Somali Pirates Obtained over USD 135 Million Ransoms in 2011, Admiral Says
The current year has brought a record-breaking income to Somali pirates hijacking ships and crews for ransom, said deputy director of EU NAVFOR – Operation Atalanta in the interview to online Bruxelles2.
According to the admiral, pirates have obtained over $135 mln ransoms in 2011, while in the past year their income was $80 mln. Through recent five years, wants of the sea robbers has become 8 times higher – in 2007 they demanded about $600,000 ransom for a captured ship, and in 2011 this sum has grown up to $4.6 mln.
At present, pirates hold 8 ships and about 200 hostages; this time last year they held 30 ships, said the official. However, this does not indicate of reduction of attacks; just the opposite, their number has 15% risen comparing to the previous year. Pirate attacks have become less successful. One out of four attacks was effective in 2010, but in the current year only every fourteen attack is successful, concluded the admiral.
Six or seven warships conduct permanent patrols along Somali coast. Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Belgium take the most active part in the operation Atalanta prolonged till 2012.
Somali pirates constitute the main threat to global maritime shipping. Somalia cannot cope with piracy because had ceased to exist as united state in 1991 with falling of Siad Barre’s dictatorship who had been governing the country since late 60’s.
Presently, anti-piracy campaign in western part of the Indian Ocean is carried out under EUNAVFOR – Operation Atalanta and NATO Operation Ocean Shield started in 2009. Apart from counter-piracy warfare, the latter operation also implies rendering assistance to regional countries in developing own ways to resolve the problem.
Russian warships have been securing commercial shipping near the Horn of Africa and in the Gulf of Aden since 2008.
Naval Today Staff, December 09, 2011; Image: usni