Story over? Not really. This wasn't the first piracy case off the coast of Somalia and it won't be the last. This past December, a Saudi supertanker carrying $100 million worth of oil was hijacked, with the pirates eventually getting paid $3 million in ransom. Piracy has risen dramatically in recent years, with over 100 incidents reported off the coast of Somalia in 2008. This year is set to be even more dangerous with the International Maritime Bureau citing about 70 attacks in the first few months of 2009, and with Somali pirates currently holding about 200 international crew members hostage - Asians, Arabs and Eastern Europeans.
Somali pirates actually seek to "justify" these attacks in their local society. They justify their attacks against international vessels on the grounds that the latter represent foreign incursions into Somali waters to engage in unlicensed fishing and to dump toxic waste.
The costs to the global economy from thus piracy, particularly the economies of the Gulf States, the United States, and Europe, are mounting. Piracy off the coast of Somalia has amplified the price of vessel insurance and, thus, it has increased the price of goods transmitted through this prime trade route. Typically, at least 20,000 ships a year pass through these waters transporting goods as well as 7 percent of the world's oil. Furthermore, many ships have rerouted traveling all the way around Africa to avoid the pirates and the higher insurance rates. Egypt's economy, in particular, is suffering from route diversions.
The United Nations Security Council forcefully responded to the piracy off Somalia by passing Resolution 1851 last December. The resolution permits member states to pursue and capture pirates with the permission of the transitional federal government of Somalia (as the United States Navy did to rescue Captain Phillips). In addition, NATO and other counter-piracy forces have been dispatched to Somali waters, an area spanning 6.6 million square kilometers - an area about 10 times the size of the state of Texas.
Also of major significance is that the leader of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, issued an audio tape last month calling on fringe terror groups operating in the dark margins of Somali society to rise up against the new government. Notably, no strong organic linkage has been established between Somali pirates and global terror groups like Al-Qaeda; nevertheless, potential collusion between pirates and terrorist networks in that volatile region of East Africa constitutes a valid security concern...more..http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=5&article_id=101277