The start of the civil war in Somalia from early 1990 has seen an increase in piracy which is posing a big threat in the international shipping industry. Somali is located in the horn of Africa and is in the neighborhood with Kenya, Djibouti, the Indian Ocean, and the Gulf of Aden. Somali got its independence in 1959. Though they had a hopeful start after independence, the wrangles between the south and north as well as the Ogaden dispute has for many years seen Somalia remain unstable with the unending fight between them. The wrangles between north and south were contributed by the fact that they spoke different languages which were English and Italian. They also had a variation in cultural priorities as well as currencies.
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This war between north and south was aggravated by secession by the north political party. The attempts to unite these two regions through rallying them against Ethiopia didn’t bore fruits. Somali people are divided into different territories where some individuals view it to have been caused by their colonial powers. Some of the root causes of fighting in Somali can be traced back to the 1960s when the Soviet Union trained Somali forces and provided equipment and in exchange, the Soviet Union used the naval bases in Somali. They also got military aid from the U.S to fight their neighbor Ethiopia. The crumbling politics saw the rejection of the elected leader in 1967 due to a clash in clan loyalties. Somalia has undergone several challenges including the assassination of president supermarket in 1969. This country is geographically well situated and lack of stable government and unending wars has led to most citizens getting access to weapons of destruction like guns, tanks among others. The lack of stable government can be said to have contributed a lot to the currently increasing problems of piracy along the Kenyan Somalia coast. (Gibbons 152)
As mentioned earlier, piracy is posing a major threat not only to particular countries but to the world as a whole. First is the increased cost in the shipping industry. This is happening through the delayed time of arrival to the destined country when the ship is held by pirates. Sometimes the time taken by pirates to negotiate about the ransom is too long meaning the ship might miss some trips it could have made were it free. Most of the countries in that region are known to depend on food aid due to the nature of economic situations. Pirates in the recent past have held hostage many ships carried food. 90% of food from world food Programmes are transported via the sea.
This delay has coasted the current lives of some hungry people who die due to lack of food when in a real sense it happens to be in the hands of pirates. Statistics from the Kenya government indicate in 12 months before November 2008, the pirates had received more than 150 million U.S dollars. Previously, Somali pirates had been hijacking ships in the Gulf of Aden but from 2008 their interest expanded toward ships that were headed to Mombassa port in Kenya. Some pirates are known to be former fishermen who have argued that foreign fishers have threatened their livelihood through fishing in what they call their waters. Initially, it wasn’t a major problem but after warlords realized that the ransom paid was enormous, they started to facilitate pirates to share the profit. The current situation of Somali pirates is of big concern for with such ransom paid to them, it can easily elevate the terrorist activities. The warlords after getting such a huge amount of money can afford to fund terrorist activities that have posed a threat to the whole world.
According to Smith (75), the president can play a vital role in an attempt to overcome the illegal actions of pirates. Education and dispatch of information play a vital role in enlightening the citizens. It will be therefore important if vital information is on the reach of citizens who will have a clear understanding of how the pirates operate. This will form the basis of organizing seminars and workshops on how one can evade their traps and how to behave when trapped. The president should also be at the forefront to join other countries that are sending the naval ships along the dangerous waters in Somalia coast to beef up security and make sure any ship that is going anywhere closer to pirate’s operation areas is given the maximum security. Here some military ships can be at Mombassa where they can provide the necessary security as they approach Mombassa Port.
Closely related to these points, the state should have some of its military people get good training on how to combat piracy. The state should also ensure that such training goes along with weapons that are superior to what pirates are known to use. The shipowner should liaise with the government which will help in setting terms that will reduce the chances of their ship being hijacked.
Terrorism is a major threat to the world. With the huge amount of money being paid to pirates, this can lay a foundation for terror groups having enough money to fund their operations. The world should join forces together to see an end of piracy and to stop paying ransom to pirates. It will be of great benefit to improve on-water patrols and increase security agents across the danger zones. The non-governmental organizations should join hands towards looking for the best way forward since the problem might soon get out of hand if not well tackled. It has been estimated by World Bank that around 73% of the Somali population lives below a daily income of $2. The high amounts paid to pirates have attracted many young men into this business. It, therefore, follows that the world should work towards alleviating poverty levels and support the Somali government so that more youths can get alternative means of earning. This will help in preventing many youths from piracy. Countries believed to sell weapons to pirates like Yemen should be dealt with by the international communities and strict measures are placed on pirates. (Metzler 245)
As noted by William (614), pirates have threatened the world and their activities. Despite the presence of security from various countries like the U.S, Kenya, and France among others, the pirates’ operations have not stopped. Recently a U.S. ship was hijacked though the crew managed to overpower the pirates and some pirates being killed by security agents from the U.S. this might make pirates change the way they used to treat the captives as well as launching revenge on the U.S. This issue calls for seriousness as it can lead to animosity between various countries and a larger extent lead to war. Commitment from countries and states should be beefed up and work towards bringing this problem to an end once and for all.
Gibbons, Timothy J. San Navy Helicopter Squadron Assists Fighting Against The Pirate, Washington: Longhorn Books, 2009.
Smith, B. Somali pirates. New York: Macmillan Books, 2007.
Metzler, J and Hari, J. The History of Pirate, German: Oxford Books, 1999.
William, D. War on Pilates, London: Smart Books, 2003.