The Somali pirates have highlighted the importance of the Somali waters. Being an important route with hundreds of vessels passing through the Somalia’s waters, Africa’s longest coast is not only infested with deadly sharks now. Yes, pirates too frequent the waters, armed with some radio equipment, several machine guns, a mother vessel and some speed boats. In that vast expanse of the dangerous Indian Ocean waters and the Red Sea, they carry out their heist, surreptitiously approaching larger ships unnoticed, quickly taking control of them and then demanding a king’s ransom for the safe return of the crew and the vessel. If the ranson is not paid, they simply kill their hostages.
The number of ships seized by pirates is innumerable, yet the identities and whereabouts of these pirates still remain a mystery. Their manoeuvres and manpower , too, is a mystery. They appear to be very well trained seizing large vessels anchored very far into the sea; get in, get it done, disappear! Sounds like a carefully constructed Hollywood thriller doesn’t it? Or is it just me who sees it that way.
But what happened to the top security firm that was employed to keep the waters safe from pirates? In November 2005, the Somali government sought the assistance of the US and paid the American firm Topcat Marine Security about $50m to patrol and secure the Somali waters, yet the situation has only worsened without an improvement in sight.
50 million dollars! Where did they get the 50 million dollars they pay the Americas whilst their country is in dire need of restoration. How many millions of people live below subsistence level for them to consider before paying such money for safeguarding the waters!
It is clear that this is deliberately done in order to hamper any hint of stability in the nation, but one starts to wonder, who could be behind these attacks. Here are a few of my suspects:
Warlords and their gang-men, having been banished from their once fertile grounds in Mogadishu have found an uncontrolled territory to wreak havoc. The foul remnants of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) could have escaped out to sea. And even though this piracy started way before the ICU flame was ignited, they still are suspects. The Somali government, in a desperate attempt to affirm the presence of Al-Qaeda fighters in Somalia, employ some ragtag militia to carry out the dirty work. The US! ;)
Whoever is behind this, the situation in Somalia can be summarised thus – on the land, anarchy and confusion reign. On the waters, well, more anarchy and more confusion reign.