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No Solution in Sight for Pirate Attacks

When Lloyd’s of London queried experts recently about the prospects for curtailing piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Eastern-African coastal waters, the replies were discouraging. Nigel Miller, war risks advisor to the UK government, said the only long-term solution is “a stable Somali government.” Bruno Schuoler, special risks underwriter at Travelers agreed.  However, the prospect for change in Somalia is dim. Thoko Kaime, head of Africa forecasting at Exclusive Analysis, commented that Somalia’s pirate economy “is now a major revenue earner and it is unlikely that the government will use its militias to push for a clamp-down on piracy.”

A total of 102 incidents of piracy were reported in the first quarter of 2009 compared to 53 in the same period last year. The increase came primarily from piracy off the Gulf of Aden and the east coast of Somalia. The two areas accounted for 61 of the 102 attacks during the first quarter, compared to six in the first quarter of 2008. Thirty four vessels were boarded, 29 fired upon, and nine hijacked. A total of 178 crew members were taken hostage, nine injured, five kidnapped, and two killed.