The Problem of Piracy in Somalia

0
piracy in somalia

The phenomenon of Somali piracy has received considerable media coverage in recent years. In essence, this is a truly unprecedented phenomenon. I also consider the way of its solution at the international level, and finally the foreign policy role of the European Union as a leading actor in the current global crisis management, to be unique. Let us now look at the problem of Somali piracy in context.

Interestingly, maritime piracy is of great interest to the media, although not as many soldiers are involved in anti-piracy operations as in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.[1] I therefore consider it important to reflect on the importance of Somali piracy. What threat does it pose to the world today? Is it worthwhile to use naval forces against him at all? What are the costs of tolerating or combating piracy? And how do pirate organizations work?

Historically, piracy has always appeared in areas of Hobbs anarchy and injustice.[2] For their activities, pirates necessarily needed a terrestrial background that would not be threatened by the competitive power of states.[3] Few initial pirate attacks were tolerated, however, the increasing intensity of raids by merchant vessels by pirate groups mostly led naval holders to attack hard and ruthlessly at pirate bases, including the capture or execution of pirate leaders.[4] Somali piracy is not very different in this respect, as it similarly exploits the absence of state power in Somalia. However, the current naval powers, unlike the previous ones, act according to different standards than in the past, and the attacks on pirate bases are not yet undertaken by states, although the UN Security Council resolution explicitly authorizes them to do so.

Origin, development and extent of the problem

The beginnings of Somali piracy date back to the 1990s, when the disintegration of the state power of the former Somali Republic was completed. At that time, the first armed groups began operating in the Somali EEE to protect fisheries, which the disintegrated state was no longer able to take care of.[5] Over time, Somali coastal communities have faced not only illegal fishing in the country’s territorial waters, but also emerging landfills for toxic waste from abroad. Even then, it became clear that the Somalis did not have sufficiently effective means to protect their own fishing grounds or the coast, but the world was only marginally interested in Somalia after the failed international intervention.[6] The first pirate groups actually originated in impoverished coastal areas such as Eyl , Hobyo or Xarardheere ,[7] and among the first victims of the attacks were Danish and Spanish fishing boats.[8] Neither then nor today, Somali pirates did not seek to rob the vessel or its cargo, but from the beginning demanded a ransom in cash for the return of the ship and the release of the crew, as a kind of “ tax ” on fishing in Somali waters. However, the vision of a huge profit quickly attracted the mercenaries of local militias, who did not care at all about the protection of fishing grounds, and further attacks were carried out against all vessels without distinction.[9] It was common practice in disintegrated Somalia to sell illegal “fishing licenses” by local leaders to foreign fishing companies, which threatened the survival of local fishing communities. Both parties benefited from such a license – one could fish undisturbed for a minimum fee ( $ 15-30 thousand per season ), and the other could use personal enrichment for private purposes, mostly financing their own militias, illegal arms purchases, etc. In Somalia, there were many such “ Agreements between thieves ” – European companies and prominent military leaders of post-dictatorship Somalia.[10]

The original desperate defense of Somali fishermen has thus developed into an organized crime of piracy, threatening all vessels without exception. As early as 2002, the northeastern region of Somalia, called “Puntland” , became the epicenter of piracy . However, the required ransom was then about ten times smaller than today – ” only ” 50-200 thousand USD.[11] The number of pirate attacks has gradually increased to current extremes. The following table illustrates the increase in piracy incidents near Somalia:[12]

The rise of Somali piracy in 2006-2011

Time period 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 *
Total number of attacks in the world 239 263 293 406 445 156
Number of attacks by Somali pirates 10 44 111 217 219 107
The share of Somali pirates in the total 4% 17% 38% 53% 49% 69%
  • only until April 14, 2011; Table 2

Source: ICC IMB PRC and others – see annex

Further statistics and interesting facts about the problem of Somali piracy, in the form of graphs, tables and maps, are given in the appendix.

After a long pause, in the 1990s, the international problem of sea piracy was back on the agenda. At first with the epicenter in Southeast Asia, which the cooperating Asian states were able to cope very successfully, but later the gradual decline of South Asian piracy was replaced by the gradual rise of Somali piracy.[13] Its geographical expansion is clearly illustrated by the following map:

While analyzing data on pirate incidents, we need to realize two important facts. First, this map, and with it most of the media, consider piracy and armed robbery against ships in the territorial waters of states to be piracy ( that is, they do not use the legal definition of UNCLOS, but their own). Second, data on the incidence of piracy are limited in the sense that not all IMB pirates are able to record it, as the private shipping sector may be reluctant to report piracy due to increased cost if piracy increases insurance rates. for transport ships, not to mention the possible time and financial costs of investigations. The number of unannounced but carried out attacks by pirates is estimated by experts at up to 50% of the total. Statistics do not reflect such incidents at all.[14] However, the reported attacks also show a high increase in piracy in Somalia in 2005-2008, first in the Indian Ocean, and later in the Gulf of Aden and the southern estuary of the Red Sea. In 2008, piracy in Somalia reached unprecedented proportions. Attacks were carried out on any vessel, regardless of fishing or non-fishing vessels. Since then, the IMB has been recording Somali piracy at extreme levels of occurrence, with bases particularly in Puntland , which has become the most dangerous territory in the world when it comes to the threat of maritime piracy.[15]

Although the IMB has been drawing attention to the deteriorating situation for several years, Somali piracy became known to the world as a serious international problem at the end of 2008, when attacks on media targets such as the giant oil tanker Sirius Star from Saudi Arabia or Ukraine a ship full of Russian tanks on its way to Mombasa, which was attacked by 50 armed pirates at once.[16] Piracy has suddenly become a new sector of the Somali economy as companies and insurers have begun to pay ransoms worth millions of dollars, and bribery of politicians in Puntland has become the largest source of foreign currency. Although the criminal pirate economy gradually took over Puntland , it maintained at least a minimum of order and stability despite corruption, in contrast to the struggle of the troubled south.[17]

We could divide Somali piracy into three very different periods. The first, early post-dictatorship period ( circa 1991-1998 ) probably concerned the desperate efforts of local fishermen, or even petty thieves accidentally attacking passing boats. In the second period at the turn of the century, there were already occasional attacks on both fishing and merchant boats and private luxury yachts, often with the involvement of local clan leaders. The third, current period ( roughly 2005-2011 ) is characterized by a new approach of pirates, concerning their tactics, organization and effectiveness. Today’s pirates attack large vessels, hold hostages and ships for a very long time, and demand a much higher ransom for their release. All indications are that pirates (formerly members of the self-proclaimed “Somali Coast Guard” ), quickly realized the financial profitability of their actions and decided to professionalize piracy activities by expanding material equipment, armaments, facilities and areas of operation, taking advantage of the fearless anchoring of a hijacked ship on the Somali coast.[18]

Motives and goals of pirates

In general, knowing the causes of a problem takes us a step further in solving it. I therefore consider it appropriate to address briefly the motives that lead Somali pirates to action. Some current pirates, when releasing the ship for ransom, leave behind messages such as: ” NO PIRATS, SOMALI MARINES “, etc.[19] There is a lively discussion among experts about who the Somali pirates are, what they are trying to do, and how theyrelateto “ their job ” – the crime of piracy. Although the international community uncompromisingly condemns piracy, there are also critical voices that take into account several factors that, in their view, justify certain motives or actions by pirates. They often talk about illegal fishing in Somali territorial waters by foreign companies[20] and the illegal dumping of toxic waste in Somalia, which, of course, Somalis cannot defend effectively in the absence of state institutions.[21] However, the role of the 2004 tsunami is also analyzed,[22] and a number of socio-economic, natural and military-political factors within Somalia.

The quantification of losses from illegal fishing in Somali waters is estimated at about five billion crowns a year,[23] which are divided by foreign private companies, most often from the EU ( Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Great Britain ), Asia ( Japan, Taiwan, South Korea ), but also from Russia, nearby India, Yemen and Egypt.[24] Many point out that robbing the world’s poorest people should be punished with as much as Somali piracy, as FAO estimates for 2005 speak of 700 illegal fishing boats in Somali waters.[25] In this respect, the emergence of piracy in Somalia can be seen as a response by fishermen to the injustices and injustices that have taken place, with coastal communities deciding to secure their livelihoods illegally because no state or institution has helped them. But we are already coming to the moral dilemma of whether, in this case, the primary needs of the Somalis for food and clothing or the secondary needs of the security of international trade take precedence.[26] In any case, Somali’s territorial waters and EEE are among the richest areas for fishing ever, and foreign ships have persevered in trying to use the chaos in Somalia to their advantage, even by force, after the fall of the Barre dictatorship in 1991.[27]

The motives of pirates for business attacks may be different, but sometimes understandable. The practice of Somali foreign xenophobic attitudes abroad will certainly not be helped by the practice of illegal dumping of toxic waste on the Somali coast, as evidenced by the UN Special Envoy for Somalia.[28] Paradoxically, stricter EU standards for the disposal of toxic waste can unfortunately lead to unintentional support for the illegal storage of toxic substances in poor countries with poor law enforcement, such as Somalia. Estimates suggest about a hundred times cheaper “ disposal ” of toxic waste in this way. Unfortunately, toxic substances spread across the coastal areas of Somalia during the December 2004 tsunami, in the vicinity of Eyl ( one of the current pirate centers ).[29]

The rise of piracy in the coming period is likely to be linked to the devastation of Somalia’s coastal areas, including the livelihood fishing equipment mentioned by the tsunami – between Xaafuun and Garacad ( in the Bari and Mudug regions ),[30] which would correspond to today’s pirate areas. Somalia has actually been affected by several natural disasters. First a prolonged devastating drought, leading to the decline of pastoralism (the main livelihood of the Somalis ), and then a tsunami, exacerbated by alluvium of toxic waste, which destroyed much of the fishing equipment in what we now consider “ pirate territory “.[31] For foreign fishing companies, the political anarchy and the rich water resources of Somalia have become too much of an attraction to resist and have decided to abuse.[32]

Although much attention has been paid to the illegal activities of foreign vessels in Somali waters and to the socio-economic factors driving piracy, the UN expert monitoring group has concluded that their importance in understanding and resolving the problem is minimal. Unfortunately, illegal fishing continues on Somali territory, but neither pirates nor their supporters have long been a concern. Of the total number of vessels attacked in 2009, fishing vessels accounted for only 6.5%, of which only one vessel was attacked by pirates in Somali waters. Either pirates are no longer interested in illegal fishing, or their leaders have agreed to sell ” permits ” to these ships in exchange for protection.[33]

Logically, we could consider endemic poverty and unemployment as possible causes of piracy. While the average Somali earns about 1,000 crowns a month, a single pirate earns 15,000 crowns for one successful attack.34] Unemployment in Somalia reaches an incredible 50% in places, and most pirates admit that they only seek funding.[35] Nevertheless, experts consider these causes to be secondary and emphasize the importance of the intra-Somal security and political situation,[36] as well as the role of shipping companies. On the one hand, in order to reduce costs, they reduced the security of their ships too much,[37] and secondly, they quickly adopted a strategy of pirates in paying large amounts of ransom for hostages, as part of corporate costs.[38] At present, we can consider piracy to be the only promising sector of the Somali economy. In addition, there is a danger that millions of young unemployed Somalis will be lured into this criminal activity when they see successful and rich pirates in their neighborhood, sometimes considered heroes.[39] In the end, what prevails in the decisions of an ordinary Somali, the will to break free from the belief of poverty, or the fear of imprisonment?[40]

So far, there is no indication that Somali pirates are pursuing political goals.[41] Many of them try to save on emigration from Somalia and travel to Europe via Uganda, Ethiopia or the UAE during a few attacks.[42] In exceptional cases, some attacks were accompanied by a desire for revenge for their killed friends[43] or coerced by force to cooperate in piracy (however, most coastal communities work with pirates voluntarily for a fee. )[44] The hijackers of the Ukrainian ship Faina, full of tanks, admitted in an interview via satellite phone that they were aware of the evil they were committing. On the other hand, they defend themselves by saying that piracy provides them with a unique solution to their situation. They just want to get rich without physically hurting anyone, and when it comes to theft, developed countries have enough money.[45] Let us realize that piracy in Somalia has sometimes gained a certain level of favor, as society’s values ​​have been guaranteed to be distorted by years of conflict and violence.[46] However, the crime of piracy cannot be considered a legitimate response to Somalia’s internal crisis, although the pirates themselves are trying to present their activities as beneficial to Somalis when some become patrons of local development. Although piracy may solve some of the problems, it creates significantly more of them and may exacerbate the conflict situation in Somalia. It enriches the group of desperate people who were brought to the crime by the vision of their own enrichment, not the needs of others.[47] The original motivation of fishermen to protect their territories from thieves was thus probably overwhelmed by a crowd of militants who did not hesitate to offer their military experience with the prospect of rapid enrichment, but also by a group of investors who decided to bet their fortunes on the promising crime of piracy.[48]

Modus operandi piracy

The way in which Somali pirates operate has attracted much attention. In particular, the level of professionalism of pirates is being discussed. Although many describe the development of Somali piracy from petty theft to international organized crime,[49] which includes investors, spies in ports and providers of facilities in other countries than Somalia,[50] The conclusions of the UN Expert Monitoring Group are surprising. In fact, too much dramatized piracy is different. No evidence of the general maturity and equipment of pirates with weapons, technology or information has been confirmed. On the contrary, most pirates attack quite by accident, which is confirmed by several smiling cases where they tried to accidentally attack the warships of patrolling states.[51] A large proportion of pirates are illiterate and unemployed men who can find work at most as an armed guard. The only successful abduction can bring them up to three years’ salary of a security guard. Many such pirates come from nomadic inland communities, they can’t even swim and they don’t know the sea.[52] They are also easily persuaded by the illusion that they have the right to attack ships, which leave Somalia poor.[53]

Unlike amateur groups, there are also some organizations, such as the so-called ” Somali Marines “, which confirm the ability to effectively coordinate pirates according to a longer-term strategic plan, quality technological equipment and submission to a unified command.[54] Paradoxically, some of the more capable pirates were previously trained abroad for the role of the Somali Coast Guard.[55] These pirates use the services of middlemen to collect ransoms in Kenya or the UAE, they know how to use satellite phones and laptops in abductions, and they have virtually no reason for violence.[56] Compared to the conflicts taking place on land, Somali pirates are actually among the most peaceful criminals in the region.[57]

The easiest targets of their attacks are slow-moving ships with a low-lying deck or large ships with a small crew that cannot effectively patrol.[58] A typical pirate attack is carried out by a group of ten or more pirates on three to five speedboats. While some distract the crew, others get on board with hooks and ladders,[59] The crew is intimidated by submachine gun shots or rocket-propeller grenade explosions ( without injuring anyone ), and crew members are forced to surrender.[60] It usually takes between 15-30 minutes between the first sighting of pirates and the hijacking of a ship. However, patrol boats are usually too far away to intervene in such a short time.[61] The hijacked vessel will be transported by pirates to the Somali shores, where they will start negotiating a ransom for the release of the ship and hostages, which can last for several months.[62] Organized groups of pirates divide the work between hijackers ( often experienced militia fighters ) and guards who take care of anchored ships, hostages and food supplies. The whole event is commanded by a leader who takes care of bribing local “ law enforcement officers ” and also hires auxiliary forces, such as fishermen who know the sea, interpreters, etc.[63] The role of financial sponsors of piracy is considered key to addressing it.[64] By mooring ships off the coast of Somalia, pirates gain relative certainty that the catch is safe from external aggression, as they usually dock where they can count on the support of local fishing communities.[65] Unlike Asian pirates, Somali anarchy on land and impunity benefit from long-term ransom bargaining.[66] They do not have to hide anywhere, because their firepower is not equal to the local authorities.[67]

Today’s Somalia functions as a system of quasi-state structures with limited power, most of which reflect the traditional Somali clan dynamics that have also given rise to piracy. Clans are an integral part of Somali society, organized in all respects on a clan basis, although tribalism is not the driving force behind piracy.[68] Although the Somali Republic has disintegrated and central power has disappeared, many other entities have at least partially replaced it.[69] The current TFG in Mogadishu is struggling to survive with rival militant groups and lacks the capacity to curb piracy on land.[70] Therefore, local authorities remain an important partner for cooperation with international forces, especially on land.

Somali pirates are operating in groups that five UN experts have so far identified. They are usually organized around cities and each group is dominated by one of the clans. Three pirate groups from the Hawiiye / Habar Gidir clan in southern ( Islamist ) Somalia operate from the ports of Mogadishu, Xarardheere and Hobyo, and two more in northern Puntland from Garacad and Eyl . It was Puntland who infamous stood out as the epicenter of piracy, which grew into all spheres of local political self-government through corruption.[71] It created a “ coastguard “under pressure from the international community,[72] which, according to Puntland President Abdirahman M. Farole, includes only two ships and thirty guards, can say no more.[73] President Farole has publicly promised to end piracy in a matter of months and has had several raids on local gangs, which, in addition to piracy, also engage in arms or human trafficking. However, evidence of local authority complicity casts a shadow and doubts about their will to turn piracy.[74] The most famous pirate leader, Abshir Abdillahi “ Boyah “, a native of Eyl , who publicly admitted to controlling about 500 pirates and being responsible for dozens of hijacked ships, belongs to the exact same clan (ethnic) group as President of Puntandu – Daarood / Xaarti / Majeerteen / Issa Mohamud / Musa Issa . Boyah claims that local politicians receive 30% of the ransom from piracy, but himself, under pressure from Farole, has publicly stated that he is aware of the illegality of piracy and has allegedly abandoned the crime.[75] The only ones who really condemn piracy are traditional clan leaders and Muslim clerics, who discourage locals from cooperating with pirates and declare marriages with them null and void under Islamic law.[76]

While in central and southern Somalia piracy can be described as a product of stateless anarchy and warlordism , in the northeast of the country it is not. The Puntland self-government benefits from and protects the pirate economy. After 12 years of relatively positive development in Puntland , the administration of President AM Farole is trying to transform the country into a criminal state that survives thanks to illegal revenues from criminal networks.[77] It seems extremely unlikely, if we abstract from the military invasion and occupation, that the international community would be able to end the protection of pirates in cities like Eyl or Xarardheere without the support of Puntland .[78] As for the independentnorth-west of Somaliland , the local government has taken a firm anti-piracy stance and, despite limited resources, has been building a Coast Guard since 2005, which now employs 350 guards, 15 speedboats and 3 large ships on the 850 km long coastline. monitoring stations work.[79]

The concentration of piracy in Puntland and around Xarardheere and Hobyo in central Somalia, which is severely limited to certain clans, confirms the fact that neither poverty nor the geographical proximity of maritime transport routes can be considered key drivers of piracy. Rather, it is necessary to examine socio-political relations within Somali regions. In central Somalia, where pirates cannot count on such political protection as in Puntland , pirates must win most of the locals. Maxamed Xasan Abdi “Afweyne” founded another large pirate organization here, which survives thanks to the distribution of part of the wealth to the locally dominant subclan Habar Gidir Saleebaan .[80] Furthermore, it was found that changes in the concentration of pirate activities respond flexibly to domestic political developments and the deployment of warships of many great powers. The growing failure rate of attacks in the Gulf of Aden has forced pirate gangs to relocate operations to vast areas of the Indian Ocean, where it is virtually impossible to fight them effectively. Pirates are now launching attacks far beyond the Somali coast, using even the Yemeni ports of Al-Mukalla and Ash Shihr.[81] So far, the pirates have launched the farthest attack 1,800 km from their base, much closer to India than Somalia.[82] The ability to operate at very long distances is given to pirates by so-called mother ships. As a rule, these are freshly hijacked larger fishing boats, which the pirates take to another area, from where they are just launching their attacks as if from a naval base.[83] However, mother ships also allow pirates to hijack larger and faster vessels.[84]

Ransom and economic model of piracy

The uniqueness of Somali pirates lies in the abduction of people in the first place, not ships, as is usual with pirates. Somalis are trying to take advantage of the existing gap between the ” monetary ” value of human life in Somalia and in rich countries.[85] Somali piracy can therefore be characterized as a business of maritime kidnappings and hostage-taking ransom, without the violence and murder common to pirates in other areas who try to rob a ship without seeking ransom. In short, because they do not have the background and room for negotiation as in Somalia, nor are they able to confront their country’s security forces militarily.[86] So the background of the Somali pirates does not lie in the possibility of hiding thoroughly,[87] such as in Nigeria or South-East Asia, but on the contrary, either intimidate or bribe local authorities, which is possible in the conditions of disintegrated states such as Somalia, especially if the practice of paying large ransoms works.[88] Significant amounts of cash are usually paid through a hired private security agency, which drops a bundle of banknotes directly on board the hijacked ship.[89] InJanuary 2010, more than 125 million crowns were paidfor the release of the Maran Centaurus oil tanker, which was flying under the Greek flag (the tanker carried almost 3 billion crowns worth of oil ).[90] Pirates, educated in Arabic and knowledgeable of price bargaining techniques, know very well what amounts of ransom they can and cannot demand, depending on the value of the ship, the cargo, the number of crew, but also the property of the owner or his nationality.[91]

The importance of the ransom cannot be underestimated, especially in Puntland , where already in 2007 the amounts of the ransom represented a higher amount than the entire ( legal ) Puntland economy combined.[92] A significant part of the ransom is spent by pirates directly in Garoow , the capital of Puntland , where expensive houses are being built and luxury cars are appearing on the streets. It is difficult for the local government, with its current budget, to put an end to piracy, as it hijacks three times as much as pirates. Relatively easily and quickly, the tax-free income from piracy leaves a significant mark on the entire Puntland economy. They can also easily influence election campaigns and their results so that the winning candidate does not jeopardize the pirate business.[93] A large part of the Puntland coastline is booming in construction, including the towns of Xarardheere and Eyl , but also Nairobi, Kenya, where Somalis like to invest. On the other hand, pirates bring dangerous inflation, prostitution and khat traders to their centers.[94]

Tracing pirates’ financial transactions remains a major challenge for the international community. Pirates use a system of financial institutions called “hawala” ,[95] which bases its “ banking ” operations on trust, honor and kinship, so that it is practically impossible to map financial flows. That is why it is usually used by criminals to launder money, buy weapons and finance illegal activities. In many countries, hawala has already beenbanned by law to curb crime, but it is still busy in Somalia.[96] It is also practically impossible to catch pirates alone after obtaining a cash ransom. Pirates immediately divide the ransom among their members and gradually disperse as individuals, with smaller amounts of cash, among the locals, where it is no longer possible to identify or capture them.[97] Of the successfully obtained ransom, suppliers will first be paid for goods, 30% will be paid to investors / piracy sponsors, 5-10% will be paid to local clan leaders for the right to reside on their territory, then paid to guards, interpreters, etc. for their services. ( usually around 250,000 crowns ) and the remaining part of the ransom will be shared among pirates – kidnappers, whose reward is usually higher, because they risk their lives in attacks. A double share will be won by a pirate who was the first to get on board a drifting ship, as well as those who provide more expensive weapons to attack than a submachine gun, ie rocket launcher, light machine gun, etc.[98]

Investing in piracy can be used through the Xarardheere ” trading exchange ” , which ordinary Somalis can use to invest their own shares and generate part of the proceeds of the pirate business by investing funds or firearms.[99] Similar investment opportunities in the development of piracy raise legitimate concerns about the organization and scale of criminal networks that promote piracy and their possible links to terrorist organizations. There is talk of intermediaries and contacts in Yemen, the UAE, Egypt,[100] and support for part of the Somali diaspora in Canada,[101] or on the cooperation of radical Islamists from Al-Shabab with American Somalis directly in Somalia.[102]

Al-Shabab and pirates

alshabaab

The end of piracy and, secondly, the averting of the threat of radical Islamism can be seen as two key strategic objectives of the international community in Somalia.[103] The Somali problem lies in not disturbing the delicate balance between radicals on the one hand, long sponsored by both wealthy Gulf states and parts of the Somali diaspora living in Europe and the US, and on the other hand by opposition to a radical interpretation of Islam. to be satisfied with the limited support of Ethiopia, the supply of remittances and revenues from local businesses, among which piracy has recently gained a dominant position.[104] This is particularly the case in north-eastern Somalia, which was organized in the 1990s into an entity called Puntland to face radical Al-Ittihad, as Al-Shabab now faces.[105] Unlike southern Somalia, Puntland has notbeen ruled by Islamic radicals for a long time.[106]

Gradually, there is evidence of cooperation between pirates and Islamists from Al-Shabab . While pirates may offer Islamists to smuggle weapons into the country (an arms embargo applies in Somalia), al-Shabab in return provides military training to some pirates.[107] However, we must realize that despite the advantages of bilateral cooperation and sometimes the same goals, the motives of both groups are diametrically different. Pirates are parasitizing on international shipping and are attracting too much international attention with their growing activity. Al-Shabab, on theother hand,seeks to subtly import weapons, supplies and foreign fighters. Pirates need the military training of al-Shabab fightersto better defend themselves against foreign commandos freeing hostages on ships, and Islamists, despite their anti-piracy rhetoric, are useful to the pirates in the south to operate without interruption.[108] Fears of terrorists’ cooperation with pirates werenot confirmedin the incident of the hijacked Faina ship, full of tanks and weapons, as the piratesdid not provideany weapons to the terrorists, despite Al-Shabab’s request.[109] Most pirates feel no resistance to the Western lifestyle, nor to radical Islam.[110] UN experts consider pirates’ cooperation with terrorists to be limited locally and personally, and see a greater threat in the Libyan government’s support for Somali pirates, expressed by Muammar Gaddafi at the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2009 after meetings with pirate leaders.[111]

The cost of the piracy problem

Why should the international community deal with Somali piracy at all? This question can be answered, at least in part, by drawing attention to the many costs of the problem of piracy. The impact of pirates on Somalia itself seems to be the most controversial. On the one hand, experts acknowledge that not all the consequences of piracy must be negative for Somalia, as the pirate economy offers many unemployed job opportunities in a country where the civil war has severely weakened the opportunities for legal gainful employment. In addition, ransom amounts, especially for Puntland , represent an inaccessible injection and recovery for the local economy by other means. Although accurate financial flow data are not available, evidence suggests that most of the profits from piracy remain within Somalia.[112] The economic development around pirate centers is in line with this, but poor infrastructure, the overall weak power of local public authorities, and the associated lack of law and order, do not help legal trade. On the contrary, the development of a pirated economy and arms trade reduces the importance of the legal sectors of the economy and puts more power in the hands of new leaders with unknown intentions.[113] Some of them have already earned the favor of sheikhs seeking to ostracize them due to rising prostitution, drugs and price inflation.[114]

Thus, piracy is a double-edged sword for Somalis and certainly carries many risks, for example in 2007 the WFP was forced to cut off humanitarian food supplies due to piracy. The risk of an environmental catastrophe is often mentioned, as giant oil tankers also fall victim to kidnappings.[115] Undoubtedly, piracy criminalises the Somali economy, discourages trade and investment in legal activities, reduces local government revenues from port dues, limits the traditional authority of the sheikhs, complicates state rebuilding, and generally delays Somalia’s connection to the world economy.[116]

The surrounding region, unlike Somalia, suffers exclusively from Somali piracy. The cumulative effect of piracy may be the decline of major shopping centers in the region.[117] Egypt, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen are experiencing an economic downturn due to piracy. Kenya and Oman are also at high risk. Government revenues related to maritime transport and ports are generally declining in the region.[118] The situation appears to be most sensitive for Egypt, as revenues from the Suez Canal represent the third source of wealth from abroad after tourism and remittances.[119] Significant revenue losses appear to have led Cairo to convene a closed-door regional conference on piracy in 2008.[120] Given the parallel effects of the global economic recession, the share of piracy in this decline is not entirely clear.[121] However, it will certainly not be negligible, as many major international carriers, including AP Møller-Maersk – the largest shipowner in Europe, now prefer to circumnavigate Africa to avoid the Gulf of Aden ( and the Suez Canal ).[122]

The international community recognized the negative aspects of its passivity towards piracy, in particular the threat of rapidly rising oil prices, inaction against expanding organized crime networks and the spillover of Somalia’s instability into the Horn of Africa region, and decided to combat piracy.[123] According to many, Somali piracy has exceeded the level of sustainability not only as a cost of international trade, but also as a threat to the region and the world. Today, the economic costs of piracy are no longer borne solely by sea carriers. Although there is currently no quantitative research on the total financial costs of piracy,[124] rough estimates, relating only to the costs of the maritime industry, speak of 20-300 billion crowns per year. However, if we add the expenditure on the fight against piracy, the amount would be much higher.[125] At the same time, let us realize that the peak period of piracy in Somalia is running in parallel with the global economic downturn, with much of the cost being passed on to vulnerable companies to consumers around the world.[126]

The average amount of the ransom demanded by Somali pirates in 2009 was around 30 million crowns, although the data on the amount of the ransom mostly remain secret.[127] But ransom is far from being the only cost to carriers. The operation of an average ship costs around a million crowns a day, so delaying a ship for two months costs the carrier another 60 million. To this must be added the normal 10 million costs of negotiating with pirates, the possible destruction or loss of part of the cargo, the cost of delays, and about 6 million for the physical delivery of a package of cash to the ship off the coast of Somalia. The normal hijacking of a ship can thus cost the carrier about 110-130 million crowns.[128] Private companies defend the ransom by keeping the level of hostage violence used to a minimum and accept it as part of operating costs. On the other hand, the ransom became the financial engine of further attacks. Increased costs will not be avoided even by owners of unmarried ships, who pay extreme insurance premiums or the installation of defensive equipment on their vessels.[129] The price of placing one’s own security on the ship remains at a prohibitive level and defensive acoustic devices cost around 500 thousand crowns.[130] As regards premiums, the Gulf of Aden was described by insurance companies as a “ war zone ” and the amount of premium payments per ship per pass increased during 2008 from 9 to 350 thousand crowns.[131]

In addition to the private sector’s costs passed on to consumers, let us emphasize the cost to states of operating warships fighting pirates at sea, as they are under enormous pressure from the media and public opinion to take action against their kidnappers. However, the position of the international community for the time being has been rather reluctant to prosecute and imprison pirates on its territory.[132] Apart from physical injuries, the negative consequences of piracy certainly include psychological traumas, which can affect abducted crew members for life.[133] On the other hand, the importance of Somali piracy should not be unnecessarily overestimated. At least because the impact on consumer prices is likely to be low,[134] According to at least some statistics. The cost of piracy could be compared to less than 0.1% of world international trade. Of the 21,000 ships that sail through the Gulf of Aden each year, about 0.6% are attacked by pirates and only 0.2% are successfully hijacked. From this point of view, we could argue that Somali piracy can be included in the cost of trade and small changes passed on to consumers.[135] However, piracy also brings a number of socio-political complications in the process of restoring state structures in Somalia, and also affects events in an unstable, strategically important region. That is why the EU has probably decided to solve the problem.

Author: 

Citations

[1] Naval History and Heritage Command Public Affairs. Media Attention Dramatizes Somali Piracy

[2] Owens, MT What to Do about Piracy?

[3] del Pozo, F. Aspects of Operations of the Air against the Piracy in Somalia, p. 2

[4] Lennox, P. Contemporary Piracy off the Horn of Africa, p. 2

[5] Kraska, J., Wilson, B. The Pirates off the Gulf of Aden: The Coalition is the Strategy, p. 249

[6] Lennox, P. Contemporary Piracy off the Horn of Africa, p. 8

[7] International Crisis Group. Somalia: The Trouble with Puntland, pp. 11

[8] Sörenson, K. State Failure on the High Seas: Reviewing the Somali Piracy, p. 17

[9] Kraska, J., Wilson, B. The Pirates off the Gulf of Aden: The Coalition is the Strategy, p. 249

[10] Maxamed Faarax Caydiid, Maxamed Siciid Xirsi Moorgan, Cismaan Xasan Cali Caato and Cali Mahdi Maxamed
viz Waldo, MA The Two Piracies in Somalia: Why the World Ignores the Other?

[11] Koknar, AM Terror on the High Seas

[12] The table uses the IMB definition of piracy, thus including piracy and armed robbery at sea

[13] Kraska, J. Wilson, B. Fighting Pirates: The Pen and the Sword, p. 44

[14] Chalk, P. Maritime Piracy: Reasons, Dangers and Solutions, p. 2

[15] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, p. 14

[16] Hanson, S. Combating Maritime Piracy; and also Lennox, P. Contemporary Piracy off the Horn of Africa, p. 10

[17] Kraska, J. Freakonomics of Maritime Piracy, pp. 112-113

[18] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, pp. 18-19

[19] Leach, PT Lessons in Piracy Prevention, p. 32

[20] Waldo, MA The Two Piracies in Somalia: Why the World Ignores the Other?

[21] Hari, J. You Are Being Lied to About Pirates

[22] United Nations Environment Program. After the Tsunami: Rapid Environmental Assessment, pp. 128-135

[23] Warner, LA From Sea to Shore: Somali Piracy Requires a Solution on Land, p. 13

[24] Waldo, MA The Two Piracies in Somalia: Why the World Ignores the Other?

[25] Ibid

[26] Anderson, EA It’s a Pirate’s Life for Some, pp. 328-329

[27] United Nations Environment Program. After the Tsunami: Rapid Environmental Assessment, pp. 133

[28] Hari, J. You Are Being Lied to About Pirates

[29] United Nations Environment Program. After the Tsunami: Rapid Environmental Assessment, pp. 135

[30] See the map of Somalia in the Annex

[31] United Nations Environment Program. After the Tsunami: Rapid Environmental Assessment, pp. 128-129

[32] Panjabi, RKL The Pirates of Somalia: Opportunistic Predators or Environmental Prey ?, p. 436

[33] Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1853, pp. 36-37

[34] Warner, LA From Sea to Shore: Somali Piracy Requires a Solution on Land, p. 13

[35] Kraska, J. Wilson, B. Somali Piracy: A Nasty Problem, a Web of Responses, p. 227

[36] Kraska, J. Fresh Thinking For an Old Problem, p. 144

[37] Chalk, P. Maritime Piracy: Reasons, Dangers and Solutions, p. 1

[38] Middleton, R. Piracy in Somalia: Threatening Global Trade, Feeding Local Wars, p. 5

[39] Lennox, P. Contemporary Piracy off the Horn of Africa, p. 11

[40] Salvatierra, M. Globatados Piratas: Viejas Prácticas, Nuevos Desafíos, p. 160

[41] Sörenson, K. State Failure on the High Seas: Reviewing the Somali Piracy, p. 32

[42] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, p. 20

[43] Ploch, L., Blanchard, Ch. M. et al. Piracy off the Horn of Africa, p. 17

[44] Ibid., P. 11

[45] Nordland, R. ‘I Know It Is Evil, but It Is A Solution’

[46] Kraska, J. Fresh Thinking For an Old Problem, p. 145

[47] Anderson, EA It’s a Pirate’s Life for Some, pp. 334-335

[48] Panjabi, RKL The Pirates of Somalia: Opportunistic Predators or Environmental Prey ?, pp. 454 and 460

[49] Lennox, P. Contemporary Piracy off the Horn of Africa, p. 9

[50] Owens, MT What to Do about Piracy?

[51] Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1853, p. 36

[52] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, pp. 17-18

[53] Ibid., P. 15

[54] Sörenson, K. State Failure on the High Seas: Reviewing the Somali Piracy, p. 20

[55] Middleton, R. Piracy in Somalia: Threatening Global Trade, Feeding Local Wars, p. 5

[56] del Pozo, F. Operational Aspects of Lucha vs. the Piracy in Somalia, p. 3

[57] Panjabi, RKL The Pirates of Somalia: Opportunistic Predators or Environmental Prey ?, p. 465

[58] Middleton, R. Piracy in Somalia: Threatening Global Trade, Feeding Local Wars, p. 4

[59] Lennox, P. Contemporary Piracy off the Horn of Africa, p. 9; see also Gilpin, R. Counting the Costs of Somali Piracy, p. 8

[60] Bahadur, J. Pirates, Inc.

[61] Ploch, L., Blanchard, Ch. M. et al. Piracy off the Horn of Africa, page 11

[62] Gilpin, R. Counting the Costs of Somali Piracy, p. 9

[63] Kraska, J. Freakonomics of Maritime Piracy, p. 113

[64] Gilpin, R. Counting the Costs of Somali Piracy, p. 7

[65] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, pp. 14 and 17

[66] Ho, J., Bateman, S. Somalia-type Piracy: Why It Will Not Happen in Southeast Asia, p. 2

[67] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, p. 18

[68] Kraska, J. Freakonomics of Maritime Piracy, p. 114

[69] Kraska, J. Fresh Thinking For an Old Problem, p. 143

[70] Warner, LA From Sea to Shore: Somali Piracy Requires a Solution on Land, p. 14

[71] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, p. 17

[72] Ploch, L., Blanchard, Ch. M. et al. Piracy off the Horn of Africa, p. 7

[73] Newsweek. A Politician on Pirate Turf – Interview with Cabdiraxmaan Maxamuud Faroole

[74] International Crisis Group. Somalia: The Trouble with Puntland, page 1

[75] Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1853, pp. 41-42

[76] International Crisis Group. Somalia: The Trouble with Puntland, page 1 see also International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, p. 18

[77] Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1853, p. 39

[78] Pham, JP Strategic Interest: Putting Puntland’s Potential into Play

[79] Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1853, p. 37

[80] Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1853, pp. 37-38

[81] Ploch, L., Blanchard, Ch. M. et al. Piracy off the Horn of Africa, page 11

[82] BBC News. Somali Pirates Move Towards India

[83] Gilpin, R. Counting the Costs of Somali Piracy, pp. 8-9

[84] Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1853, p. 36

[85] Murphy, M. Somali Piracy: Not Just a Naval Problem, p. 2

[86] Ploch, L., Blanchard, Ch. M. et al. Piracy off the Horn of Africa, pp. 3 and 11-13

[87] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, p. 14

[88] Hastings, JV Geographies of State Failure and Sophistication in Maritime Piracy Hijackings, p. 220

[89] Gilpin, R. Counting the Costs of Somali Piracy, p. 9

[90] Kraska, J. Freakonomics of Maritime Piracy, p. 114

[91] del Pozo, F. Operational Aspects of Lucha versus the Piracy in Somalia, p. 3

[92] Sörenson, K. State Failure on the High Seas: Reviewing the Somali Piracy, p. 20

[93] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, p. 20

[94] Kraska, J. Freakonomics of Maritime Piracy, p.116

[95] Digby, B. The New Pirates, p. 9

[96] Alvarado Puig, JF Medidas to Combatir la Piratería en el Cuerno de África, str. 7-8 more about ” hawale ” at: Sandhu, HS, Jost, PM The Hawala Alternative Remittance System and its Role in Money Laundering

[97] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, p. 19

[98] Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to SC Resolution 1853, p. 99: Annex III, Piracy business model

[99] Kraska, J. Freakonomics of Maritime Piracy, pp. 115-116

[100] The Guardian. Somali Pirates Guided by London Intelligence Team, report says

[101] Edmonton Journal. Canadians Get Cut of Pirate Booty; Some even Help Fund Somali Brigands

[102] Stern, J. Mind Over Martyr: How to Deradikalize Islamist Extremists, p. 107

[103] Pham, JP Strategic Interest: Putting Puntland’s Potential into Play

[104] Murphy, M. Somali Piracy: Not Just a Naval Problem, pp. 1-3

[105] Pham, JP Strategic Interest: Putting Puntland’s Potential into Play

[106] Sörenson, K. State Failure on the High Seas: Reviewing the Somali Piracy, p. 33

[107] Lennox, P. Contemporary Piracy off the Horn of Africa, pp. 10-11

[108] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, pp. 20-21

[109] Pardo Sauvageot, E. Piracy off Somalia and its Challenges to Maritime Security: Problems and Solutions, p. 263

[110] Deheza, E. The Danger of Piracy in Somalia, p. 12

[111] Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1853, pp. 37 and 39

[112] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, pp. 31-32

[113] Gilpin, R. Counting the Costs of Somali Piracy, pp. 11-12

[114] Deheza, E. The Danger of Piracy in Somalia, p. 10

[115] Middleton, R. Piracy in Somalia: Threatening Global Trade, Feeding Local Wars, p. 9

[116] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, pp. 29-30

[117] Kraska, J. Wilson, B. Fighting Pirates: The Pen and the Sword, p. 43

[118] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, pp. 30-34

[119] Gilpin, R. Counting the Costs of Somali Piracy, p. 12

[120] Kraska, J. Wilson, B. Somali Piracy: A Nasty Problem, a Web of Responses, p. 231

[121] The Economist Intelligence Unit. Egypt Trade: Suez Canal Receipts are Still Falling, p. 17

[122] African Business. Pirates, High Costs, Hammer Egypt

[123] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, p. 34

[124] Hanson, S. Combating Maritime Piracy

[125] Chalk, P. Maritime Piracy: Reasons, Dangers and Solutions, p. 4

[126] Warner, LA From Sea to Shore: Somali Piracy Requires a Solution on Land, p. 13

[127] Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1853, p. 36

[128] Kraska, J. Freakonomics of Maritime Piracy, p.114

[129] Ploch, L., Blanchard, Ch. M. et al. Piracy off the Horn of Africa, pp. 14-15

[130] Gilpin, R. Counting the Costs of Somali Piracy, p. 12

[131] Salvatierra, M. Globatados Globatados: Viejas Prácticas, Nuevos Desafíos, p. 160

[132] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, p. 31

[133] Chalk, P. Maritime Piracy: Reasons, Dangers and Solutions, p. 4

[134] International Expert Group on Piracy off the Somali Coast. Piracy off the Somali Coast: Final Report, p. 31

[135] Gilpin, R. Counting the Costs of Somali Piracy, p. 13

Advertisements

Thank you for visiting our site

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.