In the last decade, piracy at sea has been a common headline in news publications around the world. News from cargo ships hijacked and their crews kidnapped for ransom off the coast of Africa almost seem to be an everyday cry for action from the international community. This illegal activity, common since the first merchant vessels sailed the seas many centuries ago, has been a problem that civilization has yet to resolve. However, the maritime shipping industry and the world’s most invested countries in maritime trade have responded effectively to these attacks in the past few years by taking matters into their own hands. Specifically, many countries around the world have been deploying anti-piracy naval task forces to piracy “hot spots” and shipping companies have been staffing ships with armed security teams.
Statistics confirm that piracy off the coast of Somalia has dropped significantly in recent years. According to the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau or IMB (as cited in “Piracy at sea falls,” 2013), “attacks in the seas around Somalia continued to fall dramatically, with just 10 incidents attributed to Somali pirates this year, down from 70 in the same nine months of 2012”(para. 9).
In fact, the atmosphere in the hostile waters of the Gulf of Aden has changed considerably in the past few years. “The piracy had prompted insurers responding by increase premiums, resulting in higher costs for shipping firms” (“Piracy at sea falls,” 2013, para. 8). As a result, maritime countries like the United States and India have increased anti-piracy naval operations in the region. In fact, these navies have become increasingly effective in responding to pirate attacks (Hughes, 2013). Perhaps the most glorious example of the benefits of naval presence in the Horn of Africa is the rescue of Captain Phillips, master of the US-flag container ship Maersk Alabama. During this pirate attack, a US Navy Task Force rescued the kidnapped American captain in an impressive military operation while patrolling the region.
Henceforth, pirates have been more reluctant to attack ships while foreign navies are present. They understand that their skiffs and small weapons are no real match against the manpower, firepower, and endurance of a naval vessel. At the same time, these criminals also...