Has piracy drawn the world’s attention towards Somalia?

As Somali pirates increase and intensify their operations, in capturing ships on the Indian Ocean and taking hostage of all the crew members on these vessels for a ransom, the international community has also turned its attention to the activities of these pirates in a bid to end the crisis caused by their actions on this sea.

As Somali pirates increase and intensify their operations, in capturing ships on the Indian Ocean and taking hostage of all the crew members on these vessels for a ransom, the international community has also turned its attention to the activities of these pirates in a bid to end the crisis caused by their actions on this sea.

Recently, American war ships and marine forces rescued an American ship, dramatically rescuing its captain who had remained in captivity of the pirates. The operation took the lives of three Somali pirates while four of them captured. A few days ago, the French marine forces also rescued another ship from the pirates and captured ten more of them.

In retaliation the pirates have also vowed to attack and kill crew members on the American and French vessels and they have indeed began attacking them with the most recent attack being on the American vessel, which they shot at with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades. But fortunately or, unfortunately to them, none of the crew members sustained any injuries.

The world has also vowed to make sure that the acts of piracy on the Indian Ocean end, with over ten powerful countries, sending their marine forces to the East African and Somali coast.

However, the pirates seem to be unfazed by the presence of these forces and have, instead, increased their attacks and they now have in captive over  sixteen vessels that they captured in a period of not beyond two weeks.

According to some analysts, the war against piracy will not end soon largely because the pirates have amassed a lot of wealth through the ransoms they acquire from the captured ships and have used the money they get to buy sophisticated weapons, that then encourage them to face even the strongest marine forces in the world.

Another argument is that the Indian Ocean is simply too large for the few marine forces provided by the ten countries to easily control and provide the necessary and sufficient security required to guarantee safe and easy movement  of  the ships to their final destinations.

It is said that the sea has a surface area of about 2 million square miles that is largely the operation area of the pirates. It is not, therefore, easy for a small force without helicopters to control such a vast operational area and defeat the pirates.

It is essential that the world collectively stand up and fight against the actions of piracy that have become a question not to reckon with. I believe that if all the neighboring countries would participate in this war the pirates would find it very difficult to survive in such a hostile and harassing environment.

To some however, the question of piracy can become history if the Somali transitional government was sufficiently empowered to end the insurgency in Somalia.

To them, having a stable government in Somali means that the pirates will have no base on land and will become exposed to the marine forces dealing with them from the sea .

To echo the words of the Somali transitional government foreign minister, I also believe that without a stable state in Somalia the war against pirates is far from becoming a success.

Actually, the world has abandoned Somalia and I think it is high time the world turned its attention back to the abandoned land and help the government there to stabilize.

In fact, one may think that for the Somalis to  get involved in acts of piracy was a way of showing the world that they are tired of the suffering they have experienced in the past more than twenty years.

Statistics show that only last year over one hundred vessels were captured and about 815 people held hostage.

This year, so far over twenty five ships were captured and more than three hundred and fifty people held captives of which up to now 16 vessels and two hundred and fifty people remain in captivity.

It is very encouraging for the world to have pronounced itself strongly against piracy and having taken a step towards its total elimination.

It might not be easy to have them all eliminated but I believe that with determination the pirates cannot hang on for a long time.

phatari@yahoo.co.uk   

 

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