Crisis around the Horn of Africa
Piracy is a global concern that dates back thousands of years; however, it has taken new depth of mayhem in the modern age. The piracy in Somalia is a problem in the international shipping industry and imposes damage to ships and theft of cargo along the Horn of Africa. It causes water pollution off the Somali coast, considerable loss of life, and deteriorates the effectiveness of the shipping industry. Because of the international outcry, friendly forces have deployed specialized military elements and naval vessels to combat and ultimately negate piracy around Somalia. This paper illustrates the lasting ill effects that the piracy in Somalia inflicts on the shipping industry and what has been done to resolve this conflict.
Piracy in Somalia
The origins of piracy date back thousands of years and continue to greatly affect international commerce today. Piracy is a criminal act of violence, robbery, or depredation committed by the crew of a private ship on international waters, or high seas, typically against merchant vessels toward persons and property aboard those vessels. The piracy occurring in Somalia is a global concern that has taken new depth in the modern age. “The waters off the Horn of Africa have become the scene of modern-day piracy as vessels ranging from oil tankers to cruise ships are being attacked by teams of armed criminals using all kinds of small boats to stalk their prey” (de Blij & Muller, 2010). Moreover, piracy is a reaction by the people who suffer from an unstable government and economic mayhem in the region. Background of Somalia
Somalia, formerly known as a Democratic Republic, is now a country comprised of three sub-states located in the Horn of Africa. It does not have a permanent national government; rather, it is a transitional, parliamentary federal government. Somalia lies in Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia, and southwest of Kenya (CIA Factbook, 2010). Its landscape is semi-arid, mostly flat plains and plateaus rising to hills in the north; therefore, its residents are burdened with sparse vegetation/agriculture and are forced to rely on marine life for sustainment. Its natural resources are uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, copper, salt, natural gas, and possible oil reserves (CIA Factbook, 2010). These resources have not been harvested because the people of Somalia are preoccupied with self-preservation, rather than being able to focus their attention on development and prosperity. In the college textbook, Geography: Realms, Regions, and Concepts, authors de Blij & Muller (2010) demonstrate how Somalia is considered a failed state. They explain how its national government collapsed during its civil war in 1991, how anarchy prevailed, and that its condition as a failed state led to the country’s fragmentation into three parts: * The northern sector, Somaliland, proclaimed its independence in 1991 and remains by far the most stable of all three and functioned, essentially, as an African state. However, Somaliland is not recognized as such by the international community. * During 1998, in the eastern portion of Somalia, a conclave of local chiefs declared the Puntland territory to be separate from the rest of Somalia and asserted an unspecified degree of autonomy. * In the south, where the official capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, is located on the Indian Ocean coast, local secular warlords, supported by U.S. funding, and Islamic militias stormed its official capital, Mogadishu, in the south to continue their struggle for supremacy. Somalia is a country known worldwide for its historically chaotic internal conflict and loss of life. For example, in 2006, the Islamic militias stormed the capitol at Mogadishu and took control, ousting the warlords and proclaiming their determination to create an...