Piracy and Kidnapping in Somalia
Over the past several years, the pirates of Somalia have enjoyed what might be called a following wind. They operate in a country where government authority is weak and in many areas non-existent.
Over the past several years, the pirates of Somalia have enjoyed what might be called a following wind. They operate in a country where government authority is weak and in many areas non-existent. They have the longest coastline of any African country to exploit (3,300 kms), and some of the world’s busiest sea-lanes within easy reach. They have a ready pool of recruits, desperate for a share of the millions that they garner from ransoming merchant ships and their crews. And they have had the time and space to get better at piracy, obtaining faster boats and establishing onshore bases – mostly in northern Somalia.
But piracy in Somalia, and the associated abductions, just may have seen its heyday. In the view of John Steed, former head of the UN Counter Piracy unit, Tuesday’s rescue is “potentially a turning point. The international community is saying enough is enough, and the Somali government and regional administration realize that piracy is preventing them from receiving the aid and support their people need.”
Tim Hart of Maritime and Underwater Security Consultants, which is based in the U.K., concurs. “This U.S. Special Forces operation will send a clear message to pirate gangs that states are prepared to take a more robust approach to their actions,” he told CNN.
Image courtesy of US Navy.