Interview: Piracy still a threat off Somalia despite successes: UN official

NAIROBI, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) — The threat of piracy off the coast of Somalia looms large despite significant gains made against it, says a UN official.

Andrew McLaughlin, the Program Officer in charge of Global Maritime Security at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) told Xinhua in Kenyan capital Nairobi that a fragile political, economic and security situation in Somalia could provide a fertile ground for piracy to thrive.

“Piracy in Somalia has not been defeated but only countered. The threat can recur since the security and economic situation in Somalia remains dire,” McLaughlin said in an interview with Xinhua.

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One response to “Interview: Piracy still a threat off Somalia despite successes: UN official”

  1. Mark Lowe says:

    An interesting article inasmuch as the principal issues related to suppressing any reemergence of maritime piracy are cited, namely:

    • “…enhanced capacity for Somalia coast guard and maritime police…”;
    • “…law enforcement was [is] key to dismantling criminal networks involved in piracy in Somalia waters.”; and
    • “…economic incentives like the rebuilding of fishing industry in Somalia would dissuade jobless youth from becoming pirates.”

    Enhanced capacity, law enforcement and economic incentives, three absolutely essential elements, however, unachievable, or at best unsustainable, without the assurance of an efficient judiciary and judicial process, political stability and, by consequence, social stability.

    Law enforcement is a pointless objective without the support of legal process, ergo courts and correctional facilities, both products of a stable environment.

    Economic incentives that are of advantage to the population are only possible in a stable environment.

    Somalia has a very long way to go before it achieves any form of stability, nevertheless, considerable progress has been made over the past few years and there are reasons to be confident in the country’s ability to become a nation and then a state.

    As regards:
    • “…better intelligence gathering could help enable law enforcement agencies arrest and prosecute piracy kingpins.”; and
    • “…the withdrawal of international naval patrol vessels from Somalia waters might create a security vacuum that could be exploited by pirates to launch new attacks on cargo ships.”

    Better intelligence gathering capacities are always required and are always beneficial, however, the piracy kingpins and their financial and operational support groups are well-known, a fact that I would link to the concept of any withdrawal of naval patrols vessels creating a security vacuum that would be exploited.

    Without a shadow of doubt the prospect of being arrested at sea is a strong dissuading factor, but a stronger dissuading factor would be the risk of not having access to safe havens on land.

    Resolving Somalia’s woes will require many more years of foreign support and intervention. Investment has to be made in achieving stability and the subsequent nation building effort.

    However valid and efficient, naval patrols are, and will remain, an emergency measure, not a solution.

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