How to tackle piracy and keep the Gulf of Aden safe
Many of us may have heard of the Somali pirates, but what most people aren’t aware of is what drives these men to piracy in the first place. For several years Somalia’s coast line has been used as a nuclear waste dump zone by many companies, Somalia as well as many other nations is seen as an easy target mainly because of the lack of government and stability. For about twenty years, a crime organization known as the ecomafia has been dumping toxic waste and other harmful chemicals into the territorial water. After the Tsunami, the locals living near the coastline began suffering from strange illnesses caused by the radioactive waste that has washed ashore; at least three hundred people have died since then.
The Somali “pirates” we hear of were originally fishermen whose livelihood was threatened by not only the toxic waste being dumped into the water, but also by foreign fishermen who were taking their fish illegally, leaving them with no means to support themselves or their families. With no functioning government to step in, these fishermen were left with no choice other than to take matters into their own hands. The fishermen started out as national volunteer coast guards and quickly turned into pirates when they realized they could make a better living of it. Since 2010 the pirates have made millions of dollars in ransom and held an astounding 1,181 people captive, according to The International Maritime Bureau this makes the Somali coast one of the most dangerous areas in the world. Since Somalia has a weak central government it wouldn’t be possible to take much action against these criminals. The only real solution in stopping the pirates and the companies that dump hazardous waste is for Somalia to have a functioning government so that there can be consequences for their actions.
Somalia has had one of the worst states of government since 1991, it has been ranked no.1 failed state for three consecutive years according to an annual index; however there is still hope for a stabilizing the country for the benefit of the Somalia population and the rest of the world. Unfortunately we need long term solutions to the crisis in Somalia. The United Nations has put considerable time, efforts and resources in Somalia.A peaceful autonomous Puntland state in Somalia has asked the United Nations and the donor countries for funds and resources to rebuild their coastguard marines to protect and secure the coastal water from maritime crimes, but unfortunately the request has been ignored until the problem escalated and piracy became out of control.
On October 12th, 2010, pirates took the minister of maritime ports and counter piracy, Said Mohammad Rage, hostage, this shows that piracy in Somalia is not only a threat to the rest of the world, but also to the Somalia people. In order for the Puntland authority to regain control; it is necessary that the United Nations and the European Union provides substantial aid and logistics to Puntland. This would be the only solution in getting rid of piracy.