Somali Pirates: Inglorious Swashbucklers Essay

Somali Pirates: Inglorious Swashbucklers Essay

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Throughout the 21st century, Somali pirates have terrorized the waters off the Horn of Africa, seizing deliveries and costing billions of dollars annually to the global shipping trade. Unlike the quixotic buccaneers of the past, these modern-day marauders have changed into unsympathetic criminals who flourish in the lawlessness of the Somali Civil War. Various aid organizations, including the United Nations’ World Food Program, International Committee of the Red Cross, and CARE International, have stated that piracy has prevented the entrance of humanitarian relief, since 80%-90% of food assistance to Somalia arrives by maritime means. According to Mthuli Ncube, the African Development Bank’s chief economist, “Piracy is very much a concern and not abating at all. It hampers the delivery of food aid. Some has to be flown in, which has impact on cost, or it has to go to ports like Mombasa, Kenya and then be driven overhead, which takes time.” According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, almost 4 million people in Somalia suffer from malnourishment, thereby necessitating the continued operation of philanthropic agencies, despite the dangers posed by this malefaction.

For years, the origin behind this surge of freebooting has been debated. Eventually, U.N. reports concluded that illegal fishing and dumping of toxic waste by foreign vessels have destroyed Somalia’s fishing supply and compelled many native anglers to resort to apprehending extralocal ships and stealing the resources onboard as a vindicated defense of their waters and reimbursement for lost fishing grounds. Many Somali warlords, coastal residents, and activists blame Western powers for instigating piracy, and demand the dismis...


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...ditions, the finest hauls never beget millions of dollars. Rather, too many Somalis have realized that a criminal life in piracy brings greater success than a regular life toiling in war-wracked cities such as Mogadishu. Truly, the chaos of Somalia prompted piracy, not the sapped fishing grounds and toxic waste dumping by European and Asian fleets.

Today, innocent sailors risk their lives doing their jobs against corsairs increasingly desperate to acquire coin from this fruitful, crooked venture. While replenished fishing stocks may slightly diminish these criminal incidences, it is fundamentally the formation of a permanent Somali state that would cease the lawlessness behind the piracy. Until the international community assists Somalia in this matter, inglorious swashbucklers will continue to engage in unwarranted piracy in the waters off the Horn of Africa.

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