Somali pirates back at it again
For the first time since 2012, Somali pirates have hijacked a commercial vessel in the gulf of Aden.
There are eight Sri Lankan crew onboard the hijacked vessel that are currently being held hostage according to the Sri Lankan government.
It may sound strange, but it’s a real shame that the vessel is not American or does not have any Americans on board. The last time a ship that flew the American flag was hijacked by pirates, the U.S. navy put a stop to it real quick. And on top of that all, a blockbuster movie was made about the event not too long after.
Sadly, it’s not likely that members of the current crew being held hostage will get either of those two things.
While it is too soon to tell if this a resurgence in piracy off the east coast of Africa, this will most likely hurt maritime shipping either way.
It’s been been half a decade since any real pirate activity existed off the coast of Somalia. It’s also located just south of one of the only three waterways to oil-rich Saudi Arabia. That means there is high traffic through the gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea especially with oil tankers that have either left Saudi Arabia or empty ones headed that way to fill up.
Between 2007 and 2011, over 3500 commercial sailors had fallen victim to some type of act by somali pirates. During the peak of piracy in that region, there were even stock exchanges where parties could invest in pirate groups for a share of the returns.
Keeping those numbers in mind, let it sink in that most cargo ships are typically only crewed by a few dozen people. It is in everyone’s best interest that piracy off the horn of Africa does not reemerge with a vengeance — not only for the sake of crews that go through that region, but for anyone who buys goods transported through that region.
The more dangerous it is to go through there, the more expensive it becomes. The only solution that really seemed to help drive down the prevalence of piracy was international naval presence in the area. Those resources have since pulled out since the Somali coast became less of a hotbed for piracy.
There must be a strong and hard international response to this act. For if a half-measure is taken here and an example is not made, piracy will spring up again and military resources that could have been saved will be spent on pirates springing up and forcing the hands of international coalitions.