Somalian Pirates and the Law of the Sea: International Law in Crisis

EU Somalia Anti-piracy Naval Op Marks 12 Successful Years

Somalilandsun: The nature of Somali piracy is directly related to the country’s political environment, which, since 1991 has been ravaged by civil war and where the government occupies just one portion of the capital. The issue is compounded by Somalia’s geography. About 40% of world exchange has to go across the short straight line between the Horn of Africa and the Arab Peninsula. The volatile humanitarian crisis in Somalia allows more and more citizens to conduct acts of piracy and this makes it almost impossible to enforce the law. At the same time, the wage disparity between the wealthy and the weak has greatly increased. Somalia has the world’s freest liberated open market economy, with no central bank regulating money flow, fixing interest rates, or managing inflation, which could be another reason for people to get involved in crimes like that of Piracy.

Piracy is also said to be funded by influential warlords from Somalia who maintain influence over their respective regions of power; they periodically finance and enjoy the rewards of pirate attacks in the event of a productive hijacking and ransom payment. Pirates are usually active outside the coastal towns of Somalia, where they can easily dock their own skiffs and retrieve their stolen goods and captives. Coastal towns in Somalia profit economically from piracy proceeds and so they have little reason to participate in anti-piracy operations. The government of Somalia has lost full oversight over the numerous maritime regions where pirates are running and are unable to respond with piracy, law enforcement, or any military activity to counter the same.

Hriti Parekh, a student from Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU), Raipur, India, discusses Somalian piracy from the perspective of international law in a piece titled Somalian Pirates and the Law of the Sea: International Law in Crisis