Conflict & Justice

Piracy in Somali waters

This commander shouts orders to his crew on the board of his ship, which has been patrolling pirate infested waters off of what is arguably the world's most dangerous seacoast and city. The commander explains he's on watch for threats of terrorism. His ship, a Canadian navy ship, has been escorting ships from the U.N. World Food Program into Somalia since August, and his mission was recently extended. He says since he arrived here, 10 vessels have been captured and the attacks are pretty regular. About six different groups of pirates work in Somali waters and they are pretty sophisticated, equipped with satellite communications and armed with sophisticated arms. Experts say they're funded by Somali warlords. More than 30 ships have been taken so far this year and more than $30 million dollars paid in ransoms, but this expert says they've been staying away from World Food Program ships because of the military escorts. These Canadian soldiers are the last line of defense for escorting, and this Canadian soldiers says he's learned to respect what the pirates are capable of. The recent hijacking of a Ukrainian battleship has highlighted the crisis here and the E.U. is talking of sending naval ships to attack the problem. But Somalia's coast is the longest in Africa and difficult and expensive to patrol. The Canadian commander says the only solution is to help Somalia find peace and a functioning government. Somali piracy could soon be a problem for the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean if it continues to get worse.

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