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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Somali Pirates

Somalia officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under communist rule, is a country located in the Horn Of Africa, bordered by Djibouti  to the Northwest Kenya to the Southwest, the Gulf Of Aden with Yemen  to the North, the Indian Ocean to the East, and Ethiopia to the West.


Somali  and Arabic are the official languages of Somalia, while English and Italian are designated "second languages


Somalia has a population of around 10 million inhabitants, about 85% of whom are ethnic somalis. Non-Somali ethnic minority groups are largely concentrated in the southern regions.


Most Somalis are Muslims,the majority belonging to the Sunni branch of Islam.

Since 1991( In 1991, Mohammad Siad Barre's government collapsed as the Somali Civil War broke out.) no central government has controlled the entirety of the country, despite several attempts to establish a unified central government.
The North Western part of the country has been relatively stable under the Self declared but Unrecognized, Sovereign State of Somaliland


The Self-Governing Region of Puntland covers the Northeast of the country. It declares itself to be autonomous, but not independent from Somalia.

The Islamist Al-Shabaab controls a large part of the South of the country.

Without a central government, Somalia's inhabitants subsequently reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, either Civil; Islamic or Customary law .
The internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government (TFG) controls only parts of the capital and some territory in the centre of the nation, but has re-established national institutions such as the Military of Somalia  and is working towards eventual national elections in 2011 when the interim government's mandate expires.

 Somali Civil War
 In January 1991 forces of the Hawiye-based United Somali Congress (USC) led a popular uprising that overthrew Siad and drove him to seek asylum among his own clansmen.
1991 was a time of great change for Somalia. President Barre was ousted by combined northern and southern clan-based forces, all of whom were backed and armed by Ethiopia .
Following the outbreak of the Civil War, many of Somalia's residents left the country in search of asylum. At the end of 2009, about 678,000 were under the responsibility of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR )constituting the 3rd largest refugee group after war-afflicted Iraq and Afganistan.

Somali Piracy
A consequence of the collapse of governmental authority that accompanied the civil war has been the emergence of a significant problem with Piracy in the Waters off of the coast of Somalia.
Piracy arose as a response by local fishermen to illegal fishing by foreign trawlers.
An upsurge in piracy in the Gulf Of Aden and the Indian Ocean  has also been attributed to the effects of the 26.12.2004 Tsunami that devastated local fishing fleets and washed ashore containers filled with toxic waste that had been dumped by European fishing vessels

Somali Pirates

International Maritime Bureau (IMB) considers the Somali coast to be the most dangerous stretch of water in the world. At any given time pirates are holding atleast a dozen ships hostage 

Somali pirates have attacked hundreds of vessels in the Arabian Sea/Indian Ocean region, though most attacks do not result in a successful hijacking

In 2008, there were 111 attacks which included 40 successful hijackings. However, this is only a fraction the up to 30,000 merchant vessels which pass through that area

In 2008, 40 ships were successfully captured and ransoms were paid ranging from $500,000 to $2 million. In 2010, 49 ships were hijacked off the coast of Somalia (out of a total of 53 worldwide) .Somali pirates seized a record 1,181 hostages in 2010, and were paid many millions of dollars in ransom - BBC Report 

Indian sailors abducted by Somali pirates

On March 29, 2010, the Iceberg 1(owned by a Dubai- based company that is registered in Panama) a 3,960 dry weight tonnes vessel was hijacked 10 nautical miles from the port Aden,Gulf Of Aden. It is being held at Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean, off the coast of Somalia.The ship had 24 crew members - 9 Yemenis, 6 Indians, 4 Ghanaians, 2 Sudanese, 2 Pakistani, 1 Filipino on board.The ransom demanded for Iceberg's release was not known.

Again On August 2, 2010, the MV Suez(owned by Egyptian firm Red Sea Navigation) a merchant vessel was attacked and hijacked by  Somali pirates The ship had 23 crew members -11 Egyptians, 6 Indians, 4 Pakistanis, 2 Sri Lankans.The pirates have demanded $ 4 million to release the hostages on MV Suez.

The families of 12 Indian sailors being held captive by Somali Pirates have found the hard way  to cut through the red tape in government offices.The 7 day deadline to free  6 Indians for ransom ends today 09.03.2011.

Reasoable Care and Diligence is absolutely lacking on the part of the MEA;Embassy Officials ; Shipping Ministery and the Central Government in handling the release of the hijacked sailors which is self-evident from the fact that morethan 6 months have passed and no concrete idea/strategy has emerged to release the Indian sail

The Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi, decided to formulate a suitable standard operating procedures for the Navy in the anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.

1)separate statute with provisions to effectively tackle the problem that takes place far away from Indian shores

2) The Navy has deployed three ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea to deal with the piracy menace.

Navy intercepts pirate ship, rescues 13 sailors

The Indian Navy's INS Kalpeni intercepted a pirate mother vessel identified as Vega-5(a Mozambique flagged fishing vessel which was hijacked on December 28, 2010 and was being used for piracy operations)600 nautical miles west of the Indian coast in the Arabian Sea on Monday 14.03.2011 and rescued 13 hostages and 61 pirates have also been caught in the operation carried out.





11 Indian crew members on board Rak Afrikana were abducted by pirates in April 2010 off the coast of Seychelles and were kept at Obyo port in Somalia.The pirates released the ship and the crew last week and the freed Indian Sailors on Wednesday 16.03.2011 landed in New Delhi and Mumbai after almost a year in captivity on their ship in Somalia.

 However, it has come to known that at least 54 more sailors are still in captivity in over 40 international ships across the coast of Somalia.

Indian sailors of MV Suez reach Delhi:24.06.11

After 10 months of captivity by Somali pirates, 6 Indian sailors of MV Suez reached the Delhi Airport on Friday. They were welcomed by their families and friends who praised and thanked Pakistani Human Rights activist Ansar Burney, who arranged for the ransom money to get the sailors released.  


The pirates released the crew of the Egyptian-owned ship, comprising six Indians, four Pakistanis, 11 Egyptians and one Sri Lankan after ransom of $ 2 million was paid to them.



British and the US forces on Tuesday October11,2011 stormed an Italian cargo ship 'Montecristo' in the Indian Ocean in an operation to free the crew including 6 Indians that was hijacked by Somali pirates and arrested 11pirates who hijacked the ship.


Somali Pirates Free Hijacked Italian Tanker 'Savina Caylyn'


Somali pirates have freed an Italian oil tanker 'Savina Caylyn' on Wednesday Dec 21,2011 hijacked in February with five Italians and 17 Indians on board after nearly 11 months in captivity.The 105,000-ton tanker owned by Naples shipping company Fratelli D'Amato was seized on February 8 after five pirates aboard a skiff opened fire with rocket launchers and submachine guns near the Yemeni island of Socotra.The ship was on its way from Sudan to Malaysia and was carrying a load of crude oil for the Arcadia commodities trading company.


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