Another detention after poor treatment, or during rescue

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Last updated: August 21, 2019

Anothercost, which was not significantly addressed in other literature being reviewed,was the cost concerning individual humans. The World Bank reports that “As manyas 3,741 crewmembers of 125 different nationalities became victims of thesepirates, with detention periods as long as 1,178 days. Reportedly, 82 to 97seafarers have died either during the attacks, in detention after poortreatment, or during rescue operations” (The World Bank, 2013, pp. xiii).  Accordingto Alessi and Hanson some experts allude to collusion between the pirates inSomalia, and the terrorist group Al-Shabab also operating in Somalia andregionally (Alessi and Hanson, 2012, pp.

4). As one example, they offer anarticle by Bruno Schiemsky written for Jane’s Intelligence Review, presentingthe links between the two organizations. However, according to Martin Murphy,and quoted by Alessi and Hanson, the links between the pirates and Al-Shababare limited at best due to lack of hard evidence. Murphy proffers that if thereis a link, it is strictly economic and exploitative in nature in that thepirates are reduced to simply “another source of finance” (Alessi and Hanson,2012, pp.

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4). The World Bank presents some kind of linkage between pirates andIslamist insurgents and presents further or enhanced cooperation as a concern(The World Bank, 2013, pp. xiv).

With the growing threat posed by pirates tothe sea lanes, regional stability, possible links to terrorism, and increasingglobal costs, certainly the international community had to intervene in somecapacity to limit, or outright prevent pirate activities.  Thefirst major modern international initiative which sought to bring furtherstability to the seas was the implementation of the United National Conventionon the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1994. Amongst a host of legal precedence setby this resolution, this resolution also considered acts of piracy bydetermining that, legally, “piracy is a universal crime, and subjects piratesto arrest and prosecution by any nation.” (Alessi and Hanson, 2012, pp. 6).However, there is an interesting caveat to this stability-seeking resolutionpresented by Anderson.

UNCLOS, passed roughly three years following thecollapse of the Somali government in 1991, restricted Somali fisherman to aclearly, and legally, defined area influencing increased competition betweenSomali fishermen (Anderson, 2010, pp. 326-327). Anderson points to a majordeficiency in the language, and thus legal issues, of UNCLOS. The language employedin UNCLOS Article 220 supposes that there are operational and legitimategovernment institutions with the capability of combating, enforcing, andprosecuting pirates under international law which are mechanisms Somalia doesnot possess (Anderson, 2010, pp. 328). Due to the nonexistence of aninternational enforcing agency (i.e.

a world police), Anderson argues that the”international community is failing to self-regulate by ignoring evidencesuggesting that its members are taking advantage of a collapsed state that hasno ability to enforce international law” which thus “forces the localcommunities to take matters into their own hands” (Anderson, 2010, pp. 328).  Around2008 the international community began a more aggressive approach to combatpiracy, which grew ever more expansive and proactive in the years following.

According to The World Bank, in 2008 the UN Security Council passed 13Resolutions to support anti-piracy operations aimed at the Horn of Africa (TheWorld Bank, 2013, pp. xi). One of the most significant resolutions was the 2008United Nations Security Council Resolution 1851 (from here on UNRES 1851).  UNRES1851 was a significant resolution aiming to counter piracy in and aroundSomalia. The resolution itself expanded upon previous resolutions concerningpiracy in Somalia (Resolutions 1814, 1816, 1838, 1844, and 1846) as well asresponding to TFG requests for international support in combating piracy(United Nations Security Council Resolution 1851, 2009, pp. 140). UNRES 1851,according to Alessi and Hanson, “authorized states with navies deployed in theGulf of Aden to, with the permission of Somalia’s Transitional FederalGovernment, take action against pirates and armed robbers within Somalia”(Alessi and Hanson, 2012, pp. 5).

The language of the UNRES 1851 is veryspecific in that a State must receive explicit permission from the Somaligovernment (TFG) in order to operate (United Nations Security CouncilResolution 1851, 2009, pp. 141) and which is granted for a period of 12 months(Daxecker and Paris, 2013, pp. 941). UNRES 1851 also authorizes internationalactors, with the permission and capacity to do so and providing operationsremain in accordance with international law, employ naval forces and militaryaircraft in order to combat piracy off the Somali coast (United NationsSecurity Council Resolution 1851, 2009, pp. 141). Additionally, UNRES 1851created the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) in January2009 with mandate to “address military and operational coordination, capacitybuilding, judicial issues, shipping self-awareness and public information relatedto piracy” (Alessi and Hanson, 2012, pp. 5) in addition to “facilitatecoordination of the 60 countries and 20 international organizations working toprevent piracy (The World Bank, 2013, pp.

xii). Another international, althoughAfrican led, initiative was the 2009 Djibouti Code of Conduct which was createdin order to follow through on initiates presented by UNRES 1851 (Alessi and Hanson,2012, pp. 5) and (The World Bank, 2013, pp.

xii). Further internationalprograms have included, “the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecutions IntelligenceCo-ordination Center, and the Indian Ocean Commission Anti-Piracy partnershipprogram” (The World Bank, 2013, pp. xii).  Internationalnaval operations have also been affected by UNRES 1851.

Following thisresolution, North American Treaty Organization (NATO), European Union (EU),United States of America (U.S.), missions have been deployed to the Gulf ofAden. The EU mission to Somalia is conducted under the European Union NavalForce Somalia via Operation Atalanta, NATO via Operation Ocean Shield, andCombined Task Force 151 (CTF151) (The World Bank, 2013, pp.

xi) and (Nelson andFitch, 2012, pp. 1). According to the NATO website, in 2008 NATO reacted to UN overturesfor assistance in combating pirates with Operation Allied Provider (2008), AlliedProtector (2009), Operation Ocean Shield (2009-2016) and NATO support for theU.

S.-led CTF151 (North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 2016). Other individualState initiatives have included states such as India, China, Russia, Australia(Alessi and Hanson, 2012, pp. 6), and as we will see later, Japan. The WorldBank reports that over 40 States are involved in some capacity throughoperations listed above in order to counter piracy (The World Bank, 2013, pp. xi).In 2011, Nelson and Fitch report approximately 30 States as having maritime missionsconducted in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea (Nelson and Fitch, 2012, pp. 1).

Nevertheless,I surmise that 2011, witnessing the peak of pirate attacks, was especiallydifficult for maritime forces. Nelson and Fitch assert that, because thepirates operated much further than traditionally was the case, “the high-riskarea includes more than 1.1 million square nautical miles of ocean.

Given thatthis vast area is patrolled by approximately 25 naval vessels, each vessel isfaced with the daunting task of patrolling, on average, 44,000 square nauticalmiles” (Nelson and Fitch, 2012, pp. 1). From this we can envision the dauntingtask faced by international navies.  Onemay ask, since pirate operations, “begin and end on land” (Daxecker and Prins,2013, pp. 943), what has Somalia, or the international community done in termsof ground-based operations? Indeed, one reason for the success of the RomanGeneral Pompey in his operations against the Mediterranean pirates was hisutilization of both maritime and terrestrial (Army) forces (Caleb Klinger, 2008).Nelson and Fitch propose that the Western nations have been reluctant toinvolve ground forces due to their experiences in Somalia in 1993. Moreover,they state that Somali citizens themselves are rather averse to foreignmilitary boots on the ground (Nelson and Fitch, 2012, pp.

2). The EuropeanUnion’s Operation Atalanta was tasked with onshore operations however limitedthese missions to helicopter operations and have avoided deploying ground forces.Furthermore, Nelson and Fitch averred that although African Union Mission inSomalia (AMISOM) could technically combat pirates, AMISOM has primarily focusedon Al-Shabab (Nelson and Fitch, 2012, pp. 2). Internally, both Puntland andSomaliland created domestic forces tasked with combating the pirates; however,despite some success and desire to rid themselves of the pirates, they lack theresources to do so (Nelson and Fitch, 2012, pp. 2).

Undeniably, in order tofight the pirates there must be resources, something which Somalia clearlylacks. However, in the case of Somalia there is a catch to sending kineticweapons or providing training in order to combat piracy – “the United NationsArms Embargo on Somalia, Resolution 733 (1992) and 1844 (2008), prohibits notonly the delivery of weapons to Somalia, but the provision of technicalassistance or training of a military nature without UN approval” (Nelson andFitch, 2012, pp. 3). Therefore, while the UN wants to combat piracy and supportthe TFG in this regard, these two Resolutions (733 and 1844) are an unintendedhindrance to this goal. Internationalaction has, as we have seen, included a number of individual States andcollective organizations. Interestingly, all of the literature reviewed in theabove two sections did not mention Japanese actions once or Japaneseparticipation in international efforts. This is surprising as Japan has takenupon a greater role in many counter-piracy operations.

Because Japanese tradevolume is so maritime dependent, the activities of Somali pirates in thesewaters required Japan’s intervention to ensure the vitality and safety of theseshipping lanes and preserve the Japanese economy. Writingfor Eurasiareview, Farhaoui summarizes Japanese concerns in these Persian Gulfdevelopments as dating back to the 1980s (Farhaoui,2016). During this decade, some Japanese merchant vessels were attacked andcasualties were reported. In response, the Government of Japan declinedphysical intervention but did provide financial support for the establishmentof a reconnaissance system in the Gulf region (Farhaoui, 2016).

By 1992, andwith the passing of major domestic laws such as the Peace Keeping OperationsLaw (PKO Law) (Act on Cooperation for United Nations Peacekeeping Operationsand Other Operations, 1992), Japan was able to widen its region-specific lens(Asia-Pacific) to include the Indian Ocean and Arab region as a whole withinits strategic scope. Following the 9/11 attacks on the United States Japandeployed a contingent of Self-Defense Force personnel to the Gulf region in2003 under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) which was followed by a 2005monitoring mission of Japanese sea lanes in the Indian Ocean (Farhaoui, 2016).  Exactlywhat is Japan’s stake in the security of the Gulf of Aden? According to TheCabinet Secretariat of The Government of Japan’s March 2016 annual report(2015): “Japan depends, 99.

6% of its tradevolume, on maritime transportation, therefore, the navigational safety is thekey for the daily life of its people as well as for its economy. The Gulf ofAden is one of the vital shipping lanes for Japan, since 13% of the worldcontainer cargos and 740,000 exported vehicles…from Japan were transportedthrough the Gulf of Aden in 2015.”(TheCabinet Secretariat The Government of Japan Annual Report 2015, 2016, pp. 2) Inresponse to a 2008 Japan Seamen Unions demand for security (Farhaoui, 2016), Japanesecounter-piracy operations began in March 2009 under Article 82 of the SDF Actin order to protect Japanese interests in the waters around Somalia. TheGovernment of Japan shortly thereafter deployed two JMSDF destroyers and twoP-3C maritime patrol aircraft (The Cabinet Secretariat The Government of JapanAnnual Report 2015, 2016, pp. 4).  Franz-StefanGady writing for The Diplomat, states that “According to Japanese DefenseMinister, General Nakatani, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)conducted 728 counter-piracy operations and escorted more than 3,800 commercialships since 2009.

In addition, JMSDF aircraft flew more than 1,568 maritimesurveillance and reconnaissance missions” (Franz-Stefan Gady, 2016, pp. 1).Furthermore, Gady notes that Japan has been operating with CTF151 since 2009and for three months beginning in June 2015 CTF151 was commanded by JMSDF RearAdmiral Hiroshi Ito (Gady, 2016, pp. 1), (The Cabinet Secretariat TheGovernment of Japan Annual Report 2015, 2016, pp. 4-5) and (Ministry of ForeignAffairs of Japan,2016, pp. 1).  Japan’sMinistry of Foreign Affairs notes other significant actions taken for thepurpose of counter-piracy: “enacting ‘Act of Punishment and Countermeasuresagainst Piracy’, which criminalizes acts of piracy and enables Japan’s navalvessels to protect any ship from pirates regardless of her flag” effective July2009 and extended July 2015; supporting of the CGPCS and Resolution 1851;assisting the Djibouti Coast Guard; amongst other actions such as financing, significantaid, and humanitarian assistance (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, 2016, pp.1)1.

Furthermore, The Cabinet Secretariat The Government of Japan Annual Report 2015states that in order to provide for security on board Japanese flagged ships traversingthe “pirate infested waters”, the “Act on Special Measures Concerning theGuarding of Japanese Ships in Pirate-Infested Waters” (enacted November 13,2013) allows Japanese flagged ships to host Privately Contracted Armed SecurityPersonnel (PCASP) (The Cabinet Secretariat The Government of Japan AnnualReport 2015, 2016, pp. 8). This Annual Report also notes other operations suchas “Joint Counter-Piracy Exercise with EU NAVFOR”, “Joint Counter-PiracyExercise with Naval Forces from CTF151″, Joint Counter-Piracy Exercise with thePakistan Navy” as well as join exercises with Turkey and the Republic of Koreaas other counter-piracy operations (The Cabinet Secretariat The Government ofJapan Annual Report 2015, 2016, pp. 9).  Japanalso maintains a base in Djibouti, operational since June 1, 2011 (Ministry ofForeign Affairs of Japan, 2016, pp.

1), which hosts two JMSDF P-3C Orionmaritime patrol aircraft and around 200 personnel (Gady, 2016, pp. 1) withcounter-piracy as its operational purpose (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan,2016, pp. 1). As of 2017, according to Gady, the Japanese stated that they willcontinue their anti-piracy operations into 2017 (Gady, 2016, pp. 1). Therefore,one can easily see that Japan has taken many large steps, and continues to dueso, in order to support international activities in countering pirateoperations in and around the Gulf of Aden. The continuing operations by theJSDF highlight the importance of the security of its maritime traffic and tradeto the Japanese economy and citizens.

 Inconclusion, we can trace Somali piracy being influenced by a number of factors:1) The collapse of government institutions including banking and coastalmonitoring systems in and after 1991; 2) Continuing civil war leading to aworsening economic situation; 3) Foreign vessels illegally fishing in Somaliwaters thus leading to a decline in fish stocks thus affecting the amount offish caught by Somali fishermen which impacted their ability to sell theirproduct; and 4) dumping of toxic and nuclear waste leading to health issues ofthe local population. However, if my hypothesis is correct in that thissocio-political “coast guard” veil has been lifted then we can add a fifth factorwhich is ‘greed’. I propose this because it seems unlikely that operatingoutside the Gulf of Aden, or perhaps even Somalia’s Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ) granted by UNCLOS, can garner the same justifications of ‘dumping’ and’illegal fishing’ and thus these attacks outside of this zone are strictly forgreed.

 Inorder to tackle the issue of piracy in Somalia the international communityresponded with various initiatives such as international aid but primarilyrelying upon offensive/defensive military operations operating at sea. For itsturn, the Japanese government decided to act within the legal limits set by itsconstitution in order to provide for the security of its maritime merchantvessels which are seen as a life-line to the Japanese economy and people. Althoughpiracy does not represent an existential threat to the security or economy ofthe territorial Japanese State, because of their geological status, it was, andremains imperative that Japan take action in order to secure its maritimeoperations. To this regard, although Japan and the international community as awhole has spent a significant amount of treasure on aid and naval missions tothe region more needs to be done in order to see permanent gains vis-à-vis thepirates.  Historyshows that piracy itself will not go away, but certain actions must still betaken by a State, or group of States in order to mitigate the threat of piracy.As the Roman General Pompeii calculated, maritime operations must becomplimented by terrestrial operations in order to see success.

Any Gulf ofAden operations must tackle the root causes of piracy in Somalia – the never-endingcivil war, economic disparity, and illegal fishing and dumping – which means operationsdo not end on the shoreline of Somalia. Even if the international communityremains hesitant to insert combat forces, the current Somali government (TFG)will need both UN advisors-led training and assistance to more adequatelyconduct anti-piracy operations. This would mean the lifting, or targetinglifting of UNRES 733 and 1844 which would allow at least advisors into thecountry. Secondly, kinetic operations must be complimented by economic strategieswhich offer locals and fishermen opportunities to acquire money legally throughlocal/regional job prospects, training, or employment in a legitimate,government operated Coast Guard. Third, illegal fishing and dumping should bemonitored first by the international community and then transferred to a TFGCoast Guard (this process must be conducted legally – i.e.

through treaty). Inthis regard, illegal fishers and their respective companies must be heldaccountable and in a way that is visible to the people of Somalia. It is onething to say that you will hold illegal fishers accountable and another toprove to the people that you indeed held them accountable. Fourth, residualhealth issues due to dumping must be considered and constructively dealt withthrough medical assistance. These are long-term, overarching and far-reachinggoals but touch on, and resolve, the main drivers for piracy. A stable Somaliagoverned under the rule of law (domestic and international) will allow forstability in not only in Somalia but in surrounding States which will lead to asafer world in general.  Simplybecause Japan is legally constrained in putting boots on the ground in conflictareas does not mean that its operations should be limited to the Gulf of Adenor Djibouti.

Japan could assist any UN mission by providing monetary assistancefor the training of a coast guard, or the creation of a local economy or local initiatives.Furthermore, as Japan has a robust legal system it can assist Somalia in thecreation of legal mechanisms in order to put pirates or illegal fishers ontrial. Japan can also, as it has done in the case of Djibouti, provide navalvessels to any newly created Somali Coast Guard. Lastly, Japan can assist inthe medical recovery of local economies through direct medical assistance(medicine etc.) or through monetary support. Therefore, Japan, and theinternational community, must take a more robust and comprehensive approach intackling the threat of piracy and not limit their actions strictly to maritimeand kinetic operations if gains are to be had.

Without a doubt, even as GeneralNakatani praised current initiatives and success, he noted that the root causesfor the continuous JMSDF naval presence remain unaddressed: “in light of thefact that the fundamental factors that foster piracy, such as poverty inSomalia, have not been resolved, the threat of piracy still continues. If theinternational community lets up on the effort, piracy activity may grow again.”(Gady, 2016).

1The Cabinet Secretariat The Government of Japan Annual Report 2015 also notes”Japan’s Financial and Technical Cooperation to Tackle Piracy” (The CabinetSecretariat The Government of Japan Annual Report 2015, 2016, pp. 10). 

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