Sunday, April 24, 2011
Somali Pirates - Who is the patronizer?
Journalists For International Peace appealed to Secretary General Ban Ki Moon , to utilize all efforts to recover four Pakistanis including Captain Wasi , from the custody of Somalian Pirates . Though the Inter non-governmental organisations have announced financial support for the release of captain Wasi and other three Pakistani, But so far efforts bore no fruit. The pathetic attitude of government of Pakistan , made the family members of the kidnapees , so desperate that a teen age daughter of captain Wasi, Laila, had announced to sell out her livers for the release of her father.
Earlier, an Indian based non-governmental organisation announced financial support of US$ 0.5 million. Somali pirates demanded US$ 1.1 million of the release of Captain Wasi. Brother of Captain Wasi, Askari Hasan has said that US$ 0.6 million are still remaining to complete the demand of Somali pirates. He also paid thanks for the Indian NGO over the announcement of the support. The pathetic Pakistani Federal Ministers and political tycoons came to various private TV Channels and pledged to recover the Pakistanis after paying ransom from government exchequer , disappeared from the scene. Even Prime Minister Yusuf Raza has failed to understand the gravity of the situation .
Reportedly, the final dead line is just 11 days away to set release Capt. Wasi Hassan with his four Pakistani members and innocent Laila (daughter of Captain Wasi Hassan) is begging for money to release her father from the Somali Pirates.
“After repeated request to government; now family of Captain Wasi has started fund raising campaign on their own. But it is shameful that government has done nothing in this issue and all the political parties are ignoring this issue.” A member of Capt Wasi’s family orchestrated. “We are Muslim; but we forget that Muhammad Bin Qasim travelled thousand miles on the call of his religious sister to save her.” He added .
The daughter of Capt Wasi, innocent Laila questioned Rehman Malik that what he would do if his own son would have been kidnapped; but she couldn't still receive the reply from Rehman baba. I'm sure the reply will never come from him. They don't have the moral courage to face such innocent questions. The pirates have reduced their demand to $2.0 million and $1.5 million have already been arranged by shipping company and international NGO; but still there's a $500,000 difference. I'm sure that Almighty Allah will not disappoint the innocent Laila and she will again see her father safe and sound.
Earlier, Sixteen Pakistanis and two Iranians have been freed from Somali pirates after the Danish Navy carried out an air-raid operation to rescue the Pakistani hostages who have been in the custody of Somali pirates since last year.
On April 2, the Danish Navy’s rescue team was attacked by open fire by the pirates after which the rescue team responded through fire and conquered the ship and its crew. The team boarded the vessel off Somalia's coast targeting an Iranian fishing boat that the pirates had used as a mothership. The rescue operation was backed by aircraft support.
The Danish Navy Spokesperson Kenneth Nielsen confirmed that 15 Somali pirates have been arrested from the ship out of which three received injuries in the operation. All of them are being held in custody of ESBERN SNARE, a Danish ship that is part of NATO’s counter-piracy force. The Danish Navy also recovered arms, weapons and other equipment from their possession.
The Captain of ESBERN SNARE has expressed great pleasure in being able to have the pakistani crew on his ship and participate in their joy. According to him, the freed hostages have been able to call their families from the Danish ship and ”are safely on their way back home”. Kenneth Nielsen has said that no decision has been taken about what to be done with those captured. The possibility of legal prosecutation is under review and the case has been handed over to the Attorney of Special International Crime. The freed hostages have on their own request been brought back to their own ships enabling them to sail back to their domestic areas.The wounded pirates are so far being treated by doctors, Nielsen added.
Four Pakistanis were onboard an Egyptian vessel that was captured by Somali pirates last year. Another ship from Malaysia carrying five Pakistanis was hijacked by the pirates on November 26, 2010 while two more Pakistanis were among hostages of a hijacked ship belonging to the UAE on March 26, 2010. The Companies that own these ships were negotiating with pirates to release their crew members since long but the pirates showed great stance and resistance in any compromise. In March 2011, the Somali pirates sent out the threat to kill four Pakistani hostages if $20 million was not paid to them in ransom by mid March.
In the past year, the Somali pirates have been responsible for numerous kidnapping cases of official crew members from companies around the world, including families traveling on sea. Their criminal activities have become of high concern among the international community and called out for concerted, global action against piracy on the high seas.
On 17 August 2009, NATO’s North Atlantic Council (NAC) approved the Alliance’s latest counter-piracy operation, Operation Ocean Shield. The operation is NATO’s contribution to the international efforts to combat piracy off the Horn of Africa and is focusing on at-sea counter-piracy operations. This operation builds on the experience gained during Operation Allied Protector and Operation Allied provider, NATO’s previous counter-piracy missions. Since 5 August 2010, Denmark has contributed with a support ship, ESBERN SNARE, including crew and a helicopter. Denmark previously contributed to Operation Ocean Shield with the support ship ABSALON from late January until the middle of March 2010.
Reportedly, Many pirates are 20–35 years old and come from the region of Puntland, in northeastern Somalia. The East African Seafarers' Association estimates that there are at least five pirate gangs and a total of 1,000 armed men. According to a BBC report, the pirates can be divided into three main categories:
Local Somali fishermen, considered the brains of the pirates' operations due to their skill and knowledge of the sea. Many think that foreign boats have no right to cruise next to the shore and destroy their boats.
Ex-militiamen, who previously fought for the local clan warlords, or ex-military from the former Barre government used as the muscle.
Technical experts, who operate equipment such as GPS devices.
According to Globalsecurity.org, there are four main groups operating off the Somali coast. The National Volunteer Coast Guard, commanded by Garaad Mohamed, is said to specialize in intercepting small boats and fishing vessels around Kismayo on the southern coast. The Marka group, under the command of Yusuf Mohammed Siad Inda'ade, is made up of several scattered and less organized groups operating around the town of Marka. The third significant pirate group is composed of traditional Somali fishermen operating around Puntland and referred to as the Puntland Group. The last set are the Somali Marines, reputed to be the most powerful and sophisticated of the pirate groups with a military structure, a fleet admiral, admiral, vice-admiral and a head of financial operations.
The conduct of a typical pirate attack has been analyzed and shows that while attacks can be expected at any time, most occur during the day, often in the early hours. They may involve two or more skiffs that can reach speeds of up to 25 knots. With the help of motherships that include captured fishing and merchant vessels the operating range of the skiffs has been increased far into the Indian Ocean. An attacked vessel is approached from quarter or stern, and RPGs and small arms are used to intimidate the operator to slow down and allow boarding. Light ladders are brought along to climb aboard. Pirates then will try and get control of the bridge to take operational control of the vessel.
There have been both positive and negative effects of the pirates' economic success. Local residents have complained that the presence of so many armed men makes them feel insecure, and that their free spending ways cause wild fluctuations in the local exchange rate. Others fault them for excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages and khat.
On the other hand, many other residents appreciate the rejuvenating effect that the pirates' on-shore spending and re-stocking has had on their impoverished towns, a presence which has often provided jobs and opportunity when there were none. Entire hamlets have in the process been transformed into veritable boomtowns, with local shop owners and other residents using their gains to purchase items such as generators -- "allowing full days of electricity, once an unimaginable luxury."
Local fishermen in the Malindi area of Kenya to the south have reported their largest catches in forty years, catching hundreds of kilos of fish and earning fifty times the average daily wage as a result. They attribute the recent abundance of marine stock to the pirates scaring away the foreign fishing trawlers, which it is claimed have for decades deprived local dhows of a livelihood. Marine biologists agree, saying that the indicators are that the local fishery is recovering because of the lack of commercial scale fishing.
The Somalian piracy appears to have a positive impact on the problem of overfishing in Somali waters by foreign vessels, as a comparison has been made with the situation in Tanzania further to the south, which suffers from the same problem, and also lacks the means to enforce the protection and regulation of its territorial waters. There, the catches have dropped to dramatic low levels, whereas in Somalia they have risen back to more acceptable levels since the beginning of the piracy.
The pirates get most of their weapons from Yemen, but a significant amount come from Mogadishu, Somalia's capital. Weapons dealers in the capital receive a deposit from a hawala dealer on behalf of the pirates and the weapons are then driven to Puntland where the pirates pay the balance.Various photographs of pirates in situ indicate that their weapons are predominantly AKMs, RPG-7s, AK47s, and semi-automatic pistols such as the TT-30. Additionally, given the particular origin of their weaponry, they are likely to have hand grenades such as the RGD-5 or F1. Al-Qaeda reportedly funded pirates with cash to purchase weapons. Osama bin-Laden supported these pirates in a video footage aired on al-Jazeera
The funding of piracy operations is now structured in a stock exchange, with investors buying and selling shares in upcoming attacks in a bourse in Harardhere. Pirates say ransom money is paid in large denomination US dollar bills. It is delivered to them in burlap sacks which are either dropped from helicopters or cased in waterproof suitcases loaded onto tiny skiffs. Ransom money has also been delivered to pirates via parachute, as happened in January 2009 when an orange container with $3 million cash inside it was dropped onto the deck of the supertanker MV Sirius Star to secure the release of ship and crew. To authenticate the banknotes, pirates use currency-counting machines, the same technology used at foreign exchange bureaus worldwide. According to one pirate, these machines are, in turn, purchased from business connections in Dubai, Djibouti, and other areas. Hostages seized by the pirates usually have to wait 45 days or more for the ships' owners to pay the ransom and secure their release.
Somali pirates allegedly get help from the Somali diaspora. Somali expatriates, including reputedly some among the 200,000 Somalis living in Canada, offer funds, equipment and information.
The purpose of piracy is to get ransom money for release of the crew, ship, and cargo. Pirates' income from ransom has been estimated to be about 39 million euro (about $58 million) in 2009 and $238 million in 2010. However, indirect costs of piracy are much higher and estimated to be between $7 to 12 billion as they also include insurance, naval support, legal proceedings, re-routing of slower ships, and individual protective steps taken by ship-owners. Further, piracy in Somalia leads to a decrease of revenue for Egypt as fewer ships use the Suez canal (estimated loss of about $642 million), impedes trade with a number of countries such as Kenya and Yemen, and is detrimental to tourism and fishing in the Seychelles.
A 2011 report published by Geopolicity Inc, investigated the causes and consequences of international piracy, with a particular focus on piracy emanating from Somalia. The report asserts that piracy is an emerging market in its own right, valued at between US$4.9-8.3 billion in 2010 alone, and it establishes, for the first time, an economic model for assessing the costs and benefits of international piracy. This model provides a comprehensive, independent framework of trend analysis, whilst also highlighting where the greatest rates of return on international counter pirate investment and policy are to be found across what Geopolicity term the ‘Pirate Value Chain.’ The report states that the number of pirates could double by 2016, increasing by 400 each year.
Journalists For International Peace appealed to Ban Kio Moon that UNO and NOTA forces must undertake concrete measures to clean the international sea from the Somalian Pirates and also unearth the hidden hand which patronises these pirates. “ USA and her allies are claiming to curb the terrorism from any country where it prevails, but the desperately fails to nab a group of pirates , which became a permanent threat to almost all the passenger or cargo ships”. Iftikhar Chaudri added in a statement here at JIP office. He also appealed to President Asif Ali Zadari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani to take a sympathetic view of the case and recover all detainee Pakistanis from the custody of the pirates.