Jan 5, 2010

What is to be done about Somali pirates?

The Sofia Morning News really tackled this issue today. According to one Bulgarian expert, nothing can be done... by sailors that is. Captain Nikola Hristov, Chair of the Bulgarian Association of Ship Brokers and Agents, argued that the costs of sailing all the way around Africa are too great and sailing through the Gulf Aden. Plus I think changing the route would only encourage new pirates of different nationalities, no? Anyway, he provides some figures to support this and then adds:

"But it is best if – instead of facing any risk, NATO and the UN put together a special force and go clear up the mess. Just as the British Royal Navy did it back in the days. It is ridiculous to talk about piracy with today’s means of communication, intelligence, and control. Unless there is some sort of secret support for the pirates which aims to destabilize the regions there."

Yeah, he just said a lot there. Basically, the world needs empires and apparently has empire like structures that aren't doing their jobs, possibly on purpose. Meanwhile, former Bulgarian Foreign Affairs Minister and current socialist MEP, Ivailo Kalfin, has called on the Bulgarian government to be more actively involved in the efforts to prevent Somali pirate raids in the Gulf of Aden.

And while these men focus on the long term solutions to ending Somali piracy, "pirate expert" (God, I want to be a pirate expert) Dr. Peter Lehr, of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, has suggested that a ransom of between USD 2-3 M will be requested for the two Bulgarian crewed ships hijacked last week. Good luck to those sailors on board.


Emil Perhinschi said...

Yes, there are long term solutions to piracy in the area: the same navies that are now chasing pirates should also chase trawlers fishing illegally in Somalian waters, and the governments in "civilized" countries should allow trade with the area.

Somalia is excluded from international trade, and Somalia's waters are plundered to exhaustion by fishing boats from better-than-thou countries. What should the natives to ? Lay down and die ?

Ern said...

I just don't know how jurisdiction works, I guess is what I'm saying. And when NATO and the like get involved in anything too much there's always criticism that the West is overstepping its bounds. I think it's just unwinnable from a PR perspective. That being said, you're probably right.

Emil Perhinschi said...

There is no jurisdiction there, because there is no government. Since there is no jurisdiction, there is nobody to negotiate trade treatises with, nobody to set import and export quotas, nobody to get kickbacks for issuing import or export licences, and since Somalia is such a barren wasteland it could not support a modern (centralized and bureaucratic) government in the first place, there won't be anything like this anytime soon. In the meantime, the natives found something to pass their time :P

The ad-hoc Sharia tribunals could have generated some kind of government, but anything with "Sharia" in the name is way too scary, so it won't happen, no matter that those were not wahabi, like the terrorists everybody is afraid of.

Ern said...

Yeah, I get all that. So whose business is it to go in there and clean up the seas. I mean the world is pretty much anti-empire right now. Anyone coming in to strongarm anything even if it means creating safety, will probably not be received well. Just food for thought.