The effect of thieves on materials shipments has come to the attention of world news as pirates based in Somalia have hijacked vessels in recent months. The problem has grown into huge proportions that are affecting the profits of shipping companies and manufacturers around the world.
Somalia has been without a functional government for several years. A civil war tore the country apart and the government that is officially in charge of the country is unable to stop the illegal activity along the coastline waters. The economy is in a shambles and those who served in the unofficial armies and impoverished fishermen have learned to put together their skills and engage in money-making tactics that have produced what may total between 150 and 200 million dollars in payments.
Armed thieves approach a ship that is tipping the Horn of Africa, take the sailors, ship and freight for ransom, and then demand several million dollars in ransom be paid for the release of the sailors and ship. The thieves are motivated by only in the ransom and have been willing to let go the sailors and cargo unharmed when their demands are met. For a while, shipping companies and foreign ruling bodies were eager to pay the ransoms to gain the release of the sailors and freight. The thieves have been brazen, even seizing Russian tanks for a brief period of time.
The effect of thieves on cargo shipping businesses has been destructive, not only millions of dollars in ransoms but expensive delays. Disrupted shipments have created a new problem in delivery dates as most prisoners and freight have remained under Somali control for a few weeks or two at a time before being released. The logistics business has the responsibility of organizing the moving of cargo and is forced to appease shipment purchasers as the merchandise stays in Somali ports undelivered. construction debris
Multi national incidents have accelerated as governments have chosen to respond with an armed military presence. The military ships first patrolled international waters but have now moved into Somali sovereign waters with the governmentï¿½s approval. The military presence has slowed the thieves but the problem remains.
Where money is being made, sophisticated weapons are accessible. thieves are armed with automatic rifles and grenade launchers, typically a real danger to unarmed or lightly armed sailors on the victim vessels. Speedboats are the watercraft of choice and vessels stand little chance of getting away from them.
Countries as diverse as South Korea, Japan, India, Russia and the America have sent their navies to accompany their vessels through the area. As firepower has arrived, inevitable altercations between assaulting thieves and the opposing navies have led to the deaths of thieves and innocent noncombatants. An Indian ship even shot at on another vessel that was erroneously believed to be carrying thieves, but didn`t.
The psychological affect on civilian crew members has led to near panic when suspected thieves have approached. Captured crew members have been treated well so far but thereï¿½s no assurance that this will continue.