Last month, news channel Al Jazeera brought out interesting video clips on Somali piracy. Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow personally interviewed Somali pirates face to face at Garowe, Eyl to give first hand information on Somali piracy.
After viewing the clips, anyone can understand that the present war against piracy by the international warships off Somalia, is like a doctor treating a patient to cure the disease, without making any attempt to eliminate the root cause of the disease.
Some interesting information available from the video clips are:
- Piracy has become an attractive profession for young, unemployed, uneducated Somalis and they are even willing to risk death.
- Pirates consider themselves as Robin hoods of the sea and defenders of Somalia’s fishery wealth.
Somali public opinion
- The local people consider the pirates as Somali Marines and not as pirates.
- Piracy is not considered as criminal activity.
- However religious leaders (clerics), hate piracy as piracy has been the reason for
- Use of alcohol and drugs by Somalis
- Increase in commercial sex activity
- Massive increase in inflation
- Increase in killings
- But, the clerics are not powerful enough to stop piracy.
Somali piracy operations
- Piracy is well organized and pirates have clear policy guidelines on piracy including sharing of ransom amount collected.
- The hijacked vessel or the cargo is of no importance to the pirates and only the crew taken as hostages are important.
- Ransom Amount:
- The ransom amount is usually based on the nationality of the crew taken as hostages
- Hostages are treated well as they are the link to get ransom
- Europeans and Americans fetch more ransom money than the Asians
- The financier, usually a business man who sponsors piracy, gets 30 %
- The pirates get 50 %
- Support team indirectly involved from shore to provide food etc., get 20 %
- Pirates move in fast boats with weapons and carry boarding ladders to board the ships.
- A piracy group that receives ransom, supports another piracy group till they receive ransom and this goes on like a chain reaction to sustain piracy.
- Eyl surrounded by hills is the perfect hideout for Somali pirates, but millions of dollars collected as ransom has not helped this town to develop
- Most of the ships hijacked are taken to Eyl, for further negotiations with ship owners
- Has enough restaurants to supply food to pirates and the hostages
- All other necessary logistics are provided from this place to the hijacked vessels
- Many small boats are available here to provide service to the hijacked vessels
Reasons for Somali piracy
- Absence of a stable, functional government in Somalia since 1990s. This led to
- Deprival of income to Somalis from their only source of fishing due to fishing activity by the international trawlers off Somalia, as there was no government in Somalia to stop these illegal trawlers from fishing in Somali waters
- Initially the Somalis started patrolling the coast with weapons, to protect their fishing community from international trawlers
- Later, Somalis turned as pirates to hijack ships as more returns were coming from hijacking ships
- Due to lack of good governance, almost a generation has grown up without education in poor living conditions.
- Lack of education has resulted in growing unemployment, forcing the young Somalis to take up piracy as their profession.
- The threat from international warships on anti piracy operations, has further discouraged the Somali fishermen from fishing and these fishermen find it easier to support pirates to earn their income.
- The international community is not taking any result oriented action to bring political stability in Somalia.
Somali piracy in future:
- as international warships on anti piracy mission mount pressure on pirates, the threat to the lives of the hostages by the pirates is increasing.
- the pirates may harm the hostages, rob the hostages of their belongings and may not spare the cargo or the vessel itself.
View these amazing video clips from Al Jazeera:
- Lucrative raids lure Somali youth to piracy – 15 June 09 (3 minutes)
- Life inside the den of Somali pirates – 16 Jun 09 (3 minutes)
- Pirates’ Haven – 17 June 09 – Part 1 (11 minutes)
- Pirates’ Haven – 17 June 09 – Part 2 (10 minutes)
- Somalia needs help to combat piracy – 17 Jun 09 (3 minutes)
- Somali pirates face public backlash – 18 Jun 09 (2 minutes)
- Anguish grows in Somalia over piracy – 19 Jun 09 (3 minutes)
Post in MarineBuzz on this day a year before:
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