In recent months, there have been growing reports of more aggressive pirate hijackings off the coast ofSomalia. Because of the increasing number of these attacks, there are now about 750 Somali men in 14 different countries awaiting trial over piracy acts.
This increased aggressive behavior actually comes as a surprise to some officials. Typical Somali pirate behavior involves treating hostages with a certain amount of care. This makes sense considering the captured crew along with the cargo are threatened so that a vast ransom can be negotiated with whomever it may concern. But many pirates are no longer mere disgruntled fisherman and are becoming desperate.
In fact, the EU task force and other navies have emphasized the danger of these situations and have deemed many of them too risky as the lives of hostages could be put in more danger. But is giving up ridiculously large sums of money to these wrongdoers accomplishing much at all? In the short term, lives are being saved. In the long run, however, piracy rates are not being driven down.
Nonetheless, there have been several cases of navies successfully using force to free captives. A recent example would be the brave efforts of the French special forces storming a hijacked yacht where an elderly couple was being robbed and held hostage. The six defendants, now inParis, face life in prison if convicted.
However, not everything is looking down for the coast of this African country. Although attacks like toSomaliamake up more than half of the piracy incidents reported worldwide, the International Maritime Bureau has stated that better policing and improved security have reduced successful hijackings this year.