Damages of Somali Piracy

The Somali Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (SOMESHA) was recently highlighted the plight of Somalia environment and now SOMESHA is going to write the second report for Somalia environment and will focus both the damages of foreign ships into the Somalia waters and the problems of Somalia piracy.
Apart from charcoal and hazardous waste dumping; illegal fishing, merciless hunting, water pollution, are all environmental abuses that have gone unchecked in Somalia for over a decade. The threat and damage done to Somalia’s environment will not receive the attention it merits as long as peace and political stability remain the main life-threatening conditions in the country. In its totality, the damage done to Somalia’s natural environment is unimaginable and seems unmanageable even long after a solution is found for the current difficult prolonged political crisis.
Piracy is illegal action that takes place in rivers, seas and oceans, committed by non state actors.
For Somalia, uprising overthrew the central government in 1991 and this caused the disappearance of Somali state from international community. The lack of state attracts foreign ships to catch fish in the Somali waters.
In addition to that, Somali people have known what is going on around their coasts such as dumping west industrial materials by foreign ships. As a result; dozens of Somalis have died of west toxic from the Somali waters.
But Somalis have realized that they can do nothing against these illegal ships, because Somalia does not have warships that can guard the Somali waters.
Some Somalis organized themselves to drive foreign ships from Somali waters by hijacking them. But asking them ransom is illegal and unacceptable — according to the international law.
Somali pirates have argued that the foreign ships are threatening their livelihood by fishing in the Somali waters.
Top of that United Nations turned its eyes from those who are violating and entering into the Somali waters without permission. The failure of the international community to intervene and act as a behalf of Somali people brings about anarchy and chaos towards internal and external of Somalia.
Indeed, Somalis understand that the piracy is unlawful action according to the international law but most of Somalis believe that Somali people do not have other option rather than protecting the food of their children from foreign looters and expressed their views through local and international media saying that foreign ships have exploited Somali national resources so Somali people have right to defend their national resources by applying the rules of the international law.
On the other hand, there is another vision from prominent former warlord Mr. Mohamed Qanyare who is now a member of Somalia parlament and read his view at the following link; http://www.somaliweyn.org/pages/news/Oct_09/21Oct15.html
How Somalia’s Fishermen Became Pirates
Ever since a civil war brought down Somalia’s last functional government in 1991, the country’s 3,330 km (2,000 miles) of coastline — the longest in continental Africa — has been pillaged by foreign vessels. A United Nations report in 2006 said that, in the absence of the country’s at one time serviceable coastguard, Somali waters have become the site of an international “free for all,” with fishing fleets from around the world illegally plundering Somali stocks and freezing out the country’s own rudimentarily-equipped fishermen. According to another U.N. report, an estimated $300 million worth of seafood is stolen from the country’s coastline each year. “In any context,” says Gustavo Carvalho, a London-based researcher with Global Witness, an environmental NGO, “that is a staggering sum.”
In the face of this, impoverished Somalis living by the sea have been forced over the years to defend their own fishing expeditions out of ports such as Eyl, Kismayo and Harardhere — all now considered to be pirate dens. Somali fishermen, whose industry was always small-scale, lacked the advanced boats and technologies of their interloping competitors, and also complained of being shot at by foreign fishermen with water cannons and firearms. “The first pirate gangs emerged in the ’90s to protect against foreign trawlers,” says Peter Lehr, lecturer in terrorism studies at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews and editor of Violence at Sea: Piracy in the Age of Global Terrorism. The names of existing pirate fleets, such as the National Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia or Somali Marines, are testament to the pirates’ initial motivations.
The waters they sought to protect, says Lehr, were “an El Dorado for fishing fleets of many nations.” A 2006 study published in the journal Science predicted that the current rate of commercial fishing would virtually empty the world’s oceanic stocks by 2050. Yet, Somalia’s seas still offer a particularly fertile patch for tuna, sardines and mackerel, and other lucrative species of seafood, including lobsters and sharks. In other parts of the Indian Ocean region, such as the Persian Gulf, fishermen resort to dynamite and other extreme measures to pull in the kinds of catches that are still in abundance off the Horn of Africa.
High-seas trawlers from countries as far flung as South Korea, Japan and Spain have operated down the Somali coast, often illegally and without licenses, for the better part of two decades, the U.N. says. They often fly flags of convenience from sea-faring friendly nations like Belize and Bahrain, which further helps the ships skirt international regulations and evade censure from their home countries. Tsuma Charo of the Nairobi-based East African Seafarers Assistance Programme, which monitors Somali pirate attacks and liaises with the hostage takers and the captured crews, says “illegal trawling has fed the piracy problem.” In the early days of Somali piracy, those who seized trawlers without licenses could count on a quick ransom payment, since the boat owners and companies backing those vessels didn’t want to draw attention to their violation of international maritime law. This, Charo reckons, allowed the pirates to build up their tactical networks and whetted their appetite for bigger spoils.
Beyond illegal fishing, foreign ships have also long been accused by local fishermen of dumping toxic and nuclear waste off Somalia’s shores. A 2005 United Nations Environmental Program report cited uranium radioactive and other hazardous deposits leading to a rash of respiratory ailments and skin diseases breaking out in villages along the Somali coast. According to the UN., at the time of the report, it cost $2.50 per ton for a European company to dump these types of materials off the Horn of Africa, as opposed to $250 per ton to dispose of them cleanly in Europe.


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Somali Media for Environment, Science Health and Agriculture (SOMESHA)
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