There was a time when reports about Somali pirates practically did not leave the information field. Marine robbers successfully operated in the areas of the Gulf of Aden and the neighboring waters of the Arabian Sea. Attackers robbed merchant ships and made a fortune. However, recently nothing has been heard about their “glorious deeds”. What happened to the pirates of the XXI century?
Life at sea
Somali pirates as a phenomenon is a direct result of a large-scale internal political crisis in Somalia, because of which the country has broken up into rival territories. The consequence of the actual destruction of the state was an unprecedented increase in crime. Many of the Somalis, to support themselves and their families, began to pirate. The most common form of their earnings was the seizure of hostages. So, only in the period 2005-2012. nearly four thousand people from most countries of the world became victims of sea robbers. About 100 citizens of foreign countries died at the hands of pirates. During these seven years, the total amount of money received by the bandits as a ransom for captured crew members reached $ 385 million. The center of piracy in Somalia was the Puntland region, whose authorities provided a “roof” to the marauding robbers. Those in return gave them the lion’s share of their booty: it is believed that the charge for cover, according to various sources, was from 70 to 80 (and in some cases, 85) percent of pirated income. Thus, a guarantee was bought that the regional politicians and the power structures lured by them would not interfere in the “business” of the sea brigands. In 2011, 129 attacks of Somali pirates on ships were recorded. In this case, only more or less large incidents were taken into account. As a result, marine criminals inflicted considerable losses on trade in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea – the transit water areas associated with the Suez Canal, which account for about 10% of all world shipping.
According to the laws of wartime
The scale of piracy in the region forced the command of the naval forces of different countries to apply the harshest measures to the bandits. According to some reports, in 2012 commanders of warships on duty in the waters of the Gulf of Aden received an unspoken order – to sink pirate ships without any warning, and with the surviving bandits not to stand on ceremony. Especially distinguished Indian seamen, who killed sea robbers without any regret. So, in 2008, the Indian Navy frigate INS Tabar shot from guns the Thai ship seized by the bandits. As the media claimed, along with the pirates, the crew members also died. A week after the incident, one of the surviving Thais was found, which confirmed the circulating rumors. Military ships in the zone of the Somali pirates sent and Russia. In May 2010, the whole world flew news of the daring capture of the tanker “Moscow University” by a bandit group of 11 people. Naval special forces from the large anti-submarine ship Marshal Shaposhnikov came to the rescue. Well-trained military men after a short skirmish took the ship under control and disarmed the robbers. The report on the further development of events has several options. The Ministry of Defense of Russia stated that the pirates were put in an inflatable boat, given a small supply of provisions and sent to the shore. However, there they for some reason did not reach, having perished at sea. According to another version, which was stubbornly replicated in the Western media, the Marines shot bandits. To combat piracy, private military companies were also used. One of them – the French “Sicopex”, consisting of retired officers of the army of the Fifth Republic – has been serving on the Somali coast since 2010. Only in the first two years the French managed to liquidate more than 300 corsairs, among which were their commanders.
Not only a whip, but a carrot
But it was possible to overcome piracy in Somalia not only by force. The practice of their legalization as a rentier and businessmen also became widespread. So, in 2007-2012, some of the leaders of the sea bandits invested illegally received funds (according to some estimates – about $ 100 million) in the purchase of residential and commercial real estate in neighboring Kenya. Especially popular among those who decided to “step out of the shadows” of the bandits was the Eastleigh region – the suburb of Nairobi, populated mainly by immigrants from Somalia. Now they receive a good income from the rental of real estate and are unlikely to want to go back to the “craft” of filibusters. Other pirates simply promised a large sum of money in exchange for leaving the “profession.” So, one of the most famous Somali sea robbers, Muhammad Abdi Hare (“Big Mouth”) resigned and dissolved his group for 20 million euros. As for those pirates who serve time in places of deprivation of liberty, Christian missionary practice is practiced against them. It is believed that converted from Islam corsairs are less likely to relapse robbery. Thus, the Somali pirates managed, if not to win finally, then seriously weaken. All thanks to the concerted actions of the world community, successfully used the method of a carrot and a stick in the fight against gangs. Today, the phrase “Somali pirate” does not sound so threatening, and the ships passing through the region can finally feel safe.