Somali Pirates Now Protect Illegal Fishing Vessels, UN Reports

Associated Press,
Friday, July 26, 2013
AP photo/ Farah Abdi Warsameh

The maritime industry has recently seen a decrease in Somali piracy, but many pirates have turned to a new criminal activity: protecting illegal fishing boats off the Somali coast.

The Associated Press reported that many pirates in the country now “provide ‘security’ for ships illegally plundering Somalia's fish stocks - the same scourge that launched the Horn of Africa's piracy era eight years ago.”

“Somali piracy was recently a fearsome trend that saw dozens of ships and hundreds of hostages taken yearly,” AP reported, “but the success rate of the maritime hijackers has fallen dramatically over the last year thanks to increased security on ships and more effective international naval patrols.”

Instead of carrying out acts of traditional piracy, the criminals are seeking new, more profitable ways to generate illegal revenue, guarding illegal fishing vessels and participating in arms, drugs and human trafficking, according to a report recently published by the UN.

According to local officials, as many as 180 Iranian and 300 Yemeni vessels are criminally fishing Puntland waters, along with a small number of Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and European-owned vessels.

Though hijackings have decrease in frequency since 2010, danger in the area persists. The UN estimates Somali pirates generated roughly $32 million in ransom last year.

As for the new harboring of illegal fish boats, it remains to be seen how much money criminals will draw.

Source: AP , staff

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