Hostages and pirates stand with their hands up before the intervention of Dutch NATO soldiers off Somalia’s coast in this NATO handout photo made available April 18, 2009. REUTERS/NATO/Handout
Dan DeLuce, Foreign Policy: Why Is It So Hard to Stop West Africa’s Vicious Pirates?
After vanquishing Somali pirates, the world is looking for a playbook that will work in the Gulf of Guinea.
With little more than skiffs, ladders, and Kalashnikovs, the pirates of Somalia once hijacked giant cargo ships, extracted millions of dollars in ransom, and forced the world’s navies to send warships steaming to the Gulf of Aden. They stole headlines and Hollywood’s imagination as khat-chewing villains in the hit film Captain Phillips.
But after wreaking havoc in the sea lanes off the Horn of Africa, with more than 200 attacks every year at their peak, the once-notorious Somali pirates have virtually vanished. No cargo ship has been successfully hijacked off the coast of Somalia since the spring of 2012. This year, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported only three incidents.
Defeating Somalia’s scourge of piracy required unprecedented cooperation by different navies, efforts to boost stability ashore, and, perhaps most importantly, the use of armed guards on commercial vessels, a radical break with shipping practices and tradition.
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WNU Editor: The pirates are still there .... they are just laying low.