The numerous foreign navies that have been sent to patrol the increasingly dangerous waters around the Gulf of Aden have made some small successes. But they have not been enough to deter a growing number of pirates who have been able to spend ransom money on getting better equipped.
Just today the Indian navy sank a pirate boat, but everyone knows the patrol ships cannot be everywhere. More big guns are coming though: 12 EU nations will be part of a new crackdown starting in early December.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said: “Britain will from next month be leading a European Union foreign defence policy group that works to use European military assets, naval assets, to disrupt and to tackle the scourge of piracy in the Gulf of Aden.”
However, many observers say not a lot will change until stability and security are brought to Somalia, which has fallen deeper into anarchy over the past 10 years. Militias and warlords are now heavily involved in piracy and so-called government officials are accused of complicity.
Arthur Bowring from the Hong Kong Shipowners’ Association said: “It’s lawless on the coast to shore. There’s very little enforcement policing action going on there because its government is not fully effective in Somalia. Pirate gangs can really operate with almost total impunity.”
So far this year pirates have attacked close to 100 ships in the Gulf of Aden, with 36 hijackings recorded by authorities. Observers say the seizure of the Sirius is a warning that the pirates now have no limits.