Somali Pirates will continue their operations and remain influential towards the determination of Somalia’s future and regional security. Many can argue that if pirates cannot collect ransom, then their way of life will come to end. The purpose of my paper is to refute this claim of extinction. To do this I will review the financial losses and then describe the factors which contributed to the pattern of unsuccessful attacks. I will highlight why the Somali Pirates will stay in power with a description of their economic culture which mirrors risk-taking capitalism. I will summarize the United States’ current relationship with Somalia and analyze piracy’s effects on the War on Terror and United States’ interest.
United Nations reports that from 2005 to 2012 Somalia’s pirates collected approximately $ 400 million in revenue (Harress, 2013). Then out of nowhere earnings dropped to zero. In 2013, Somali Pirates failed to collect multi-million dollar ransom payouts because they were unable to hijack large, expensive, cargo-laden ships in the Gulf of Aden (Keating, 2014). Again, in the first and second quarters of 2014 there haven’t been any reports about ransom payments.
Stratford Global Security Weekly cites a sharp downward trend with respect to the Piracy off the coast of Somalia. Successful hijackings have decreased from 49 in 2010 to 31 in 2011 and only four attacks in 2012. One critical factor to the sudden drop in attacks is that most maritime shipping companies placed armed guards aboard their vessels in 2011; other protective measures included fences and water cannons to discourage boarding. In addition, the drop in attacks is also attributed to US and International Naval Patrols, for example the United States-backed Combined Task Force 151; the European Union-backed Atlanta Mission, along with the unilateral naval patrols of China, Russia, and Iran (West, 2012).
I foresee a significant reduction in pirate attacks in the long term because of increased naval presence. The other point of view comes from The New York Times which reports that East African piracy appears to have vanished because international naval operations forced pirates to abandon the Gulf of Aden and move their boats into the far reaches of the Indian Ocean in order to experiment with new technology and tactics in response to the security measures in place (Singh, 2013).
Piracy culture defines economic success in Somalia. Much like our American business model of capitalism, the pirates survive by adapting to adverse market conditions and finding a way to make a profit. In the framework of a poor national economy where dinner is priced at less than one dollar, Piracy is seen as Somalia’s most profitable industry. The Wall Street Journal reports that pirates earned $ 150 million in 2008. Pirate bosses reportedly earned an average of $ 2 million, while the individual pirates earned a smaller percentage of the ransom in “thousands” of dollars. Often, the...