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Piracy News & Commentary

Somali Anti-Piracy Law Fails to Pass

The BBC reports that a proposed law under the interim Somali government to combat piracy by criminalizing it failed to pass when some MPs opposed it, calling the pirates heroes who act as an informal coastguard and keep foreign fishing fleets from pillaging Somali waters. Malaysian and Taiwanese industrial fishing vessels have been named as the greatest offenders in this regard. Even so, Somali pirates do not primarily target offending pirate fishing vessels, but any commercial or private vessel. Pirate fishing--which has depleted Somali fishing stocks--may have put the match to the fuse, but is hardly the reason Somali piracy is so active. It is active because it is lucrative and no one is willing to put a stop to it. Other objections to the law included the issue of authority to pass such a law, which in fact cannot be enforced by the Somali authorities, for they lack navy or coastguard. One MP suggested that the offense of piracy should be punished by Sharia law.
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