as one reason for the lack of yachts visiting UAE waters.

Am I alone in being totally fed up and embarrassed by the inability of modern naval forces (the UAE excepted) to deal with the situation? Senior naval officers repeatedly wring their hands and complain that the sea off Somalia is a rather large area.

Well, during the Second World War my father and others of his generation in the Royal Navy patrolled the much larger North Atlantic when radar was in its infancy, air cover was almost non-existent, and drones, helicopters and satellite imaging had not been invented. And the weather was mostly dreadful.

So what can be learnt and what can be done?

Perhaps we should send all these impressive looking but seemingly ineffectual warships back home and replace them with a fleet of open speedboats, given that the Somali pirates have proven the efficacy of these small craft. At a stroke this will save billions of dollars in defence costs. Furthermore, the UAE is rather good at building ultra-fast open boats with huge outboard engines on the back of them, so this will be a new line of business for us.

My more sensible suggestion is to set up a 100 mile wide exclusion zone starting 20 miles off the Somali coast. Any vessel entering this zone without prior permission would be fired upon.

Simon Arrol, Dubai

Make fog lights mandatory

In reference to the front page story 127 cars in motorway pile-up (April 3), sure, the standard of driving in UAE is atrocious but ...

Why, in a country where fog is not uncommon, are vehicle manufacturers allowed to sell vehicles without rear fog lights?

Why, when vehicle manufacturers claim to be so very safety conscious, are all cars not fitted with rear fog lights even without a government requirement?

David Connolly, Abu Dhabi

I refer to the front page news article Warning signs 'could have averted' pile-up (April 4). This accident, like all accidents, is not the fault of the weather, the road, the position of the moon - it's the driving in the UAE.

Until drivers learn to leave a distance between the vehicle in front, not overtake and drive within the limits of either the speed limit or in case of rain or fog, the vision limitations, then pile ups like this will continue to happen.

Lizzie English, Abu Dhabi

Children deserve a happy childhood

Hi! My name is Nikita Atal and I am from an international school. As a part of our curriculum, we are studying powerful messages of communication. We have to communicate our issue in different modes. My chosen topic is "Children's rights".

I chose this topic because I feel strongly about the issue.

I do not like the way some children are spoilt and how other children eat spoilt food everyday. I would like to convey to children out here that not all children are as lucky as you are. There are many who are deprived of their basic rights of food, shelter and healthy living.

Some children here would whine and whine for a Barbie doll or an action figure. Some may throw a tantrum if their parents do not allow them to drink Coke. Others may complain that they have too much homework. Little do they know that some children do not have toys as excellent as Barbies and have to make do with rag dolls stuffed with cotton wool. Or how some children wait long hours to just get a little sip of water. Or how some children write on the sand with sticks and call it "studying".

We should always keep this mind. At the same time, we should make all the efforts that we can to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate ones.

Everyone can make a difference. I conducted a " Play for a Cause" bingo game in my school, the proceeds of which were sent to an NGO called "Mumbai Mobile Crèches" which takes care of the children of construction workers, providing them safe shelters while the parents are away working at the site.

I am a little girl, going out to make a big difference.

Nikita Atal, Abu Dhabi

Thanks for a family's safety

The article Police rescue family stranded in desert (April 4) reported that a British family of five were able to contact the Dubai police who traced their location from the mobile phone signal and sent a helicopter to the rescue.

Thanks to God. Thanks to modern telecommunications technology. Thanks to the Dubai Police.

Amit Bhattacharje, Abu Dhabi