Piracy has effects beyond harming mariners. One I hadn't thought about was who takes custody of those pirates who have been captured and convicted? Many get released, of course. But some have been taken to other countries and tried. And apart from a few who have been taken to the US or Europe for trial, many end up in the Seychelles. Here's a link from Safety4Sea:,-seychelles-call-for-help

The story notes that efforts are being made by other governments to establish adequate prison facilities in Somalia. I hope that's not the only help the Somali people are getting, though it makes sense that the international community would respond to the threat to shipping. But as more prisoners are held in their home country, another development has arisen: for the first time, a ship has been held for ransom of not only money, but with the condition that fellow gang members who have been imprisoned must be released as well. Here's that link, from Maritime Connector:

As a mariner, my sympathy is overwhelmingly with the victims of piracy! But the piracy problem comes out of horrific conditions ashore, bred of war and terrorism and starvation; so many of the pirates are victims themselves,  in that sense. I've visited the Horn Of Africa, and have seen how desperately poor and downtrodden the people are.  

It's true that piracy goes against the social and religious grain of most of the people; piracy has been practiced by only a small part of the population. Somalis are not naturally pirates. So I hope that the international response to the piracy problem will bring some relief and social order to Somali society as a whole, as well as addressing the piracy threat. In fact, that would be one of the best ways of addressing the piracy threat!

Have you had any experience in this region of the world - or, increasingly, in West Africa as well? Please comment and let us know your point of view. 

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