Roots of Somali Piracy

Military force to thwart growing Somali “piracy”

The concerns over piracy, victimizing commercial ships and with seafarers taken as captives, had begun in the 1990s, during the heat of Somalia’s civil war.

Since 2005, international organizations, including the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the largest organization of ship-owners and the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP), have been sounding the alarm over Somali pirates’ attacks.

They said piracy has contributed to an increase in shipping costs and impeded the delivery of food aid shipments.

The WFP’s primary concern was the payment of military escorts to accompany the ships that carried their food aid for distribution in Africa. Ninety percent of the WFP’s shipments arrive by sea.

In November 2008, Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula said in an interview over BBC that Somali pirates have been paid more than $150m (£101m) in ransom in the past 12 months.

That year, 95 attacks had been recorded by the media; the latest then was the capture of a Saudi tanker carrying a $100-million oil cargo.

Because of this, the international community had agreed to put a stop to the “piracy” attacks through military force.

In August 2008, the Combined Task Force 150, a multinational coalition task force, was formed and took on the role of fighting Somali piracy by establishing a Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA) within the Gulf of Aden.

The Russian military, in September 2008, said they will join the international community in suppressing the Somali pirates’ attacks.

To strengthen the campaign against the Somali piracy problem, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1838 on Oct. 7, 2008 calling on nations with vessels in the area to apply military force to resist the acts of piracy.

On Oct. 23, 2008 the Indian Navy deployed a warship in the region as a response to the problem of piracy in the Gulf of Aden.

The latest show of military force against the Somali pirates was the rescue of Maersk-Alabaman American captain Richard Phillips earlier this month by the US Naval Forces. Three Somali pirates were killed in the operation.

But the Somali pirates were undeterred and went on hijacking commercial ships, the latest being the M/V Irene, a few days after Phillips’s rescue.

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