Piracy in Somalia
In the past year several ships have been hijacked from the coastal waters of Somalia. What was once a freak episode has become a frequent affair and has become a cause for concern as the ransom which had begun at a few hundred thousand dollars has reached up to several million dollars.
To understand this sudden rise in piracy and hijacking of big ships including oil tankers a brief glance into its history is important. Somalia is one of the poorest nations in the world. Worse still, they do not have a central government since the ouster of President Mohammad Siad Barre in 1991. One avenue that helped them till then was the fishing industry. However, lacking sophisticated equipment of richer countries, the poor fishermen with their outdated trawlers could not match up to the competition posed by other illegal operators. This led to the first attacks on ships. Soon. they began profiting this way and stepped up the attacks on all ships-legal or illegal, in their coastal waters or not. Today, those poor fishermen have turned into professional pirates.
The solution of this problem does not lie in catching these pirates who are said to be no more than a thousand divided into four-five gangs, but in assisting the Nation to build a strong government and save it from warlords.