Remember the American man and the three Britons who got caught with over $3m, brought into Somalia to pay a ransom to pirates? Luckily they have been released, with the government keeping all the money. This is one of the latest news coming from Somalia, a country increasingly at the centre of the attention of media due to the vast number of maritime hijacking. International bodies and experts are now studying solutions that could effectively tackle this serious issue and guarantee safe trade across the sea and a brighter future for Somalia.
It is of extreme importance to ensure the security of ship crews operating in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, seen by many as off-limits areas. Considered a problem of global scale, costing between $7 and $12 billion each year, it is in everybody's interests to cooperate in order to find the best solutions to the piracy problem.
Very often there is no place where to try pirates, leaving majority of them free to carry on their illegal activities, mainly due to the inefficiency of the Somali central government. The United Nations have, on the 21st of June, underlined the importance of creating specialized courts that could deal with crimes related to piracy. By doing so, it is hoped that many pirates could go to jail, ensuring marine security in the area.
Somali fishermen accuse western countries of illegally dumping toxic waste in their waters as well as illegal fishing. For this reason, stricter control over the operations of fishing off the Somali cost would be necessary as to guarantee local fishermen to continue with their activities and not be forced to become pirates.
It could be argued, however, that fishermen and other people living in this poor corner of the world have realized that piracy is much more lucrative than any other job: young generations might in fact be keener to become pirates than getting any normal job, attracted by the luxurious lifestyle that some ‘successful’ pirates can afford. It is a matter of educating people, especially youngsters, to understand what is right and what is not.
It is of great importance for the well being of the country to create all the necessary conditions for the socio-political and economic stability. Cooperation with local authorities is for this reason a must, with the aim of ensuring maritime security and welfare in the country. Education represents the key for the long term sustainability of the project: schools are asked to form Somali children, which one day will have the duty to drive the country away from poverty and towards a better future. Not for profit organizations such as UNHCR are already operating in Somalia, providing programmes that help children learn skills that can then be applied to any job in order to sustain their long term livelihood.
It is time to give solid help to a county that for too long has been under the control of the West and that in the last 20 years has been left alone, lost in its interior fights, unable to enhance its status and still paying for the effects of capitalism .