Pirate attacks in Somalia

According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the pirate attacks in Somalia’s waters have dropped by a large number. In the last few years, Somalia had become famous for its pirates. The waters around Somalia are very important for the shipping world, and many ships travel through the area every year. Somali pirates would attack ships, hijack them, and demand money for returning the ship and crew. There were 237 recorded piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia in 2011, 75 in 2012, and 15 in 2013. The total piracy attacks worldwide in 2013 were 264. The reasons for decreased pirate activity are a more stable government in Somalia, more security on the ships sailing through, and more navy forces from various countries patrolling the waters off the Somali coast.

Somalia was created by joining two territories governed by the United Kingdom and Italy in 1960. In 1991, various clans in Somalia had overthrown the government of the country, and a war had broken out. Different groups fought to gain control of the country. In 2004, a government was put in place in Somalia with help from the international community, but this government had not been able to control the country. One of the groups had taken over large parts of Somalia, including parts of the capital, Mogadishu. In 2011, with the help of troops from other African countries, Mogadishu came back under the government’s control. In 2012, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected as Somalia’s new president. In 2013, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed was selected as Somalia’s new prime minister. As time is going on, more of the country is coming back under the government’s control.

This whole pirate business in Somalia started in the early 1990s. There was no stable government. People from other nations started illegally fishing in Somalia’s waters. The Somali fishermen used to scare off boats from other countries. Some people realized that this was an easy way to make money, and pirate attacks increased. By 2010, “piracy” had become a popular business model. Eyl, a town in north-eastern Somalia, had become a place for hijacked vessels to anchor while waiting for a ransom payment. The town even had special restaurants whose only business was to provide food for the crews of hijacked ships!

Some of the other areas in the world with pirate activity include the waters around Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and India. Here is a live piracy map for 2014.

IMB is an organisation that watches out for sea-related crime and fraud.

Did you know?

Captain Phillips is a Hollywood movie released in 2013. The story is based on Somali pirates attacking an American ship. The film has recently received several Academy Award nominations, including one for the Best Picture.

Image Credits: U.S. Navy for Navy Ships’ image, Eric Gaba for Eyl Map’s image
Sources: http://www.somaligov.net/, http://www.icc-ccs.org/, time.com, un.org