Since Somalia descended into civil war, following the collapse of its government in 1991, the country’s rich coastline has become a prime target for crime. Without functioning institutions to protect and police its 200 mile long coast – the longest on the African continent – Somalia’s waters have gained a reputation for illicit fishing. Unmanned sea boarders attracted unscrupulous international forces interested in illegally foraging through these rich waters. A U.N. report estimated that, every year, $300 million worth of seafood is stolen from the country’s coastline, an indication of the scale of displacement faced by local fishermen whose livelihoods depended on these waters.
Peter Lehr, lecturer in terrorism studies at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews and editor of Violence at Sea: Piracy in the Age of Global Terrorism, has linked this to the rise of piracy. Frustrated by being overshadowed and forced out of the water by better equipped international vessels, impoverished locals took up arms – thus marking the genesis of the Somali piracy problem we see today. Lehr says the first seafaring gangs were formed in the 1990s “to protect against foreign trawlers” and names of existing pirate fleets, such as the National Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia or Somali Marines, can be seen to reflect this history. However, Somali’s piracy problem has grown far beyond its fishing origins, with many opportunists now taking up arms due to the success of other pirates. Such crimes continue to pose a huge economic cost, and are believed to cause billions of dollars in losses.
Financial loss is not all that is at stake on Somalia’s coast. Piracy has become an increasingly sophisticated endeavor, and pirates have been known to brandish advanced weaponry, hijack ships and take hostages. 2013 film Captain Phillips offers an account of one such real-life instance – the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. During this hijacking, Captain Richard Phillips who lends his name to the film’s title, was taken hostage by pirates in the Indian Ocean and held hostage for five days until he was rescued by the US navy. However, overall figures suggest that the number of seafarers taken hostage by pirates is declining, which can be seen as a slight improvement in this intractable problem.
These figures notwithstanding, the continued incidence of such attacks does little to allay the perception of insecurity which is now synonymous with Somalia’s coast. The British government advises against all travel to almost every part of Somalia. Foreign travel advice mentions a “high threat of maritime terrorism in the territorial and international waters off Somalia” and stresses that “piracy remains a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean”.
Sadly, piracy attacks continue to occur in the region and safety in Somalia’s waters remains unpredictable. Reports of a foiled hijacking attempt have claimed that two pirates were killed in the process, while seven others escaped – one of many reports of a recent spate of piracy attempts. News from Chinese news agency Xinhua also claimed that the Chinese navy helped rescue Panamanian tanker Alheera, which was under attack from five pirates in the Gulf of Aden in April 2017.
The post Video Shows Deadly Gunfight Between Security And Somali Pirates As They Try To Board The Ship appeared first on Viral Thread.