19 December 2012

Somalia: NATO Records Fall in Pirate Activity

There have been no ships hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia for the last six months, according to officials of NATO, one of the international bodies involved in providing international warships to provide security along the Somali coasts.

This reflects a significant fall in activity by pirates along the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping routes. Pirates, however, still hold five ships and 136 hostages seized in previous years.

NATO officials attribute these successes against pirates in part to the continuing efforts of the international fleet in the area, combined with better security measures by merchant ships, most of which now have armed guards aboard.

Equally, the establishment of the new government and administration, including the election of a Parliament and a President and the appointment of a Prime Minister and a cabinet and above all the greatly improved security situation within Somalia itself and the successes against Al-Shahaab as well as increased anti-pirate activities by Puntland security forces and other pressures against pirate areas, have played a major role. Significantly, recent AMISOM and Somali Armed Forces' successes have included the capture of a number of the ports along the Somali coast.

Meanwhile, the head of Somalia's Supreme Court, Aydiid Abdullahi Ilka Hanaf, is reported to have said that any Somali pirates seized by international ships or security forces can now be tried inside the country. He said that the justice system in Somalia is now able to handle the trials of Somali pirates. It is now no longer for pirates to face justice in foreign countries like Kenya or the Seychelles or even further afield.

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