Recurring acts in piracy off the Somali Coast is called the recent grave threat to International Shipping.
The very latest hijacking by Somali Pirates has been reported in the waters of Gulf of Aden, on Monday 28 June 2010, when ‘GOLDEN BLESSING’ an Indian bound ship on its way from Saudi-Arabia was held captive, along with the 19 Chinese sailors on-board.
Somalia is located in the horn of East Africa and these pirates are young men in the age group 20-35 years, hailing from the region of Puntland, in northern-eastern Somalia, they are mostly former fishermen, ex-militia men and technical experts, who have formed five gangs consisting of 1000 bandits each.
Somalia civil-war of the early 1990’s is said to have displaced and deprived these men of a proper livelihood. Also illegal fishing and dumping of toxic wastes by foreign vessels into the Somali waters has wrecked the earnings of local fisher folk. Hence in a mood of disintegration, they have changed their lifestyle to become fearless pirates, who target foreign vessels and hold the crew as hostages and claim huge ransom from the concerned governments or ship-owners and in most cases they never harm the sailors.
Their ransom rates usually range from $ 17 million to $ 3.2 million and it is said that since 2008 the pirates had earned $100 million through ransom pay.
Speaking on Indian vessels being targeted, on 15 December 2009, Laxmi Sagar with ten sailors was held hostage off Somalia coast, and then on 23 Dec 2009 it was M.T.Agrasen off the Maharashtra Coast held with a Crew of 41.
The biggest capture ever occurred this year on March 23- 25, when 8 Indian boats and 120 of the crew were held hostages, on their return from a port near the rebel territory of Kismayo.
Since Somali Piracy has become a menace, President Sharif Ahmed of Somalia pledged to fight piracy saying, “It is our duty to pursue these criminals, not only on high seas but also on terra firma”.