Image via WikipediaPiracy in the Horn of Africa continues to be a menace for international maritime shipping. Day by day pirates are coming up with novel tactics; they are acquiring modern weapons; they are purchasing sophisticated gadgets from the international markets; they have learned to cover thousands of miles away from home; their long hands have reached distant coastal waters; they have the capabilities of evading detection by the combined maritime task force.
According to Ecoterra International, over two-hundred sailors of various nationalities and over a dozen merchant ships flying assortments of flags of convenience remain in pirate hands along Somalia’s dreaded and ungovernable coastline. Somalia has a coastline measuring 3,333 km that is impossible to police.
Piracy has made many poor and disheveled men millionaires overnight. Men who once lived on the fringes of beggary now enjoy national limelight as they crisscross lawless Somalia with ease by riding in exotic luxurious cars protected by militias armed to the teeth. On the international level, they have the convenience of executive suits and arranged valets. They dine around manicured lawns while chuckling with men of like caliber.
Piracy masterminds are intellectually brainy; they keep low profile; and they are known to keep with the times. Pirate executives own fishing trawlers; they are worth millions of dollars; and they own shares in stocks and fishing factories. Many are polygamous, live in palatial homes, and send their children to expensive schools, colleges, and universities.
The piracy business employs over ten-thousand people ranging from those who maintain the dangerous deep-sea operations to those who guard and feed the sailors while ransom negotiations continue. An intricate operation exists between the bookkeepers, accountants, restaurateurs and shop-owners responsible for the provision of daily supplies.
The abundance of mind-altering drugs like qaad (Catha educlis) and amphetamines make the continuation of piracy a straightforward adventure. As long as the lawlessness in Somalia continues and as long as these two drugs are available for pirate consumption, endurance in long-distance travel, energy and drive, speed and aggression, sleeplessness and loquacity, will remain the driving factors in future piracy-related activities.