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Briefing
December 17, 2008

Somali Piracy

Camilla Hagelund on the threat of threat to maritime security posed by Somali pirates

by
admin

The surge in piracy off the coast of Somalia stems from the lack of effective government and viable means of making a living. The implosion of the central government in 1991 left a void in which Somali fishermen saw the need to police their seas against illegal fishery. This patrolling escalated to piracy; a trade which now dominates many coastal towns of Somalia, particularly in the Puntland region. A high success rate has emboldened pirates, who now attack any ship that venture near their area of operation. This represents a threat to the shipping industry and international trade, and has thus also been addressed by the international community in the form of naval fleets patrolling the Gulf of Aden and parts of the Indian Ocean most severely affected by piracy. Military solutions alone are however not a viable answer to the peril of piracy. As history has shown, to remove the threat of piracy, the pirates’ safe havens must be removed, and effective governance structures and a legal and sustainable economy developed in order to remove the economic rationale for this activity.

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