Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. 
Photo: Forsvarets Mediearkiv.Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Photo: Forsvarets Mediearkiv

Seeking solutions to Somali piracy

11/21/2009 // There was widespread agreement at the UN Security Council that the solution to Somali piracy is to be found on land, not at sea. In the open debate in the Security Council on Wednesday 18 November, Ambassador Morten Wetland reiterated Norway’s commitment to the fight against piracy in Somali waters.

Ambassador Wetland stressed that the root cause of piracy and armed robbery is instability and weakening of government institutions in Somalia.

"Bringing peace and stability to Somalia, re-establishing effective government institutions in the country, are essential for a long-term solution also to piracy. Humanitarian, development and security assistance are therefore needed and Norway is conscious of this and shouldering our part," Ambassador Wetland said. 

According to the International Maritime Organisation 34 vessels have been hijacked and more than 450 people held hostage at some point in the time period January-September this year.

The UN Special Representative to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, kicked off the Security Council debate by presenting a report on piracy. Mr. Abdallah made clear piracy is a highly profitable business and a criminal activity that affects not just the region, but many parts of the world. He said the problem of piracy is a symptom of the major problems that have plagued Somalia for nearly two decades. He stressed that the only sustainable solution would be effective governance, the establishment of the rule of law and functioning security institutions. He also emphasised the necessity of job creation on the mainland in order to provide an alternative to piracy on the high seas.

About a thousand Norwegian-owned ships pass through Somali waters each year. Ambassador Wetland said that, while hijackings still take place, we are now beginning to see the effects of preventive measures taken by the shipping industry.  

Norway is currently chairing the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. The group was created to facilitate discussion and coordination of actions among states and organizations to suppress piracy. One of the group's achievements is to create a trust fund to enhance the judicial capacity of regional states to enable them to efficiently try alleged pirates in accordance with international human rights standards. Norway is one of the main contributors to the fund, and is also contributing with a frigate to the EU naval operation Atalanta.


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