Posts Tagged ‘somalia’


Thursday, March 31, 2011

You may have read that a prison just for pirates opened recently, financed with UN money and appropriately located in Somaliland, the self-declared autonomous region of Somalia.

Somali pirates arrested by French commandos, photo via

A UN rep laments that they needed to build the prison because while countries will hold trials for stateless people, like pirates roaming the high seas, no one wants to make room for them in their prisons. So the UN decided to build one special.

This story, making the news wire rounds, puts Somali pirates in particular back in the international spotlight. It’s been a while, but you may recall the international melee a few years back when pirates off the coast of Somalia kept kidnapping Europeans and demanding high ransoms for their return. The most interesting part of the story, from a trash perspective, is that these pirates claimed to be defending African waters from the illegal dumping of toxic chemicals by huge European corporations.

As Bloomberg reports, the class, trash and power issues run deep:

Pirates operating off the coast of Somalia carried out 15 of the 16 hijackings at sea this year, according to figures released by the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center on March 24. There are currently 28 seized vessels with 576 hostages held by Somali pirates, the bureau said.

Piracy has flourished off the coast of the Horn of African nation, where a two-decade long war has left the country with no effective government and a moribund economy. Remittances from overseas workers of about $1 billion a year are the country’s main source of revenue, according to the London-based charity World Vision, which runs health, water and education projects in Somalia.

Dead Computers

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Check out the winners of Instructables’ Dead Computers Contest.

Crane game

I wish I had a dead computer so I could make my very own crane game. I’d charge 25 cents a go and use the money to fund trashtastic reporting field trips. via MAKE

The War on Pirates

Monday, April 20, 2009

…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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