Natural Security Series: Global Security and Illegal Fishing in Somalia

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On March 13, desperate Somali fishermen hijacked the tanker Aris-13 off the coast of Puntland, in the northeast part of the country. This was the first such incident in almost five years – raising concerns over a return to piracy in the Horn of Africa. Since then, two similar incidents have occurred – on March 23 and April 1. After a period of relative security on the seas in this region, where a global trade chokepoint exists, the hijackings beg the question – why are Somalis returning to these methods?

The decline in piracy in the Horn of Africa is largely credited to NATO and other international forces, which mobilized in 2008 to combat the hostage-taking of ships in the region. The recent hijackings have occurred not too long after the conclusion of NATO’s anti-piracy mission, known as Operation Ocean Shield, last December.

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