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Can world now stop Somali pirates?

January 19, 2009

With the naval might of the United States, Europe, China and others now lined up against Somalia’s pirate fraternity, shippers are hoping the nightmare year of 2008 will not be repeated.
Somali pirates — mainly gangs of poor young men seeking a quick fortune under the direction of older “financiers” and boat leaders –  reaped tens of millions of dollars in ransoms last year in a record haul of 42 hijacks, 111 attacks, and 815 crew taken hostage. 
That pushed insurance prices up, persuaded some ship-owners to go round South Africa instead of through the Suez Canal, and prompted the unprecedented rush of navies from 14 different nations to the region. Even China is in on the act, deploying its navy for the first time beyond its own waters. And Japan is considering following suit despite its post-World War II pacifist constitution.
There have been some early successes from all the deployments – half a dozen pirates arrested and a series of attacks blocked, by helicopter and boat. Bad weather, too, has given the pirates some real problems, drowning five of them when their pockets were stuffed with dollars after taking their share of the ransom from the release of a Saudi super-tanker.
Yet the pirates have still managed two new hijacks and 11 attacks in the first half of January. They are hanging on to 11 ships with 207 hostages – most notably a Ukrainian ship with tanks on board
And with such a vast area of operations — plus fancy new speedboats that have taken them as far as Kenya and Madagascar, and GPS equipment to keep away from the warships — the pirates are confident of keeping their business going. So who will win this modern-day battle of the seas? Will the shipping industry lose as much to the pirates this year as they did last? Should they keep paying huge ransoms like the $3 million paid for the Saudi boat?

Maybe, some argue, it will never really be possible to eradicate such a lucrative business which, in one of the world’s most failed states, offers an opportunity for poor and hungry men to become millionaires after a few successful raids. As one pirate told us, they will carry on until there is government again in Somalia.


So, is that pirate right ? Is the only way to stop piracy to build up the local government ?

If so, then the new US Administration faces a tough choice. This piracy is partially driven by Ethiopian interference in Somalia, which the US CIA helps to fund.
Ethiopia keeps Somalia in disarray as a way to undermine rebels in the Ogaden, territory on the Ethiopian side of the border, but populated mainly by ethnic Somalis.
The US supports Ethiopia because this undermines Islamic rule in southern Somalia. The last US President did everything he could to prevent Islamic governments anywhere, confusing American interests and security with the interests of some other group.

As long as the “Global War on Terror” puts the US in conflict with the society, religion or culture of foreign lands, the piracy will continue.
If the new US President can redirect the war effort to attack threats to peace and security, leaving alone people live under the religion they choose, those Somali pirates will have to find a new line of work. Eventually.

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive

correct me if I am wrong! the pirates did the right thing when they stopped the Ukranian ship full of tanks. I wish they had done this long time ago. I wish they had stopped all the ship that dumped all the war-items there is to Africa. We Africans have bled enough thanks to countries like Ukrain, Kazikistan, Krygistan, Russia and other weapon producing countries.

What good was that particular ship going to offer to Africa? Tell me! If I were in Africa right now I would definitely have joined these heroes and sink every ship carrying weapons intended to go to any of the african nation.

how are these pirates wrong if all they try to do was to heroically stop the missery of their fellow africans? why are all these western countries trying to stop the pirates from what they do? is it becuase they want to continue their evil act, mainly to continue see Africa bleed? How long is africa gona stay blind and bleed to death by the evil communists?

Pirates are african heroes. I am saying this only because the pirates managed to stop or at least show the world what these evil communist countries have been doing and are still doing to Africa. I dont necessarily agree with the pirates when they stop ship carrying other than weaponry.

stop messing with pirates. stop messing with Africa?

Posted by Munir | Report as abusive

First, Brian, GWOT must take action against goverments that support or allow terrorist activities, hit the bees where they live.
Second, Munir, I wish we could “stop messing with Africa” it is a money pit with corruption (governments and UN and Aid agencies), however, if your “beloved” pirates want to STEAL, they must face the consequences when someone is around to hand them out. I say all ships should be armed, sink the pirates and let them swim through shark infested waters home.
When the majority voice of Islam denounces terrorism then progress will be made, but the pirates like the terrorsits don’t care about human rights, human value, it’s all about money and power. I say hunt them down like the dogs they are, and kill them where you find them, don’t waste the time to bury them either.

Posted by John Lavery | Report as abusive

We need to sink the mother ships the pirates use. In the mean time, ship owners need to defend their ships. Arming crews is a problem given insurance problems, but putting razor wire around the ships’ perimeters can help by cutting up the often shirtless pirates. An electric fence can help too. Or both!

How about long spikes around the perimeter? The climbing rope goes to the side of the ship but the long spikes block the pirate long enough to use a fire hose or cut the rope. A hilarious idea is as you find the grappling hook you put a giant version of a glue mousetrap by the hook. Instant arrest!

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

The Somali pirates are no doubt a world threat. They attack ships from every nation without regard. Since this seems to be an international problem, it requires an international solution. The industrial nations of the world possess the military capability to erase this threat.

From what I’ve read the pirates operate out of Mogadishu and other ports in Somalia. Their tactics involve the use of “mother ships” from which smaller craft are launched to attack the larger freighters and tankers,the targets used to extort millions of dollars from the industrialized nations.

The industrialized nations should mobilize their resources and eliminate the source of their problems. The U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia…have the military might to eliminate this threat. The threat is seaborne…all of these nations have submarines. The obvious solution is to identify the mother ships on the sea and eliminate them and their crews with submarine attacks. Short of that, these powers have the ability to attack and destroy the bases from which these ships operate. This would mean a full blown attack on the ports from which they operate. Destroy the ports, the support facilities, the entire town of Mogadishu if necessary.

There are currently a number of ships and crews held hostage by these vermin…get them out and then destroy their bases of operation and attack any further attempts to engage in this criminal activity.

If nothing is done this abomination will continue forever.

Posted by BILL | Report as abusive

This man maybe could.
How to eliminate Somali pirates

Posted by Esay | Report as abusive

South Koreans can deal with all the Hostage ships, maybe the North Koreans could go after the Mother Ships. Chinese can send a peace keeping force to Somalia and build some roads and railways (in exchanged for their natural resources). Problem solved!
Well done to the Western Super powers. I think we are seeing a change in the world power a balance and the return of an Eastern Dynasty.

Posted by danceman | Report as abusive

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