Love ’em or hate ’em, the Somali pirates got guts and now your attention. Now I am in now way condoning what they are doing, but I think that the American media has sensationalized this issue that the history of how this came to be is completely lost. There’s pressure to come up with a solution, but without careful consideration of the underlying factors, Africans will again be the losers.
History of Somali Piracy:
- It is widely known that Western countries have for decades dumped toxic waste (including nuclear – radioactive uranium -waste) off the coast of Somalia. Some speculate that this started after the collapse of Siad Barre’s regime in1991 others say it started before. (The likes of Lawrence Summers?) UNEP, whose head quarters are in neighbouring Kenya, knew of the problem but said that the area was too insecure to do any research. Read this interesting article.
- The collapsed government also prompted illegal fishing by European, Asian and Middle Eastern firms as the Gulf of Aden is widely regarded as a rich fishing ground. In the face of the lack of patrol ships, it is the current day pirates who acted as coast guards. Read another article.
- As to how these coast guards became pirates is up for debate, perhaps they were fed up, could be greed, or they became organized and just took it to the next level. Whatever the case – here were are with 33 ships hijacked and $33 million paid out to pirates in the Somali waters over the past 6 months. Funny how the world wasn’t concerned when the non-Africans were the ones illegally making money (or deals) off the Somali seas.
Found this interesting link, piracy isn’t just for Somali’s apparently Cameroonians and Nigerians have their own thing going on too :-0 Weekly Piracy Report Nov 11th -17th.