Somalia – the pirate’s safe haven

Geo coordinates: 10 00 N, 49 00 E
Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

MARAD Notice to Mariners (Piracy – Gulf of Aden/2008)
MARAD Notice To Mariners (Piracy – Somalia)

Somalia, a lawless country located in the Horn of Africa region, has no effective central government, and it is dominated by violent clan-based militia groups who are controlled by warlords. It remains as a safe haven for extremists, terrorists, and of course, pirates.

Somalia is strategically located and adjacent to one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world along the southern approaches to Bab el Mandeb Strait and the route through the Red Sea and Suez Canal. The proximity to shipping and the lack of any effective government combine to make Somalia the perfect safe haven for maritime pirates. They operate from Somalia with virtual impunity and have become folk heroes to most Somalis in the process.

There are large numbers of naval and ground military forces of several nations deployed in the region as a result of the Global War On Terrorism and its related operations. Some of those forces include:

Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) – Counter-Piracy Operations
Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) – Maritime Security Operations
Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA)
In spite of the military presence, the Somali pirates continue to increase their level of audacity and have extended their reach to hundreds of miles offshore. The presence of naval warships and increased aerial reconnaissance by the military forces of several nations has had minimal impact on the Somali pirates. There have been recent successful interventions, but the pirates are shifting their operations faster than military forces can react.

However, the newly established counter-piracy task force CTF-151 will likely have a significant impact on the pirates operating out of Somalia.

In the coming days, will be bringing you an in-depth look at the region, with a specific focus on Somalia. As we continue our site upgrade, please take advantage of the external links in reference to Somalia and piracy.