A practical proposal to crack down on pirates off Somalia

Report calls for a regional coast guard to patrol the coast


Just in time to catch the attention of Americans gripped by the dramatic rescue of Captain Richard Phillips by the U.S. Navy, the Danish Institute for Military Studies is soon to release a report calling for a regional coast guard to patrol the coast of Somalia. It proposes that Kenya, Tanzania, Eritrea, Djibouti, Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia all take part. Sounds more take-charge than Hillary Clinton’s musings about seizing pirates’ financial assets.


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A practical proposal to crack down on pirates off Somalia

  1. Let’s not forget the Somali government, while we’re at it. Weak as it is, it can only be strengthened if some international funding, training and supervision were given to help it set up its own coast guard. If it can control its coasts, then it may over time be able to gain control of its ports as well and work inland from there. The increased port fees would add to its revenue. Win-win.

    • For a Somali government that virtually exists on paper, more would probably be accomplished if it could just gain control over some of its own territory. It’s probably way too premature to give coast guard boats to a government that can’t even secure the ports they would dock at, but your solution is probably the ultimate one.

      It’s cheaper for the shipping companies to just pay out occasional ransoms rather than secure/arm and insure their boats. I think all efforts are just token until: Somalia’s local authorities are strengthened, the international navy presence gets more serious and governments make a concerted international effort to require the shipping companies to better secure their boats. Otherwise it’s a big business hit for any one to try to go it alone (it is a global recession!). Lets not kid ourselves here, a solution to this piracy or an escalation of this problem will cost us in the price of goods.

      • Use of the coast guard to control and/or direct traffic in and out of those ports might give the Somali government the economic leverage it needs to gain control of those ports. It’s not solely a matter of military control, it’s a matter of getting local interests to be aligned in favour of the government.

        It seems to me that the ports are the key to strategic control in Somalia. Whoever controls sea access to the ports controls the ports, and whoever controls the ports controls the hinterland which depends on the ports for trade..

  2. I saw a T shirt that said “Kill them All and Let God Decide” Something to consider when dealing with pirates

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