The Islamic Post Blog

Piracy in the Gulf of Aden One of the World’s Busiest Sea Lanes by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:17 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, International | Tags:

By Tracey Boddie

Islamic Post Staff Writer

As warships from US, UK, Canada, France, Turkey, Germany, Russia, China and India, to name a few, continue their efforts to curb piracy by patrolling the coastal waters of Somalia, the unlawful industry continues to flourish. A UN Security Council resolution authorized countries to chase and seize pirates when they flee into the territorial waters of Somalia “for the purpose of repressing acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, in a manner consistent with such action permitted on the high seas with respect to piracy under relevant international law.

Gulf Of Aden
Pirates have consistently plagued the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and Somalia coastal shipping lanes and have collected more than $150 million in ransoms over the past year including ‘MV Sirius Star’, the huge 25 crew member Saudi supertanker loaded with $100 million worth of crude oil in November, making it the largest tonnage vessel ever seized by pirates.
The Somali pirates are said to have the support of their communities and rogue members of the government. Often dressed in military fatigues, typically armed with automatic weapons, anti-tank rocket launchers and grenades weaponry;  pirates travel in open skiffs with outboard engines, working with larger ships that tow them far out to sea, clambering aboard commercial vessels with ladders and grappling hooks.

Arab Response
Seven Arab states, including host state-Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and Saudi Arabia met in Cairo in November in a bid to find an effective response to the growing threat of piracy in the Red Sea. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal was quoted as saying at an Oslo news conference the only way to deal with pirates like those who captured his country’s supertanker MV Sirius Star is “by eradicating” them, piracy is “not something you can negotiate or justify in any way, means, or manner.” “Like terrorism, it is an evil that has to be eradicated…”

China, one of the world’s major trading nations, has lost as-many-as seven vessels due to the piracy in the Gulf of Aden with one still said to be in the hands of pirates. With the deployment of two warships and one supply ship it is China’s first naval mission outside its territorial waters in centuries. The Middle East provides about 60 per cent of China’s oil imports thus providing it with incentive to respond.
Last year Somali pirates hijacked over 100 ships. Most are released after the payment of a ransom, generally by ship owners not governments, but over a dozen are still being held.


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