By: Ian Logue
There are likely a lot of people who have read about just how dangerous it is to take a trip sailing anywhere near the coast of Somalia thanks to the ongoing problem with pirates in that region.
Patriots wide receiver Tyree Barnes has apparently seen it first hand.
It’s an issue that gets lost in the media – primarily because there are too many to report. According to one report, as of August 15th, Somali pirates were holding at least 17 ships with an estimated 378 hostages.
Those 378 people all have families and loved ones, which means that there are always military personnel and other enforcement involved on a daily basis trying to deal with this ongoing problem.
Patriots receiver Tyree Barnes was recognized in this morning’s Boston Herald in a great article.
According to Ron Borges of the Boston Herald, that job last year belonged to Barnes and the rest of his naval crew. At the time he was stationed with his shipmates on the USS Gonzalez, which sat off the coast of Mogadishu, the capital of drought-ravaged and troubled Somalia.
Barnes was an electronics warfare officer working on counter-missile activity, and was also apparently in charge of the gym. In the back of his mind he still had hopes of coming back and competing for a spot with the Patriots once his military commitment was over with, and in the piece Barnes said that since he couldn’t run outside, he spent a lot of time running on the treadmill – which on a ship isn’t exactly as easy as it sounds.
“I knew I had a two-year commitment,” Barnes told the newspaper. “That’s well over 700 days to do something to be ready for football. I wasn’t really able to run outside so I ran on the treadmill a lot.
“When the ship would roll up and down it was easy to keep your balance, but if it would start to rock left and right it was kind of hard. You’d see guys fall off all the time.”
But a few tumbles off the treadmill wasn’t exactly the most dangerous part of his job. Barnes was reportedly part of the Task Force 150, which meant that he spent time out on the ocean in pursuit of pirates armed with machine guns and hand grenades.
Unfortunately the reason why it continues to be a problem is because there seems to be a big financial incentive for the natives to pursue piracy. Another report suggests that the number of pirates is expected to continue to rise, potentially doubling by 2016 while increasing by 400 each year. The reason is because Somali pirates earn almost 150 times their countries national average wage, which equates to US$79,000/year.
So as that number increases, so does the necessity of what Barnes had to do last year.
Needless to say it’s certainly a dangerous task, and one that should definitely be appreciated. You can read the complete piece on Barnes here.