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Piracy in Somalia - Term Paper Example

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For couple of years now, Somalia, a country of around 10 million people, is in news for all the wrong reasons. The infighting amongst the warlords, the instability of a credible government, poverty and neglect prevailing within the region are today some of the typical features associated with Somalia…
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Piracy in Somalia
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Download file to see previous pages These pirates catch hold of the ships and take the travellers and crew as hostage. Subsequently they start asking for huge sums of money from the ship owners or the respective governments. Some such major incidents taking place in the recent past include;
On 8th April 2009, the Maersk Alabama, a US container ship carrying food aid for Somalis, was attacked in the Indian Ocean. After some negotiations, the pirates let go the crew but held the ship's captain as hostage in one of the lifeboat on the high seas. Subsequently, the captain was rescued in a daring attack by US Navy on 12th April, killing all the hostages. This was said to be the first instance of holding a US captain as hostage (Sheikh and Guled, 2009).
Some months back, Somali Pirates caught hold of 'MV Faina', on 23rd September 2008. A Ukrainian ship loaded with tanks and antiaircraft guns was held by these pirates for about five months and released it only on 6th February after receiving the ransom amount (Jones and McGreal, 2009). Since the ship was loaded with explosive material bound for Kenya, six US warships kept a continuous vigil on the warship to ensure that these arms are not siphoned off elsewhere.
Somali pirates seized MV Sirius Star, a 300,000-ton, 1,000-foot-long Saudi oil tanker on 18th November 2008 and released it only after more than a month. MV Sirius Star is stated to the largest ship ever held hostage by sea-pirates. Loaded with more than two million barrels of oil worth $100m the ship was set free only after a ransom amount of $3 million was dropped on the ship through a parachute (NBC, 2009).

Though we are just into the fourth month of the year 2009, but there have been more than 66 such attacks already by the Pirates (McCrummen and DeYoung, 2009). The manner in which these pirates are able to extract big money from the corporate world seems to suggest that it is one of the most thriving things ever happened to Somalia. After extracting money from the ships, these pirates go on partying and enjoying for many days, which in turn must have been helping the Somali economy. This raises the ethical question about the manner in which such practices are in a way being encouraged form within Somalia.

After knowing about such acts of terror from these bandits on Somali waters, one would be tempted to think about ways and means to counter such heinous acts. No civil society would encourage such actions. But, in case of Somalia, things do not appear as straight and simple. There are people, particularly from Somalia who think that these pirates are resorting to such acts of piracy in retaliation to what they have suffered all this while at the hand of European and Western nations. This raises the ethical questions as to why these pirates are being encouraged by the civil society. To find an answer to this question we will have to take a look at the recent past.

Somalia has been at war with itself, particularly during the late 1980s and 1990s. The country was ruled by Mohamed Siad Barre, with an iron hand from 1969 to 1991. As public resentment started growing against this dictator, he was thrown out of power in 1991 and thereafter the country went into lawlessness. Though UN led forces remained in Somalia for some time after that, but with the increasing incidents of a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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