The caption for the above picture is 'Are Navy Officer's hands tied when it comes to pirates?' You decide.
Suspected Somali pirates captured by the Royal Navy are being given fuel, food and water and sent on their way. In three cases they were released even though hostages had been found on board their vessels.
This information was revealed on Tuesday by Defence Minister Baroness Taylor who said there had been four instances in the last year when heavily armed gangs, operating off Somalia, had been given supplies on humanitarian grounds. None of the 66 suspects captured by the Navy in the last year has been taken into custody.
The publisher of Warship World magazine, Mike Critchley, said: "I feel pretty sorry for Navy officers these days who have to phone a lawyer in London before they are allowed to do anything.
"In the old days the captain would have been told to just go and sort it out.
"I am sure that word will soon get around the pirate community that even if you run out of fuel 200 miles off shore a large grey vessel will come and help you on your way."
Former Tory chairman Lord Tebbit, who has tabled a series of Parliamentary questions on the issue, said ministers had indicated privately that suspected pirates were not being arrested because of fears they might claim asylum in the UK. He also stated the Navy appeared to be hamstrung by the 'morass of human rights laws and political correctness'.
In November it emerged that the crew of RFA Wave Knight had looked on as pirates kidnapped the Chandlers of Tunbridge Wells, from their yacht near the Seychelles. I have little sympathy with the Chandlers because they were completely foolhardy. They refused to acknowledge advice from other British yachts that they should join with others to sail through this area. Regardless, help should have been given from the Royal Navy but it appears their hands were tied.
The Ministry of Defence initially tried to cover up the ship's role but it later admitted it had been on the scene. It said the ship had not opened fire for fear the Chandlers could have been shot.
What's happening to our Navy? Is Norman Tebbit right in saying they're hamstrung by The Human Rights Act? Or is this a deliberate attempt to reduce its effectiveness then amalgamate it with the army or RAF?
Our sailors deserve far better than this from our political leaders.