War Is Boring: In Somalia, Security Gains Mean Piracy Decline

War Is Boring: In Somalia, Security Gains Mean Piracy Decline

ABOARD U.S.S. DONALD COOK -- In 2008, Somali pirates hijacked more than 100 large commercial vessels, provoking a massive international response. More than 40 warships from a dozen navies subsequently assembled to patrol the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. At the same time, diplomats forged consensus approaches that included U.N. declarations governing operations in Somali waters, military accords uniting formerly rival navies, and legal frameworks for prosecuting suspected pirates in various national jurisdictions.

The result, a year into this "global war on piracy," is that successful hijackings are way down. In the three months ending in September 2008, there were 17 hijackings in East African waters. In the same period this year, there was just one. The decline of piracy "is a fact," according to Steve Chick, the Royal Navy commodore of a five-ship NATO flotilla patrolling east of Djibouti under Operation Ocean Shield. World Politics Review spoke to Chick during a four-day embarkment this month on the U.S.S. Donald Cook, a U.S. destroyer assigned to NATO.

Sailors stand guard as the U.S.S. Donald Cook departs Djibouti, Sept. 24, 2009 (David Axe).

Chick attributed the suppression of piracy to several factors, including improved military coordination and the widespread adoption of better self-defense tactics by the world's shipping companies -- sailing faster, for instance, and lining a ship's railings with barbed wire to ward off boarders.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review