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Somalian Pirates – Putting an end to Somalian Piracy
Paul and Rachel Chandler
Somalian Piracy has been in the news for a while now; I was prompted to write this, after hearing that the British Couple from Kent, London UK, were still being held by these Pirates. They were hi-jacked from their Yacht on 23 Oct, as they sailed from Seychelles towards Tanzania. The pirates have threatened to kill the couple if their demand of $7m (£4.2m) ransom is not met.
So, how did this Piracy issue come about?
It is believed that European companies were using the Somalians shorelines as a dump for their disposal of toxic waste. As a result, lots of fish were killed and it reduced the profitability of the Somalian Fishing industry. So, The fishermen asked the local thugs to help them protect their shoreline. The thugs used violence and started hijacking western ships that were dumping toxic waste and holding them until their companies paid ransom. Some of the companies were making payments and it started to look like a way of survival for the Somalians.They are now making millions of dollars in Ransom Payments. Somali hijackers earned between $30 and $40 million in ransom in 2008. (Details at the bottom)
Example: News 17 Nov 09 - Somali pirates free 36 hostages, claim $3M ransom
How can the Piracy be ended? What are the Possible Solutions?
1) President Obama needs to speed things up. In April 09, Obama pledged to stop Somalian Piracy.
“I want to be very clear that we are resolved to halt the rise of piracy in that region,” Mr. Obama said. “And to achieve that goal, we’re going to have to continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks. We have to continue to be prepared to confront them when they arise. And we have to ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes.”
From the increased amount of ships still being attacked, it gives me the impression Obama hasn’t done much or maybe the situation is no longer a priority.
2) Arming crews of cargo and fishing ships with effective weapons. This is a good solution but I’ve found out there is so much Red Tape. E.g Legal liability, insurance costs that shipping companies don’t want to deal with etc.
3) Maybe air strikes or special-operations raids, that would hinder the Pirates by destroying their boats and confiscating their weapons.
4) Not paying the Ransom. The problem with this is companies wouldn’t want blood on their hands and if staff were killed or attacked, there would be Law suits every where.
5) Finally, I think if Somalia has an effective government, good law enforcement. The problem would cease. Somalia has been lawless for about 18 years.