Pirates on the radar in 2008On 05/30/2019 by admin
At the end of the year, the pirates were still holding about 17 vessels, and about 300 crew members.
The upsurge in piracy in 2008 prompted the European Union\’s first-ever naval operation, to protect ships delivering aid to Somalia, and civilian vessels carrying other goods through the region.
And late in December, China announced it was also sending navy ships to help police waters off Somalia.
It marked a significant break with tradition, with the modern Chinese navy until now focusing entirely on the defence of China\’s coastal waters.
Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs He Yafei said the problem had become too serious to ignore.
“Piracy off the coast of Somalia has become increasingly rampant, and it is now an international menace, posing a grave threat to international navigation, maritime trade, and security at sea. China is also one of its victims. So far this year, a total of six vessels registered in or rented by China have been hijacked in the waters off Somalia. This has aroused utmost concern from the Chinese government and the general public.” he said, speaking through an interpreter.
As well, in mid-December the United NationsSecurity Council unanimously adopted a resolution authorising international land operations against Somali pirates.
British Foreign Secretary David Milliband welcomed the resolution, though he indicated Britain would not quick to act on it.
“This is an important additional tool to combat those who plan, facilitate or undertake acts of piracy from the territory of Somalia. The UK considers that any use of force must be both necessary and proportionate,” Mr Milliband said.
Sudan\’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Abdalmahmood Mohamad, was less enthusiastic about the new Security Council resolution.
He said action was also needed to strengthen political institutions in Somalia, which has been without a functioning central government since 1991.
“Some forces may take advantage of this resolution to stay there, in this very sensitive and volatile region. After all, we would like the Security Council to address the root causes of the issue or the problem in Somalia because piracy is just a symptom of a malaise, of a disease. This is why I think efforts should be mobilised to ensure that root causes are addressed, and the political process is enhanced in Somalia,” he said.
U-N Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon also welcomed international efforts to combat Somali pirates.
But he warned that the problem could not be divorced from the need to bring a comprehensive peace in Somalia.
“We must be mindful that piracy is a symptom of the state of anarchy which has persisted in that country for over 17 years. Our anti-piracy efforts must be placed in the context of a comprehensive approach which fosters an inclusive peace process in Somalia and assists the parties to rebuild security, governance capacity, address human rights issues and harness economic opportunities throughout the country,” he said.
At year\’s end, Somalia\’s Western-backed transitional government controlled only parts of the country, and it appeared that it could be on the brink of collapse.
The transitional government\’s Foreign Minister, Ali Ahmed Jama, said it condemned the piracy, but it needed international help to tackle the problem.
“These acts of piracy are categorically unacceptable and should be put to an end. But Somalia has no capacity to interdict or patrol its long coastline to ensure the security of the sea lanes, but we have indeed co-operated with the international community in the fight against piracy and we will continue to do so fully now, and in the future.”