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Sunday, December 07, 2008

TweetThis! The pirates of Eyl in Somalia

On November 15, 2008 in the Gulf of Aden, the Saudi supertanker "Sirius Star" became the biggest and expensive ship ever seized by the Somali pirates. The oil tanker itself costs $100Million USD, the oil cargo cost the same, making a total of $200Million and the lives of the crew in the hands of the pirates. A total number of vessels that has been attacked by the pirates off of Somalia's coast stands at more than 120 vessels for this year alone, 40 of them being successfully hijacked.
Since the hijack of the Sirius Star, attention has been focused on Somali piracy. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has advised vessels to keep at least 200 of nautical miles (approx. 370 km) away from the Somali coast. It seems like this has not been a useful advise since the pirates seem to be stretching further and futher. For example, the Dutch operated container ship  that managed to outran pirates off the coast of Tanzania on Saturday, November 6th 2008 was attacked in a margin of between 450 - 550 nautical miles off of Dar es Salaam port. Pirates have started to use rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and fire arms (AK47) on the ships. The crew on the Dutch operated vessel escaped by putting out the fire and increased sailing speed.

What is yet to be solved is the gap between the those who have it and the ones that don't, i.e living between "life and death". When a human being lives in such a state that the word 'life is not fair' holds truth, it should not be a surprise when matters are taken into own hands. Often, people living in a despicable state of poverty, have weighed and saw that there is no significant difference between survival and death, thus stealing to relieve hunger and survive becomes inevitable. I believe attacks on ships/vessels/containers will continue so long as life in the Ocean's coast remain unpromising. While dealing with the Somali pirates, one should be alerted also about the group of Indonesian pirates in the South China Sea off Malaysia's coast. The group is assumed to be responsible for at least 4 attacks recently.

In the video below, the journalists from Channel 4 are becoming the first to film the Somali pirates and the lives of ordinary people in a hub of Somali piracy, the tiny fishing town of Eyl.

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