Signs of progress or another bunch of bandits?

There may be signs of progress in the fight to stop Somali piracy in the only way possible – by imposing the law inside Somalia. Or is this simply one bunch of bandits coming out on top?

The Puntland government anti-piracy force freed the remaining crew of MV Iceberg 1 less than three weeks ago after three years held captive. Swift justice has ensued. Today we hear that a court in Puntland has sentenced three of the pirates to jail.

Continue reading

Who guards the guards?

Somali pirates often justify ship hijacking by claiming that they are coastguards protecting Somalia from illegal waste dumping in territorial waters. It is a claim treated with scepticism by most shipowners who find it hard to make any distinction between coastguards and pirates, and who doubt that there is any waste dumping anyway. Here’s a story which illustrates the reality. There is dumping, but the coastguards can also be pirates. The Dae San, a North Korean cargo ship with a … Continue reading

Many hands make light work

The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia meets at the UN today.  It brings together countries, organisations and industry bodies to work on piracy issues. It has done good work, especially on Best Management Practices and targeting the pirate networks in the same way any organised crime network should be. India hosts the meeting and many of the area coastal states are involved, along with the key flag states and trading nations. It would be unusual in … Continue reading

Closing the stable door when the horse has already bolted

South Korean maritime authorities are to oblige South Korean ships sailing in international waters  to build a safe citadel which will protect their crew members if the ship is attacked by pirates. They will also make the carriage of armed guards mandatory for passages through dangerous areas.

These moves come a little late for four South Korean crew members released by Somali pirates last week after 19 months in captivity. They had been captured on the Singapore-managed MT Gemini in April 2011. The … Continue reading