Tackling Somali piracy needs new onshore focus, says World Bank

Those on land who enable business to thrive should be targeted, report concludes

Somali minister for justice Abdullah Noor addresses a delegation from the World Bank during discussions over piracy, in the capital Mogadishu  today. Photograph: Feisal Omar/Reuters

Somali minister for justice Abdullah Noor addresses a delegation from the World Bank during discussions over piracy, in the capital Mogadishu today. Photograph: Feisal Omar/Reuters

Thu, Apr 11, 2013, 19:50

Ending Somali piracy requires a shift from reliance on security at sea to targeting those on land who enable the lucrative business to thrive, according to the World Bank.

Although the number of attacks has markedly fallen since 2011 thanks to tougher security aboard ships and increased western naval patrols, piracy emanating from the lawless Horn of Africa nation may still cost the world economy about $18 billion a year, the bank said in a report released today.

Pirates operate far beyond Somalia’s waters, disrupting shipping on global routes in the Indian Ocean and into the Red Sea. Since the first reported hijacking in 2005, 149 ships have been seized, raising total ransoms of $315 million-$385 million.

That is a fraction of the amount the World Bank, in its 218-page report, estimates it costs the world economy from distortions to trade prompted by piracy.

Talk among donors of offering alternative livelihoods to pirates has had little impact given that Somalia’s government has limited control over the country – and a pirate’s booty is far higher than other work could offer.

One expert said a pirate who can earn $5,000 in a night’s work capturing a ship will not be tempted by fishing classes giving him skills that may earn just a few dollars a day. – (Reuters)