Debate continues about
how to combat the growing piracy off Somalia’s coast. Some suggest the
deployment of an international force, while others recommend the use of technology
to detect and hunt pirates.
Jim Wilson is a
correspondent for the Fairplay International Shipping Weekly,a leading maritime newspaper. From Dubai in the United
Arab Emirates, he told English to Africa reporter Douglas Mpuga that it’s
doubtful that the use of force alone would deter the pirates.
said it depends on what type of force is used. “If you mean arming the crew or
arming or putting armed guards on the ship, no, because the crew, the shipping
industry, the insurance industry and the people who hire the ship are pretty
much against it”.
said while there is a lot of evidence to suggest that armed vessels do deter
pirates, he didn’t think it is a solution that is going to be commercially
adopted. “If you think of striking and occupying pirate bases in Somalia, that
too does not work. How do you use mechanics of attacking a pirate base”, he
explained that striking pirate bases requires amphibious landing crafts and
several helicopters which the pirates will see and escape.“No pirate in his right mind is going to
stand around and wait for a fleet of helicopters to come disgorge a lot of
marines ready to kill him. It does not make sense”. He added, “even if they did
how would you be able to tell the difference between a Somali pirate and a
however said that the only use of force that could be valuable is the
bolstering of the international forces that are already in Somalia under the
auspicious of the United Nations, and helping the Somali transition federal
government to regain control of the country and restoring law and order, or
some other form of political settlement. “Until there is peace on land, there
will be piracy at sea”.
said Somalia is a lawless country with porous borders making the acquisition of
guns and equipment easy. “There is even the aspect of some Somali in the
Diaspora funding Somali clans and providing them with intelligence. “You have to remember Somalis may be
uneducated by and large, but they are not stupid”.
said what can be done in the interim is for ships to stay far away from Somalia
as is humanly possible. “The level of attacks from the Somali pirates
dramatically falls once you hit 500 nautical miles off the coast”