Somali pirates have ended the year with a bumper catch, including a UK-flagged chemical tanker.
The seizure of the St James Park and, earlier, a Yemeni freighter, underlines the continued risk to
shipping in the busy Gulf of Aden trade route. Sea bandits have also hijacked a Panama-flagged Greek cargo ship, north of the Seychelles.
Many believe Somalia’s lawlessness on shore and political instability are the root of the problem.
“What we need to do is to fight piracy not only at sea but to do it also on the mainland,” said Somali Foreign Minister Abdul Rahman Jangeli. “The Somali government and Somali security institutions have to be empowered so that they can deal with these pirates.”
Foreign navies sent to protect commercial shipping have prevented many attacks, capturing dozens of pirates.
Nonetheless, the increased activity of Somali gangs is said to be behind a marked rise in pirate attacks worldwide. The trade remains lucrative, with maritime criminals making tens of millions of euros from seizing ships for ransom.