Sea Transportation: Anything But That

January 22, 2011: The Somali piracy problem is not going away, despite years of efforts by an every-growing international anti-piracy patrol off the East African coast and the Indian Ocean. Since 2005, the average ship (and crew) ransom has increased over ten times (from $150,000). Thus overall cost of Somali piracy has increased to more than $5 billion a year. Most of the cost is from addition expenses for ships staying at sea longer as they avoid going anywhere near Somalia. This has cost Egypt over 20 percent of the traffic through the Suez canal, which amounts to over a billion dollars a year in lost revenue. The anti-piracy patrol costs nearly a billion dollars a year, but most of the extra costs hit the shipping companies, and their customers, who pay more for ships spending more time at sea, or the expense of additional security measures.

Although the Somali pirates are Moslems, and threaten the Moslem nations in the region, none of those Moslem nations is willing to carry out the only solution that would end the problem. That is, landing troops and taking control of the coastal towns and villages the pirates use as bases. As the pirates more frequently move into the Red Sea, they threaten great damage to the economies of Sudan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. But none of these countries is eager to take on the Somali pirates on land. Everyone is calling for "the world" (non-Moslem nations) to contribute ships and soldiers to deal with the problem. But no one is willing to put troops ashore, and end up spending more than $5 billion a year fighting the fractious and aggressive Somalis.

 

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