I know what your thinking. "When did endangered animal species become involved with hijacking ships?". But no fears, Snowball the snow tiger isn't going to take over one of our ships an time soon. The Tamil Tigers is a well-armed terrorist group based in Northern Sri Lanka, more formally known as the LITE or the Tamil Eelam. the goals of the Tamil people and the Tamil Tiger rebels is to have their own independent state in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka. This goal is highly disagreed by the Sri Lankan government, which have involved themselves with combating the Tamil Tigers since 1976, sparking a bloody civil war that has torn the nation into pieces, killing thousands and leaving Sri Lanka in crippling poverty. This civil war rages on at this moment .
The Tamil Eelam is considered a terrorist organization by 32 nations, most importantly, the United States, and has became the most notorious terrorist organizations, only bested by Al-Queda. The impact of the Tamil Tigers can be felt around the world, since it was Tamil terrorists that came up with the method of suicide bombing, it can also be felt around the world because of the piracy that they commit to fund their campaigns.
The Tigers have a strong naval tradition along with being ground fighters. When the Tigers find that land is not possible to hold on to any longer, they take the fight out to sea. With these boats, the Tamil Tigers can hijack ship, violently kill everybody on board, take over the ship, and sell the cargo for money. With these cargo's, the Tamil Tigers can buy arms and supplies to keep up their civil war with the Sri Lankan government.
These pirates are more dangerous than the ones off the coast of Somalia because they are known to kill all people on board, unlike the Somali breed that demand ransoms for their captives. They also like capturing ships for use in offensives against the Sri Lankan government.
The Tamil Tigers started hijacking ships when the Sri Lankan government with the help of India racheted up efforts to cut off the supplies that fell in to Tamil hands. Soon the Tigers found that they were running out of supplies to fund their cause. This is when they had to resort to hijacking ships that was coming from the ports of India. The majority of these piracies happened in the mid to late 1990's. Hijackings of the ships Irish Mona, Princess Wave, Athena, Misen, Morong Bong, MV Cordilliaty, Princess Kash and MV Sik Yang have all been credited to the LITE.
When a peace agreement was signed in 2001, the piracys of the coast of Sri Lanka came to a crashing halt. Supplies flowed into the Tigers from land, so they did not have to rely on piracy to achieve their goals. It seemed that all Tamil piracy had finally came to an end.
When the government started playing tough with the Tigers in 2005, the Tamil Tigers once again had to rely on piracy to fund their cause. their target this time, the MV Farah III loaded with 14,000 tons of Indian rice, enough to feed the rebels for years. the crew was forced from stations, threatened with their lives, and forced to abandon ship. The crew in this case was fortunate, because most cases of Tamil piracy usually end in the fatalities of the crew.
Another piracy has not happened off the coast of Sri Lanka since that incident. But with the Sri Lankan government going on a full offensive against the Tamil Tigers, The Tigers find themselves against a wall, and unable to get supplies from land sources. How long will it be before the Tigers have to resort to piracy again to fund their cause and keep the rebels armed and feed.
The piracy of the Tamil Eelam have affected the world in the past, and continues to leave it's mark in global affairs. It could be an issue that dominates the headlines in years to come, as the Tamils may have to once again resort to piracy to keep their cause for an autonomous state alive.
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