THE CHAIN LOCKER
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Click photo to go to Safety4Sea mothership story
Below see a video report on the European Union's recent deliberations with regard to piracy response. It's no news, of course, that EU will expand its operations to include "coastal territory and internal waters," widely interpreted to mean helicopter gunship attacks on pirate vessels inshore and on the beach, as well as land vehicles identified as being under pirate control. See this link to one of the many news stories covering this landmark decision:
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/23/somalia-pirate-mission-expanded-eu

I'm heartened to see the world community's concentration shifting to the Somali mainland, even if it's only military attention at the moment. Seaborne responses, such as armed guards, can work - but can also bring significant costs and unintended consequences of their own (see Fishermen Shot and Missing VDR Data in the Categories section at the right of the page). And much of the work being done by the international naval forces in the region only amounts to "catch & release" of the pirates - since prosecuting and punishing captured pirates is often impossible (click on the photo above for a typical recent story from the Safety4Sea website; also, click on Pirates Ransom Their Own in the Categories section).


As it gradually becomes accepted wisdom that no solution can be implemented without dealing with the situation ashore, we'll move closer to a real elimination of the piracy threat. My own strongly held opinion is that when the world begins to move beyond military action, and comes together with effective action to help Somalia regain social, economic & political viability, then piracy in that part of the world will cease to be a threat to world shipping and to the world's seamen. 

I've read a lot about the Horn of Africa region, and have visited there myself (many years ago). I see no evidence that Somalians have enthusiastically chosen piracy as a way of life. Rather - with the collapse of their political and social institutions - Somalians lost the power to police their  own coasts. That led other nations' fishing fleets to trespass with impunity on Somali territorial waters. The first Somali pirates arose as a home-grown self-defense measure against this illegal exploitation. You can't blame them much for that. 


Developments since, of course, have since taken a more sinister turn. The threat to world trade, gradually extending itself into terrorist connections, does need to be dealt with. Almost as urgent to the outside world should be victimization inside Somalia, as her people suffer terrorism, starvation, and social & cultural destruction.

Many in Somalia itself long to see piracy become a thing of the past. Bring back the opportunity for a decent life to ordinary Somalians, and piracy will disappear. 

So these latest developments seem turning in the right direction, especially as they move past offensive operations to nation-building for Somalia. Pray for that - it's what will finally end the problem!

Have any experience in the region? Please share your view point with us! Piracy has become more common elsewhere, as well; has it affected you? Please let us know in the Comments section!

Here's the EPP video: