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Friday, 17 March 2017

A step in the right direction off Somalia!

Ten years ago, piracy out of Somalia was on the rise. It peaked in 2011 with about 240 reported incidents [1]. Since 2013, the number of reported incidents has been below 20 and in 2016 only two were reported [2]. None of these two attempts was successful. Now in Mars 2017 the first successful attack off Somalia was reported by news media, a small oil tanker was boarded and hijacked. However, it is now reported that a “release occurred after negotiations by local elders and officials with the pirates” [3]. At sea the Puntland naval forces had earlier attempted to cut off supplies to the pirates onboard the hijacked ship [3, 4].

Given the fact that NATO ended its anti-piracy operation off Somalia in December 2016 [5]* it is especially important that now efforts out of Somalia has shown potential in combating piracy.

* The operation was by NATO describes as a success. I would however like to stress that the military component was one of several important aspects. Also the increase in awareness and preparedness onboard ships transiting thru the high risk waters and the changes within Somalia has been as important as the naval component in decreasing piracy off Somalia.

[1] Liwång, H., Sörenson, K. & Österman, C. (2015). Ship security challenges in high-risk areas: manageable or insurmountable? WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs (JoMA), 14(2), 201-217.

[2] IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (2017). Piracy and armed robbery against ships, yearly report for 2016. IMB Piracy Reporting Centre.
[3] The Telegraph (2017). Somali pirates release oil tanker and crew without ransom. Online:
[4] Dagens Nyheter (2017). Somaliska pirater släpper kapad båt [Somali pirates releases hijacked ship]. Online:
[5] NATO (2016). NATO concludes successful counter-piracy mission. Online: