A US flagged merchant ship is heading for Kenya under an American naval escort after a failed effort by Somalipirates to hijack the ship. The incident follows recent rescue attempts by both the French and the Americans against Somali pirates. Rob Watson reports:
The piracy problem looks like it's here to staydespite the recent muscular interventions by the French and American navies. Whether this latest attempted hijacking was the promised revenge for the killing of three Somali pirates by the US navyisn't clear. But it does suggest at the very least that the pirates haven't been deterred.
So why does the problem persist? Put simply maritime security analysts say piracy will continue as long asthe financial rewards for a successful hijacking remain so great and Somalia remains so lawless. Certainly the international effort to thwart the problem is relatively limited. At any one time there areonly fifteen to eighteen international warships in the area to police an expanse of sea covering more than a million square kilometres. Although it has been suggested that raids could be mounted onthe pirates' home towns, it seems unlikely there'll be any major increase in the military effort unless there's a spectacular hijacking attack involving the deaths of many crew members.
Thereluctance to mount a major international naval operation in the area may also be down to the relatively small scale of the problem. Last year, according to figures from the International Maritime Bureau,nearly twenty three thousand ships passed through the Gulf of Aden. Only ninety two were hijacked. Rob Watson, BBC News
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Vocabulary and definitions here to stay when something is not unusual any longer/is generally becoming accepted (although not because it is a necessarily good thing) muscular...