Following the deaths of four Americans by Somali pirates last week, Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk on Monday announced measures to combat the scourge of piracy.
"This growing problem not only represents a danger to Americans on the high seas, but recently pirates were able to grab a tanker worth $200 million with two million barrels of oil bound for Texas. With the growing instability in oil markets and higher gas prices, our attention is on what's happening in Libya, but I think this problem also highlights where we need to go," he said during a Monday morning press event.
His proposed measures:
1. Blockading the port of Hobyo, which he says is a pirate stronghold...
2. Giving the on-scene commander greater authority to attack and sink pirate vessels...
3. Offering greater financial support to Kenya and other countries to house captured Somali pirates.
Kirk, who is an officer in the US Naval Reserves specializing in intelligence, said he plans to visit the Horn of Africa in the coming months to examine anti-piracy efforts in the region.
He said the problem with piracy is an international crisis that's been overcome in the past.
"This is a problem that really vexed the administration of President George Washington during his second term," he said.
But with the U.S.'s naval supremacy, he said he was confident that piracy could be suppressed once again.