The War on Pirates


…is rooted in trash. Nuclear waste to be specific. So reports Al Jazeera.

Somali pirates have accused European firms of dumping toxic waste off the Somali coast and are demanding an $8m ransom for the return of a Ukranian ship they captured, saying the money will go towards cleaning up the waste.

UPDATE: I’ve been reading conflicting things about pirates and trash. One camp thinks they’re eco-warriers or robin hoods, the other side thinks they are making it all up or selling Somali people an underdog narrative that sugarcoats the darker side of, well, piracy. Everyone seems to agree that pirates do bad things and that Somalia’s particular misfortune is the root cause of piracy. This freshly posted AP article gives some background.

Analysts blame Somalia’s nearly 20 years of lawlessness for fueling piracy’s rise.

Years ago, foreign trawlers began taking advantage of Somalia’s civil war to fish its waters illegally and dump toxic waste there. Vigilante Somali fishermen tried to defend their shores, and later morphed into full-blown pirates.

Attacks have risen markedly in recent weeks, and brigands hold at least 17 other ships and around 300 crew.

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3 Responses to “The War on Pirates”

  1. Victor Bernhardtz Says:

    A friend back in Sweden in touch with people in Somalia heard a story about an Italian tanker hijacked and abandoned because it was carrying nuclear waste. It does seem unlikely to me, but who knows?

  2. Leila Darabi Says:

    I am talking to a Somali grad student about this issue later in the week. In searching online, there’s a lot out there on the back stories of pirates, especially on alternative media sites. Sorting through what’s what may be a challenge.

    PS Note the role reversal today: you post lots of photos, I post none and talk about nuclear waste 😉

  3. Victor Bernhardtz Says:

    Versatile garblogging. The very best.

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