Somali piracy is down, not out

The pirates who once ruled the seas off Somalia are little more than a memory now, but while they are forgotten they are not gone.

The trial in Paris of seven men accused of killing a French sailor and kidnapping his wife during the height of Somali piracy in 2011 is a reminder of the deadly terror the pirates once spread.

However, experts and former pirates alike warn the scourge may yet return.

“There hasn’t been a proper pirate attack on a commercial vessel in over two years,” said John Steed, Horn of Africa manager for the US-based non-profit Oceans Beyond Piracy. “But the guys haven’t gone away and nothing’s changed on the ground.”

Anti-piracy patrols by international warships and armed guards aboard commercial vessels which continue to chug fast and far past the Somali coast, have suppressed piracy, not stopped it.

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