International efforts since 2005 have focused on three maritime-driven initiatives to defeat and deter Somali piracy: multinational naval task forces, prosecution of criminals apprehended at sea, and commercial shipping best practices. Despite exceptional work in each area of this offshore triad, these initiatives continue to address the symptoms of the problem at best, and at worst to provide a forcing function that accelerates pirates’ innovation. For example, the use of mother ships exploded in 2010 as successful efforts in the Gulf of Aden drove outlaws to operate farther from the shore. One unintended consequence has been that these larger ships allow pirates to overcome the traditional obstacle of seasonal monsoons. January attacks jumped from 7 in 2010 to 37 in 2011.
A New Approach to Piracy
We need to change the conventional wisdom on ship hijacking and take the fight ashore.
By Commander Joshua Himes, U.S. Navy