Is Somali piracy over?

Decrease in successful attacks ignores root causes which remain.

Is It Really the End of Piracy off the Coast of Somalia?

Posted by: Abbas Daher Djama

The recent drop of successful acts of piracy in the Gulf of Aden have led some experts to believe that we are witnessing the decline of piracy in this particular part of the world. They would believe this tendency to be a normal turn of fate since piracy is historically “a crime of the past”, which only occurs nowadays at this scale because of the specific political situation of Somalia.

However piracy off the Somali coast has far from given its last breath as its recent decline is only due to exceptional preventive measures implemented by the international community. Piracy off the coast of Somalia continues to pose a threat to the international community as the circumstances and conditions that have led to its upsurge and growth remain more than ever.

I-              Factors that have led to the emergence of piracy

Piracy off the Somali coast is often described, as relatively “exceptional” compared to the nature of piracy occurring in other parts of the globe mainly because of the disastrous political context of Somalia. The geographical area in which the pirates operate, the scale of hostage taking and the substantive amount of ransoms received pose a real threat to international trade. An analysis of factors contributing to the emergence of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and their relevance, will allow us to better understand the potential risk of resurgence.

1-    Perception of Insecurity

Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world with a mortality rate among the highest on the planet. The chaotic situation in many parts of the country that frequently go through severe droughts which have recently killed more than 220,000 people and displaced 1.1 million in Somalia between 2010 – 2012, have led millions of Somali’s to flee especially towards neighbor countries [1]. This reality and perception of insecurity is a powerful incentive encouraging Somalis to commit illegal acts in order to protect themselves and their livelihoods against the uncertainty of the country situation.

2-    Alarming poverty

Somalia has one of the lowest Human Development Index rates in the world according to the United Nations. The country is often ranked among the poorest countries in the world with an average of 600USD per capita. Even though one could find industries in the country such as telecommunication that are thriving, a large majority of the population lives with very little means.

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One Reply to “Is Somali piracy over?”

  1. McMillian

    Interesting article!! indeed many believe that piracy in Somalia has been resolved without dealing with root causes. Some already questioned the necessity of having such massive naval presence on the Indian Ocean especially at the time of economic crisis and it is to be expected that EU and NATO would suspend their anti-piracy operation in the next two years which will undoubtedly send the wrong signal to “veteran pirate” like Mr. Djama suggested.

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