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Trends in piracy

The trends in piracy around the Horn of Africa are as follows:

•    Though at present the highest number of vessels ever is held at the Somali coast and the UN--lead Somalia-process has completely failed and has collapsed, the international attention concerning piracy has steadily declined and the suffering of hostage-crews as well as of the Somali people in general has reached a new all time high with little or no aid coming forward.
•    Increased use of sea-jacked smaller fishing vessels (often from Yemen) or dhows (often from India) to launch piracy attacks. Approaches / attacks then conducted by 2-3 small open boats with outboard engines and with 3-5 armed persons each in a concerted attack.
•    Increased use of firearms on all sides. The shoot-to-kill policy adopted by several navies has led to an increased number of  direct fire exchanges. The use of armed personnel and military on fishing vessels has lead to an overall increase of aggression and  violence.Taking the attacked vessel and crew immediately under direct fire during a piracy attack was in earlier years unheard of, but is now common. Likewise the the treatment of crews from countries, which have killed or arrested Somalis is declining.
•    Targeting larger cargo / oil / gas / chemical tankers
•    Piracy-related incidents have increased in the Gulf of Aden (GOA) and far off the east coast of Somalia since the engagement of EU NAVFOR, NATO, CTFs and warships of non-aligned nations.
•    Negotiations to quickly free vessels are now often hampered by restrictive orders, legal changes and ill-conceived advise given to often ignorant ship-owners.
•    Except for improved defensive measures on merchant ships none of the other responses like the deployment of navies, killing or arresting Somalis as well as destroying boats and weapons, talks with proxy-leaders, training of so-called governmental forces etc. had the slightest positive impact to improve the security of maritime traffic in innocent passage and none of these measures did curb Somalia-based piracy around the Horn of Africa.
•    While billions have been and are spent to finance self-serving naval exercises, pointless international conferences or are dumped into the coffers of the United Nations incl. their agencies like the IMO, no aid - whatsoever - has been set free to improve the situation for the people along the Somali coasts, which is the only solution to truly safeguard against piracy.

Solutions pending:
a) Imposing strictest control on foreign fishing vessels and waste-dumping ships. Compulsory installation and monitoring of all IOTC authorized fishing vessels with LRIT and CCTV-monitored gear- and catch-control.
b) Development of coastal regions along the two Ocean coasts.
c) Strengthening of local institutions and regional self-governance.
d) All vessels, including naval ships must stay outside the 20nm zone of the Somali Indian Ocean coast and outside the 50%-part of the waters of the Gulf of Aden, which belongs to Somalia, unless permitted and secured approach to the three legitimate harbours Berbera, Bosasso and Mogadishu has been received. In the Somali half of the Gulf of Aden as well as in the 350nm continental shelf zone of the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia foreign research vessels have to abstain from any activity.

Ecoterra Intl

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