The international community must revitalize military, diplomatic and economic interventions to eradicate the menace of piracy off the coast of Somalia, experts told Xinhua in separate interviews Friday.
While agreeing that piracy in the expansiveSomalia coastline has diminished remarkably thanks to military onslaught by foreign naval forces, the experts said new strategies were required to ensure the challenge does not recur.
Noel Choong, the head of Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) at the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), hailed joint military interventions that have led to a slump in piracy along the Somali coastline.
While noting that no single case of piracy has been reported in the Somalia coastline since 2015, Choong attributed this feat to enhanced patrols and economic empowerment for the horn of African state’s youth.
“It is true piracy has declined in Somalia coast mainly due to international ship’s adhering to the latest best management practices (BMP4) recommendations and private armed security guard onboard ship s,” Choong said.
However, experts still believe that a single successful hijacking of a merchant vessel will rekindle the Somali pirates’ passion to resume its piracy efforts.
The menace of piracy in the larger Gulf of Eden that reached a crescendo five years ago triggered an international military response.
Foreign nations in the West as well as China, India and a number of countries in the Far East dispatched their naval forces to help protect ships from pirates.
Choong noted that a combined military onslaught and a host of economic incentives targeting jobless Somalia youth have dealt piracy a fatal blow.
“The joint effort by the international community to fight pirates is a success as seen from results to date. We are aware that certain groups may be looking to create more jobs inSomalia so that youths can take legitimate jobs and not become pirates,” Choong told Xinhua.
China is among countries that were quick to deploy naval forces to fight piracy that was affecting a critical maritime trade route.
According to Choong, a strategic military intervention from Beijing boosted anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Eden.
“China’s efforts including other navies providing escorts are without question a very important part of reducing the number of attacks on ships,” said Choong.
He emphasized that political stability in Somalia alongside strengthening of the rule of law and economic empowerment of the youth are key to eradicate the menace of piracy.
The IMB official noted that the international community must support the Somali government to strengthen anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Eden.
“International navies are still needed to prevent the resurgence of piracy. One new incident may rekindle the piracy situation due to unstable situation in the area in terms of economic instability, poverty, political problems and insecurity,” Choong said.
He proposed the creation of a well equipped coast guard and navy to strengthen patrols in the Gulf of Eden.