The BBC News online reported this today: “A Somali man who pleaded guilty to piracy has been sentenced in the US to more than 33 years in prison. Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse is the only survivor of the crew of pirates who attacked the Maersk Alabama merchant ship off Somalia’s coast in April 2009. Donna Hopkins, coordinator for counter piracy and maritime security at the US state department, told the BBC the Somali piracy problem was escalating and would continue to do so for as long as the pirates were able to make large sums of money. “There aren’t enough ships on the planet to patrol the entire Indian Ocean,” she said, adding that she thought it would be more difficult to eradicate Somali piracy than to bring peace to Afghanistan.” (retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12486129)
I addressed this current issue in Pieces of You in chapter seven where my protagonist, Kirk, is directing an international shipping company that has had one of its crude-oil tankers attacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean with Kirk’s son aboard. I see the Somali piracy issue as one of the many global problems we face that is easy to judge but difficult to eradicate because its root causes are diverse. Some Somalis take up piracy because they find no other way to make money to feed their families, while others are in it for what might seem to be the notoriety and easy money.The BBC article to some degree refutes that assumption, since the convicted pirate is the only survivor of his crew; he must serve 33 years in prison; and according to research, he would have gotten only a small percentage of the actual take. Why would an indigent person with a family take such a titanic risk, doing something that is so blatantly legally and morally wrong?
In the chapter I consider causes and solutions (at least those that might keep Kirk’s company from becoming a target again). If you have an opinion on causes and/or solutions to this issue, please comment!