Piracy - A Global Threat
Piracy off the coast of Somali has become a big threat in the past years. In their biggest coup pirates captured the Sinus Star, a Saudi Arabian oil tanker, near the Horn of Africa and freed it two months later.
Somali pirates have very modern equipment including satellite phones and GPS. They also have lots of weapons, like grenades, rockets or AK-47 rifles. Pirates get the information of approaching ships from contacts at harbours nearby. Then they go for their targets with speedboats, sometimes from the coast and sometimes from larger mother ships nearby.
They board ships by launching ropes with hooks and iron at one end. After bringing the ship under their control they take them to a harbour in Somalia and bring the hostages to a safe place. Nothing happens to them there because Somalia is in the middle of a civil war and there is no powerful government.
Warships from countries around the world are now patrolling the region but the area in which the pirates operate is too big. About 25% of the Indian Ocean is at risk and pirates move quickly and often at night.
It is very difficult to capture and arrest them because the crimes happen in international waters and nobody is really responsible. Some political experts say that they should be put before an international court led by the United Nations. The UN, however, doesn’t have the money for such a court but it has allowed countries to chase pirates before they seek refuge in Somali waters.
The pirates hold the ship and its crew as hostages and demand money for their release. Some of them do it because they have no jobs in Somalia and hunger is widespread. In the past year Somali pirates have received about $ 150 million in ransom money. They use some of the money to buy faster boats, more weapons and to strengthen their organization.
The hijackings cost the shipping industry a lot of money. Ships may have to travel other, less dangerous routes and invest more money in security and insurance.
- Life and History of Pirates
- The World's Most Dangerous Countries
- Piracy Continues off Coast of Somalia
- Famine and Drought Endangers Lives of Millions in Eastern Africa
- Peacekeeping - The United Nations Blue Helmets and What they Do
- approaching = coming closer
- at risk = in danger
- board = to go on
- capture = to catch someone
- chase = follow
- civil war = war between two or more groups of the same country
- coup = attack
- court = place where a jury and a judge decide if someone is guilty or not
- demand = want from someone else
- equipment = the things you need to do something
- hijacking = to capture a ship or plane that does not belong to you and take control of it
- hook = a curved piece of metal
- hostage = someone who is kept as a prisoner and is released after you do what the other side says
- insurance = you pay a company money and if something bad happens they pay for the costs
- launch = here: throw
- piracy =the crime of attacking and stealing from ships
- ransom money = the money you must pay to free a hostage
- release = to let someone go
- rope = a very strong thick string
- security = safety, defence
- seek refuge = to look for protection
- target = object of attack
- threat = danger
- weapon = something that you use to fight against an enemy, like a gun or a bomb
- widespread = everywhere