Until relatively recently, Somali pirates were the scourge of East-West trade, operating in a huge swathe of the Indian Ocean and hijacking vessels with fearsome, and often drug-induced, zeal. Looking back to March 2009 when there were near-daily attacks, the pirate threat was eventually driven back in 2013 by the assembled brawn of heavily armed private security personnel, onshore security forces, and Combined Naval Task Forces 150 and 151.
Last week, a foray by the BBC into Eyl, the now de-throned global piracy capital, highlighted serious challenges for the country, including widespread poverty and joblessness, and a nascent legal system.
Various documentaries, news coverage and the big-budget Captain Phillips have shown the world that these men are not hardened criminals but indeed something far more dangerous – out-of-work teachers and fishermen, faced with a chance at leaving behind a lifetime of abject poverty for riches beyond their wildest dreams.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) theorises that there are four mitigating “pillars” currently staving off successful hijackings, explains secretary general Peter Hinchliffe. These include compliance with Best Management Practices 4 (BMP4) for vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden and beyond; the presence of warships in the area; and armed security on board vessels.
For the full article, please click here.