According due to their occupation as fishermen,

According
to Bueger, there are two primary aspects from which to view the actions
conducted by the pirates. One is an economic lens that focuses on a
cost-benefit analysis employed by the pirate who evaluates the relationship
between treasure and punishment. The second involves the structural
understanding of piracy, seen as a result of structural conditions such as a
weak/failed state, lack of economic opportunity, and a dearth of coastal
management capability. However, Bueger states this structural approach tends to
ignore individual analysis which each pirate conducts (Bueger, 2013, pp. 1814).
As Bueger finds deficiencies in both positions, he combines both into what he
terms as the “practice of piracy” (Bueger 2013, pp. 1815). A “practice” is
a “type of behavior which consists of several elements, interconnected to one
other: forms of bodily activities, forms of mental activities, ‘things’ and
their use, a background knowledge in the form of understanding, know-how,
states of emotion and motivational knowledge” (Bueger 2013, pp. 1815). “Activities” include the operations
conducted by the pirates (hijackings, hostage tacking, theft, negotiation,
navigation etc.); “Objects” are the
physical tools of the pirate (weapons, navigational systems, vessels etc.); “Know-how” concerns the skills garnered
through experience of fishing (navigation, operation etc.) as well as through
the experience of civil war (weapons skills, negotiation etc.) (Bueger, 2013, pp.
1815). Bueger states that pirates had this latter ‘know-how’ due to their
occupation as fishermen, coupled with the experience of decades of civil war
(Bueger, 2013, pp. 1815).  Combined in
tandem with the “Coast Guard narrative” regarding ‘community’, piracy can thus
be seen as a “community of practice”, thus sharing all of the common characterizes
of communities (Bueger, 2013, pp. 1816).

 

Daxecker
and Prins posit that it is a combination of economic and environmental
conditions within Somalia that create a permissive setting for pirates by
providing “safe-havens” (Daxecker and Prins, 2013, pp. 942, 960). Their study
found that state weakness and its failures provide ripe environments for piracy
to flourish (Daxecker and Prins, 2013, pp. 949) in addition to finding that
“increased in fisheries production values reduce opportunities for piracy as
expected (Daxecker and Prins, 2013, pp. 950). Therefore, as fishery production
decreases, the opportunity for piracy increases (Daxecker and Prins, 2013, pp. 942.
960). Furthermore, their results find that material power, that is hard kinetic
military power, is able to resist piracy via enforcement mechanisms (Daxecker
and Prins, 2013, pp. 952). Thus, following the collapse of the Somali
government in 1991, no monitoring or policing mechanism is operational in
Somalia therefor inadvertently provided for a permissible environment for
piracy.

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These
moral and sociopolitical justifications aside, piracy can be seen as economically
viable and thus a type of industry that provides goods and services to people
(Anderson, 2010, pp. 324). According to Roger Middleton, piracy in Somalia “is
now likely to be the second largest generator of money in Somalia, bringing in
over $200 million annually” (Alessi and Hanson, 2012, pp. 2). The average
yearly income for a typical Somali is $200 and the average acquired ransom of
$4 million USD, rather tempting for those in economic disparity (Nelson and
Fitch, 2012, pp. 1). Alessi and Hanson note that there is typically a lack of
violent tactics as part of the pirate attacks because it is in their economic interest
to keep hostages alive – one does not get paid for a dead body (Alessi and
Hanson, 2012, pp. 2).

 

The
local economies from which the pirates operate typically have a love-hate
relationship with the pirates. According to Bueger, some locals view the
pirates as heroes, further enhanced by the ‘Coast Guard narrative’ presented
above (Bueger, 2013, pp. 1823). The World Bank states that pirates need secure
ports from which to operate and thus are reliant upon “onshore support that
provides shelter for returning pirates and access to markets for stolen goods
and for the goods, services, and manpower needed for pirate attacks” (The World
Bank, 2013, pp. xiv)1. As
Daxecker and Prins assert, “Piracy, while implemented at sea, begins and ends
on land” (Daxecker and Prins, 2013, pp. 943). However, not all locals are fond
of the pirates (Bueger, 2013, pp. 1823).

 

Often
either on the pirate’s bankroll or taking bribes (The World Bank, 2013, pp. xv),
local authorities and officials also possess a love-hate relationship with the
pirates.  For other local authorities, “if
not directly involved, they are willing to look the other way and refrain
from prosecuting pirates (Alessi and Hanson, 2012, pp. 4). Bueger states that
the “Coast Guard narrative” is used to “rally support not only among the
local populations, but also among Somali elites and officials” (Bueger, 2013, pp.
1824). I surmise that for those politicians who are willing to look the other
way that it may be political suicide (and thus they could be out of a job – a
big deal in Somalia) for local politicians to go after pirates so long as the
pirates provide income to the domestic economy. The people of those towns, even
while maintaining this mixed relationships, have (physically) seen economic
growth. Indeed, as Chalk from The Rand Corporation is quoted as saying,
“Pirates have reinvested their profits in coastal communities, so ‘the communities’
have a vested interest in supporting piracy” (Alessi and Hanson, 2012, pp. 4). It
is not simply one or two attacks or successful hijackings by pirates which
leads them to support themselves, local communities, and pay off politicians
but rather over one-thousand attacks over a period of half a decade.

 

Attacks
grew significantly in the period from the ‘first’ attack in 2005 until the
period of decline in 2011 (The World Bank, 2012, pp. xi)2. Daxecker
and Prins quote IMB as stating that as of 2004 there have been 2,600
“incidents” involving pirates (Daxecker and Prins, 2013, pp. 940). Attacks are
aimed at a variety of vessels. According to the World Shipping Council, “In
2010, 32 liner vessels fast ships with a high deck line were attacked and six
were hijacked. In 2011, 65 liner vessels were attacked and one was hijacked. As
of spring-2012, eight liner vessels have been attacked and one has been
hijacked” (World Shipping Council, n.d.). Furthermore, according to the World
Shipping Council, what accounts for the increasing range of Somali attacks is
that Somali pirates seized merchant vessels under the guise of a “mother ship”
in order to conduct operations further out to sea, “more than 1500 nautical
miles from Somalia” (World Shipping Council, n.d.). Over time, and as I surmise
due to greed (i.e. losing their “coast guard”-like veil and opting for money),
Somali piracy has migrated from the coast of Somalia to seas such as the Indian
Ocean (Alessi and Hanson, 2012, pp. 2).

1
Nelson and Fitch also note this. They state that, “Land bases are vital for
pirate operations; pirates exploit the safe haven of Somalia in order to plan
operations, solicit donors, and recruit new members” (Nelson and Fitch, 2012, pp.
2).

2
I utilized the ‘Executive Summary’ for this report. However, the full World
Bank report can be found at: Do, Quy-Toan. 2013. The pirates of Somalia :
ending the threat, rebuilding a nation (English). Washington DC ; World Bank.
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/182671468307148284/The-pirates-of-Somalia-ending-the-threat-rebuilding-a-nation

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