Saturday, June 13, 2009

PIRACY IN SOMALIA

Piracy off the Somali coast has been a threat to international shipping and an issue of international concern for over a decade and a half since the beginning of civil war in Somalia.This has increased the cost of shipping and impeded the delivery of shipments.However, in the last year or so, there has been a spurt in the activities of the notorious pirates and this has posed a serious threat to the trade and commerce of many nations as the Gulf of Aden which lies on the Somali coast is one of the busiest shipping channels of the world.
The reasons behind such an alarming increase of piracy in the particular region are many.Somalia with an estimated GDP of $600 per year is one of the poorest countries of the world.Such level of poverty along with the successful hijacking of a number of ships by the pirates have drawn large number of young men toward such gangs of pirates.Clan based social structure of the country,lack of a central government because of the ongoing civil war and its strategic location all have aided in the rise of such activities.Moreover, as there has been absence of coast guards,in the earlier days a number of shipping trawlers of other countries got access into the seawater.Moreover the Somali coast has been used as a dumping ground for toxic and nuclear wastes by many European and Asian countries.This has caused an erosion of fish stock of the Somali coast.With no other options available to protect themselves from such illegal activities, the poor fishermen found hijacking both the cargo ships and passenger ships a good way to sustain themselves.As in most of the cases the ransom was paid, the local warlords found it a lucrative business and began to facilitate pirate activities thus providing a better breeding ground of piracy.The Somali diaspora has aided the pirates by providing valuable informations and funds in return of heavy monetary profit.
There has been a rare show of unity among the nations to combat piracy in that region.Various countries have deployed warships to patrol the area.Many have deployed naval forces to escort their vessels through that region.European Union has started Operation Atlanta to combat piracy in the Gulf Of Aden.India has deployed INS Tavar and INS Mysore to show her eagerness to check piracy.
However, there must be an international effort to strike at the root of the problem.United Nations must strive for restoring peace and law in the nation.Monetary organizations have to increase financial aids to Somalia. Efforts must be guided to end the civil war in the country and bring back the pirates to normal stream of life.Otherwise darker days are looming ahead.

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