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Pirates’ terror strikes us from half world away

Swear words?

I know a few in Italian.

Hispanic, too.

Even Yiddish.

Not Ukrainian, though.

But I imagine Lakewood Ranch housewife Zoya Quinn can cut loose with a few slavic beauts she learned growing up in the Ukraine.

Especially considering the ordeal she’s been through since Wednesday.

That’s when an attempted hijacking of a U.S. flagged container ship in the Indian Ocean by Somali pirates was foiled by the American crew aboard the Maersk Alabama.

Her 54-year-old husband, 2nd mate Ken Quinn, was one of them.

No doubt Zoya has offered many prayers of thanks for his safety and the crew’s, as well as prayers for the safe return of the gallant captain who was still a hostage Friday, adrift in a lifeboat off the Horn of Africa.

As for the Somali pirates?

Bet Zoya can call out these contemptible thugs a whole lot of ways in Ukrainian.

While her two sons, ages two months and 3 years, are taking a nap somewhere else in the house, of course.

Somalian piracy has gone on unchecked long enough.

Last year they hijacked 42ships for millions in ransoms.

Last week they hit six vessels.

Only the Alabama evaded capture, thanks to the quick-thinking captain, who offered himself up as a hostage to save his unarmed crew after they fought off the armed hijackers.

Their cargo?

Hardly pirates’ plunder.

Bound for Mombasa, Kenya, the Alabama was carrying aid supplies and emergency food rations from the World Food Programme and various Catholic charities for people in desperate need.

Like people in Somalia.

It is stunning that this war-torn nation’s high seas lawlessness strikes us from half a world away, visiting its terror upon a quiet street called Honeysuckle Trail in Riverwalk Ridge.

Not that Ken Quinn, a seaman for 20 years, was unaware of the danger.

How prophetic was Zoya’s husband when, before leaving home for the ship three weeks ago, he cautioned her: “I’m going where pirates are.”

Someone else is going there, too. Uncle Sam.

One U.S. warship was on station Thursday. More were en route in a show of American naval power.

It’s about time.

God forbid the Somali pirates harm the American hostage, but these villains need to be dealt with. Gunboat diplomacy.

Two words that still resonate and translate in any language. Including Ukrainian.

Mannix About Manatee, by local columnist Vin Mannix,is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, Fla. 34206 or email him at Please include a phone number for verification.