Libmonster ID: U.S.-1227

On September 25, 2008, Somali pirates seized the Belize-registered Ukrainian ship Faina, which was carrying 33 T-72 tanks and other weapons allegedly destined for Kenya, but most likely for South Sudan. The pirates demanded a ransom of $ 35 million. The crew was captured-17 Ukrainians, a Latvian citizen and two Russians (one of them, the captain of the Faina, Vladimir Kolobkov, died of a heart attack immediately after the capture).

On November 16, the pirates '" catch "turned out to be even richer - the Saudi tanker Sirius Star, sailing under the Liberian flag, was captured. The unusual location of the capture is several hundred nautical miles southeast of the Kenyan port of Mombasa. The crew of 25 people - British, Croats, Filipinos, Poles. A giant vessel-330 meters in length, with a displacement of 318 thousand tons. On board the Sirius Star (launched six months before the incident, costs $ 150 million), heading to the United States, there was a cargo of about 2 million barrels of oil, worth more than $ 100 million.

"Sirius Star" became the largest prize in the history of piracy, and $ 3.2 million paid for the release of "Faina" - the largest ransom.

This year, in the first half of the year, pirates committed about 120 attacks, 29 of which ended with the seizure of ships. According to the International Maritime Bureau's Pirate Attacks Monitoring Center, the number of crew members captured by pirates reached 478 by the beginning of May1. The ships attacked last year and this year by Somali pirates were also flying the flags of China and the tiny state of Antigua and Barbuda.

A horrific humanitarian catastrophe, Islamist terrorism, human trafficking, and hundreds of thousands of refugees - nothing has attracted so much international attention to Somalia as piracy.

For decades, most pirate attacks have taken place in the Strait of Malacca. Indonesia, with its weak government and impoverished population, constantly "supplied" pirates. For a number of years, the Gulf of Guinea was also dangerous for navigation, where piracy was carried out mainly by Nigerians, residents of a country where laws are poorly enforced, poverty, but there are many oil platforms.

In recent years, the "palm" is held by Somalia. Sea robbery has proven to be the most lucrative activity in this country, as shipowners are willing to pay multimillion-dollar ransoms for the release of captured ships and crews. The number of attacks, increasingly aggressive and sophisticated, continues to grow. Piracy not only threatens one of the world's main trade routes, but also worsens the already dire humanitarian situation in eastern Africa. First of all, in Somalia itself.

By the end of 2008, 3.25 million of the country's estimated 9 million inhabitants were supported by the UN World Food Programme. Since 90% of humanitarian supplies come by sea, depending on the" goodwill " of pirates is hardly a comforting prospect for the population. In the chaotic country, 1.2 million Somalis have been displaced, of which 870,000 have been displaced since the beginning of 2007. People are fleeing to Kenya, Djibouti, Yemen2, and Somaliland (northern part of the country)in search of safety on the border with Kenya is one of the largest refugee camps in the world. Today, there is a thriving arms and drug trade in Somalia, people are trafficked, and prostitutes are sent to the Middle East.

The emergence of new evidence of a link between pirates and Islamist militant groups is also alarming. Sources in the region say that Somali pirates share at least part of the ransom with the militants in exchange for freedom of action at sea. Those who planned the August 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)and Nairobi (Kenya) are currently in Somaliland. 3 In 2007, suicide bombers

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bombings were carried out at the UN offices in Puntland (north-eastern part of the country) and Somaliland.


After the capture of the Faina ,the international community decided to put an end to the lawlessness committed by Somali pirates at sea in the Horn of Africa. The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution calling on "States interested in using maritime trade routes off the coast of Somalia to step up and coordinate their efforts to counter acts of piracy and armed robbery, in cooperation with the Somali Transitional Federal Government".4. The UN mandate allowed warships to enter Somali territorial waters in pursuit of pirates.

Since December 2008, an operation of the European Navy code-named "Atlanta"has been conducted in this area of the Indian Ocean. It involves ships and aircraft from the UK, France, Germany, Greece and other EU countries. From the American side, ships of the 5th Fleet are involved in the Horn of Africa region. Ships of several Russian fleets are stationed in the region in turn. We have already made some initial progress: The Baltic Fleet patrol ship Neustrashimy repelled an attack on a Danish ship, and the large anti-submarine ship of the Pacific Fleet Admiral Vinogradov defended a Dutch container ship from pirates.

But the presence of naval forces did not reduce the activity of pirates at all. Military vessels are spread out over hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of water, and being "in the right place at the right time" is not an easy task.

Merchant ships are forced to take measures for self-defense. Funds are being invested in the latest radars, "acoustic weapons", powerful water pumps are being installed, and electric "fences" (which in themselves are unsafe if the ship is carrying flammable cargo). However, the shipowners refuse to arm the crews, trying to avoid possible bloodshed. In addition, with weapons on board, the ship will not be allowed to enter intermediate ports. Some transport companies have begun to avoid the Gulf of Aden - Suez Canal route and use a longer route around the African continent, thereby increasing transportation costs and, consequently, the cost of goods transported, which is especially sensitive during the current financial and economic crisis. But as the capture of Sirius Star has shown, this route is not safe either.

Nick Davies, head of Aden Group Transists, which provides security for merchant ships, believes that the best financial solution to the problem is military escort of a ship or a caravan of ships through the Gulf of Aden. So, the cost of escorting ships of the Yemeni Navy is now 50 thousand dollars for 3 days, while the "lost profit" due to downtime of the stolen ship ranges from 20 to 100 thousand dollars per day 5. And negotiations for release can last for months.

After capturing a ship, pirates establish contact with its owner. They get all the necessary information from the ship's documents. Negotiations take place over the phone, sometimes via SMS. They involve intermediaries, often relatives of pirates.

After reaching an agreement, the shipowner hires his own intermediary to deliver money to the ship, who receives about $ 100 thousand for his services. At least 300 thousand rubles are received by lawyers whose task is to verify that the agreement concluded with pirates does not violate any laws. In other words, the entire operation to free the ship, in addition to the actual purchase, costs the owners up to several hundred thousand dollars. Pirates prefer bags of cash, with only $ 50 and $ 100 bills printed after 2000. Pirates have machines for counting money and detecting counterfeit bills 6. The ransom is usually delivered by armed boat from the Kenyan port of Mombasa, or a light aircraft is hired to parachute a container of money onto the ship. Experts say that insurance costs a lot of money if the money is mistakenly dropped not on board the ship,but falls into the ocean. 7

"For decades," says Mikhail Voitenko, editor - in-chief of the Marine Bulletin - Sovfracht online publication, " the risk of piracy was negligently low, and the usual hull insurance was sufficient. Currently, the risk from Somali pirates is equated to vo-

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the second one. The cost of foreclosure insurance is $ 3 million. It is 10 times more than in 2008. It is not difficult to calculate that with an average of 22 thousand ship passes per year in the Gulf of Aden after paying damage, insurers can receive up to $ 400 million in revenue from pirate insurance" (Voitenko M. Profits from piracy are growing, but not from pirates -


Conducting naval operations against pirates in our time is surrounded by a whole maze of rules and regulations.

What to do with pirates when they are caught? Given that such crimes are committed on the high seas, outside the jurisdiction of any country, they are a threat to everyone. Technically speaking, each country can capture pirates at sea and try them according to its own laws. This is allowed by Article 105 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, Article 107 says that only warships or vessels that have clear external signs that allow them to be identified as being in the government service and authorized to fight piracy have the right to detain pirates. 106 threatens with liability if the capture of pirates was made without sufficient confidence that the ship is really a pirate. In our country, "piracy" falls under Article 227 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The British detained the pirates twice, but confiscated their equipment and landed them on the coast of Somalia. Some warships simply do not want to detain pirates, so as not to bear legal responsibility for them. Rear Admiral Philip Jones, who commands the anti-piracy group of the Navy of the European Union member states, said:: "Often, when capturing pirates, sailors don't know what to do with them"8. It all depends on where they were caught, the nationality of the pirates, the nationality of the ship that captured them, and the circumstances under which they were caught. And even if the pirates are captured and handed over to the authorities of Puntland (the semi-autonomous region of Somalia, where most of the sea robbers operate), this does not mean that they will be brought to justice.

According to Roger Middleton, a British Parliament expert on Somali piracy who also works at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, "it is unclear how long pirates remain in prison." He thinks it won't take too long. They are either simply released or someone pays bribes for their release. Of the 57 pirates captured by French warships, 45 were handed over to Puntland authorities. This meant that they were allegedly punished, although everyone understands that all this is fiction.9

In an attempt to get out of this legal maze, pirates were sent to Kenya. Is this a solution to the problem? According to Kenyan Foreign Minister M. Wetangula, the country cannot accept and judge all pirates. Human rights activists immediately intervene, claiming that there can be no real justice in Kenya, that judges are corrupt,and that prisoners are beaten in prisons. 10

On May 18, 2009, the trial of the Somali pirates began in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Five sea robbers attempted to hijack a Dutch ship in the Gulf of Aden on January 2, 2009. The sailors repelled the attack, and the pirates were picked up by the crew of the Danish warship Absalon. In February, the pirates were extradited to the Netherlands for trial. However, the lawyer said that his clients enjoyed their stay in Holland so much that they intend to learn the language during their incarceration, and after serving their sentence, they will apply for Dutch citizenship and then move their families there. This creates another option for legal immigration to Europe 11.

Everyone agrees that the solution to the problem of piracy is to create an effective government in Somalia, a reliable coast guard, a functioning justice system, etc. In the meantime, as British Defense Secretary John Hutton said: "Somalia is a kind of reference book of a failed state"12.

You can chase pirates ashore. But sending ground troops is too dangerous, as the failed American operation in the early 1990s showed. US air and missile strikes may kill some of the terrorists, in any case, the Americans claim that they destroyed those who prepared bombs for explosions on the territory of the United States.-

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solo shows in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam 13. But they also cause huge collateral civilian casualties and growing hatred of the United States. The continuation of the land war against the pirates, along with the war against the Islamists, will make them allies, although even now they may be two hands of the same organization.

Attempts to create statehood by force on foreign territory are unpromising and bloody, as the situation in Afghanistan or Iraq shows.

China offers a different model of State-building in Africa. It focuses exclusively on the continent's resource potential while contributing to poverty reduction. Beijing is pumping billions of dollars into the infrastructure of war-torn countries like Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Angola is now a stable, if rather corrupt, country. Elements of civil war remain in the DRC, but Chinese investment has only just begun to flow in, and the authorities now at least have an incentive to maintain peace. Angola has already become the main supplier of oil to China. The DRC, in exchange for building highways, railways, hospitals and universities, offers Beijing the opportunity to exploit its rich mineral resources. Perhaps some investment in Somalia would help solve its problems. But so far, it looks like an attempt to "wishful thinking"14.

The roots of Somali piracy are too deep to be solved by military patrolling Somalia's territorial waters alone.

According to residents of the Somali region of Puntland, where most pirates live, sea robbers lead a luxurious life on land. "They have money and power and are getting stronger every day," say locals, "they have the most beautiful girls, the biggest houses, the latest brands of cars and the most modern weapons." 15 Piracy has become not only socially acceptable, but also fashionable in Somalia. Most pirates are between 20 and 35 years old and have money. They are becoming rich in a country where almost half the population is starving as a result of nearly 20 years of continuous internal conflict.

This" success " of piracy is very attractive to Somali youth, who have little hope of another career in the civil war-torn country. Pirates can afford to take a second and third wife, preferring very young girls from poor nomadic clans who are famous for the beauty of their women.

But not everyone is happy about the emergence of a new Somali " elite." The influx of huge amounts of money into the local economy causes prices to rise and makes the lives of ordinary people more expensive. The use of alcohol, hashish, and the local drug kata is widespread.

It is worth noting that many Somali families are helped to survive by their emigrant relatives. There are several hundred thousand of them. But how to transfer money to a country where banks and post offices do not function? The "grey" money transfer network, hawala, which is widely used in the Persian Gulf countries, comes to the rescue. These are anonymous transfers from one end of the world to another, for example, from Abu Dhabi to Texas or Mogadishu. Let's say a Somali from Abu Dhabi needs to transfer money to his brother who lives in Mogadishu. He goes to a merchant (loan shark, financier, etc.) who lives in Abu Dhabi and has a brother in Mogadishu. Having brought, for example, 1 thousand dollars, he receives a secret one-time code (password) and reports it to his brother on a mobile phone. The latter, in turn, goes to the merchant's partner from the UAE and, after giving the code, receives the required amount. No bank accounts for you, or any trace of the transaction 16.


The problem of piracy off the coast of Somalia began about 10 years ago, when fishermen began to lose their livelihoods. Their vessels with traditional fishing methods could not compete with large fishing trawlers, which illegally fished in their waters using clearly predatory methods. Fishermen began to protect their interests by using submachine guns and RPGs. They soon discovered that robbing others was easier than fishing themselves. After all, commercial vessels are practically unprotected and cannot offer decent resistance. Piracy became the only lucrative occupation of the coastal clans. Sometimes Puntland authorities detained foreign vessels and issued fines, which was almost indistinguishable from piracy, given the uncertain status of the region. This money also went into the pockets of clan-criminal structures.

The main occupation of Somalis for centuries has been nomadic pastoralism. Nomads were usually warlike tribes that levied tribute on the settled population or tried to recapture cattle from any hostile tribes. In successful raids, young people could become famous and rich. The settled population paid tribute for "protection". In the absence of the state, this was normal. In the state, taxes are also paid for "protection and security". In Somalia

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a form of symbiosis of sedentary and nomads has developed. If there were no suitable conditions - there was no one to take a ransom from or no one to impose a tribute, then a war of all against all began. It naturally went beyond land borders and became a form of" prowess " in Somali and international waters.

Somalia was colonized only after the First World War. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Somalis led by Said Mohammed Abdille Hassan waged a "jihad" for two decades against the British and Italians. But even after the defeat of this movement, there was no effective control over the territory. Somalia became independent in the" year of Africa " - in 1960. When General Siad Barre came to power in 1968, the country opted for a "socialist orientation".

In the 1970s, with the help of the Soviet Union, Somaliland tried to build " socialism with Islamic characteristics." These were the years when the Soviet Union used the port of Berbera as a resting place for the crews of its warships, and Somali officers were mostly trained in the USSR. In Somalia, with Soviet help, "collective farms" were created and a meat processing plant was built. After Mengistu Haile Mariam came to power in Ethiopia in 1977, and the "red terror" began in the country, Somalis tried to take advantage of the weakening of their neighbor to seize the Ethiopian province of Ogaden, inhabited mainly by ethnic Somalis. They were defeated. The Ethiopians were assisted by Soviet and Cuban military advisers. This undermined the regime of Siad Barre. There was an "exchange" of allies. Ethiopia became an ally of the USSR, and Somalia became an ally of the United States.

But in 1991, Siad Barre was overthrown, the Soviet Union was already falling apart, and the days of the pro-Soviet regime in Ethiopia were numbered. Plunging into political chaos, Somalia has virtually lost its central government, divided by hostile tribes and clans. As a result, a massive famine began, which claimed the lives of about 300 thousand people and hundreds of thousands fled the country.

Then the United States lobbied the UN for a decision on an international "humanitarian intervention", grandiloquently calling it "Hope Reborn". In 1992, their military contingent landed here under the blue flag of the United Nations, but they were able to gain a foothold only in a few coastal cities, contributed to the development of prostitution and speculation in food rations. Instead of gratitude, the US military provoked universal hatred. When their special forces unit tried to eliminate the popular warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid, who claimed supreme power in the country, it was ambushed and suffered heavy losses. The corpses of Americans were dragged through the Somali capital. In response, bombardments and "concomitant Somali casualties" began. The Americans were forced to evacuate immediately. Aidid himself was later wounded in battle and died of his wounds.


The northern third, the former British colony of Somaliland, has actually split off from Somalia. There is still some semblance of order, unlike the rest of the territory. By the end of the last century, the civil war and political chaos in the southern half of the country took on a landslide character. In the northeast, a semi-autonomous Puntland appeared.

In 2004, with the support of Western countries and Ethiopia, a Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was established in Nairobi, Kenya, headed by Puntland leader Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed (a graduate of the Soviet military school). But his power was illusory. The influence of Islamic fundamentalists grew in the country, which united in the Union of Islamic Courts (ICU). It was based on representatives of the Hawiye tribe. Encouraged by the Americans, Ethiopian troops supported the TFG and occupied the Somali city of Baidoa, entered the capital - Mogadishu. The appearance of troops of the "hated" and mostly "Christian" Ethiopia as peacekeepers did not arouse sympathy among the majority of Somalis. True, the military force was on the side of the Ethiopians, they acted as troops of the African Union. But other African countries have sent much smaller military contingents. Ethiopia practically intervened in the civil war. The ICU was defeated, but neither the TFG nor the Ethiopians were able to control the country. Even more destabilized-

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The situation was exacerbated by US missile strikes on the bases of those whom they considered Islamic extremists and who, according to them, participated in the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Islamic militants scattered across the country and began guerrilla operations. Moreover, these extremists were replaced by an even more extreme organization, Al-Shabaab.

In 2006, the ICU military units were defeated, and the Government of Yusuf Ahmed was established in Mogadishu. But it couldn't even control its own capital. Until the end of 2008, the president was afraid to appear in his own country. Real power lay in the hands of field commanders, who relied on tribal associations and clans.

The situation was so tense that the presidential elections on January 30, 2009 had to be held in the neighboring State of Djibouti.

Sharif Ahmed won an absolute majority of the approximately 500 members of Somalia's enlarged parliament in this election, beating 14 competitors, including Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein, who was considered a more attractive candidate for the West. The President-elect has authority in the south of the country and in Mogadishu 17. But the elections have made little difference in the country - hunger, poverty, chronic lawlessness, interference from neighbors amid countless attempts to establish peace.


One of the most difficult tasks for the new president is the growing influence of the extreme Islamist group Al-Shabaab. Until now, its leadership has shown a complete lack of desire to join the coalition of supporters of the TFG led by Nur Hassan Hussein and the Union for the Liberation of Somalia led by Sheikh Sharif. Over the past two years, they have been strengthening their military and financial positions in the central and southern parts of the country.

Since the Ethiopian military presence in the country in 2006, Al-Shabaab has grown in numbers, become more radical and ambitious. It may have become the most organized force in the south of the country. At the end of last year, it took control of the port of Kisimayo. The city of Baidoa, where the TFG was located until the beginning of this year, is now also under its control. It has also strengthened its position in Mogadishu. In any case, when the newly elected president appeared at his residence, it was shelled with mortars.

Members of Al-Shabaab claim that they will be able to impose their own understanding of Sharia law on the country. They destroy the places of worship of local saints in the controlled areas. Naturally, more moderate Islamists reject Al-Shabaab's interpretation of Islam. The US State Department called the organization "terrorist".18. If the new President enters into negotiations with them, he is unlikely to receive the support of the international community. He can hardly count on the loyalty of his own parliament, since it was convened on the basis of equal representation of different tribes and clans, the contradictions between which are acute as before. The problem is that representatives of the northern, most stable territories, do not express a desire to get involved in a civil war in the south. In addition, according to tradition, representatives of the same clan cannot simultaneously occupy two key positions in the state. This means that the coalition between the Union for the Liberation of Somalia, led by Sheikh Sharif, a representative of the Hawiye clan, and the TFG Nur Hassan Hussein, a representative of the same clan, will cease to exist.

Somalia needs a steady supply of large amounts of food, just to keep its people alive. If the president wants to gain popularity, he must somehow solve this problem. However, as already noted, most of the humanitarian aid comes by sea. This means that the fight against piracy should become, first of all, the problem of the Somali authorities themselves.

Thus, the new president will have to maneuver between the ever-quarreling parliamentarians, the starving population, the separatist sentiments of the northern territories and the threat from Islamists. It cannot be ruled out that the creation of a new government will turn out to be another unsuccessful attempt to establish peace in the country.

But if there is no peace, piracy will flourish.

..In 1815, American Commander Stephen Decatur captured the flagship of Algerian pirates and forced them to surrender. When the pirates later refused to comply with the terms of the agreement, the British and Dutch shelled Algiers 19.

Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine shelling the coast of Somalia, and even more difficult to imagine a pirate being hanged at the entrance to the bay of the Somali town of Eyl, as was customary with pirates in the New World in the first half of the XVIII century. - during the "pirates of the Caribbean".

Pirates are rampaging, Somalia is in chaos, and the world community is at a loss. 1, 14.05.2009.

2 Доклад Amnesty International, 2009 -

Pham J. Peter. 3 As Somali Pirates Raise Stakes, Effective Measures Needed, 15.12.2008.


Holland Nick. 5 Very expensive piracy -, 16.04.2009.

Hunter Robyn. 6 How do you pay a pirate's ransom? -, 3.12.2008.

Holland Nick. 7 is very expensive piracy...

Hawkins Oliver. 8 What to do with a captured pirate -, 10.03.2009.

9 Ibidem.

10 Ibid. 11, 18.05.2009.

Perry Alex. 12 Analysis: To Beat Somalia's Pirates, Fix Their Country -, 15.12.2008.

13 Ibidem.

14 Ibid.

Hunter Robyn. 15 Somali pirates living the high life -, 28.10.2008.

16 Ibidem.

Middleton Roger. 17 Somali president faces tough task -, 31.01. 2009.

18 Ibidem.

Reynolds Paul. 19 How to Defeat Pirates: A Hint from the 19th century -, 10.04.2009.


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