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Posts tagged ‘Somali pirates’

Somalia Piracy in the News Again

I consider piracy to be deplorable, and yet I have to wonder why people, especially those with families dependent on them, choose such a dangerous lifestyle. Is it, for some at least, their level of despair over joblessness? I’m not alone in thinking of that possibility. One of the cures listed in the quotation below is ‘building livelihoods ashore.’

“Piracy is like an ancient disease that should be extinct in this modern world,” said Commodore Simon Ancona of the British Navy, who is currently deputy commander of Combined Maritime Forces. “The cure is difficult and requires the disruption of pirate actions, building law and order and livelihoods ashore, and making the merchant prey less vulnerable. Although there are signs of remission, I would judge the medicine will be required for some time to come.” from the August 28  NYTimes online: Piracy around Horn of Africa has plunged

As I look at the faces and body language of imprisoned pirates caught on film by  Jehad Nga for The New York Times, I see youth, hunger, belligerence, fear. I wonder what I can do in affecting a cure for piracy.

In my novel, Pieces of You, my protagonist asks the same thing after one of their corporate tankers is attacked by pirates.  What they tried worked for three years, and they were proud of helping young Somalis learn skills and pleased with organizing a large network to deter attacks. Then another of their tankers was captured.

What do you think Americans can do to cure this “ancient disease that should be extinct in this modern world?”

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Somali Pirates in the News and in my Book

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!

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