While it took Western powers only a few months to “sort out” a dictator in Libya, it would seem impossible for all the military fleets in the world to come to grips with a group of common criminals euphemistically called pirates. In the mean-time, two South Africans, who have been languishing way in captivity in Somalia have been reduced in to the vulgarity of plain profit-and-loss commodities.
While leaders of no less than 55 countries held a conference in London last week where they undertook to join efforts in fighting terrorism and piracy in Somalia, news broke that Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz had been sold by one gang of pirates to another.
Indicating the utter contempt in which these pirates hold the dignity of human life, it was reported by the humanitarian relief organisation that is trying to assist the families of the two hostages of their secure release, that “the people holding them complained that it was costing a lot of money to feed and care for them.”
Calitz and Pelizzari were taken captive in October 2010 while en-route from Tanzania to Richard’s Bay in South Africa. They have been kept hostage now for just about 18 months. They have been sold on and the asking-price for them had dropped from an initial R77.27 million to something in the vicinity of R1 million.
In the mean-time, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) believes it can manage local threats from piracy in the southern Indian Ocean region if it is able to develop its maritime resources.The grouping’s 18th Standing Maritime Committee (SMC) said it had the trained manpower but not the full resources to defeat piracy within its own region. What is needed is an increase in capacity, including repair and refurbishment yards as well as the necessary combat ships.
Chief of the South African Navy, Vice Admiral Refiloe Mudimu said: “Because we are the protectors of our territorial integrity at sea, we need certain assets to be able to repair all the issues that undermine us.”Admiral Mudimu stressed that for SADC to be able to effectively protect its entire coastline from all kinds of crime, as well as piracy, new capabilities including patrol vessels need to be built. But this would not be enough. Dockyards, repair yards and similar infrastructure should be constructed to allow interoperability of SADC navies, so if a frigate or submarine was damaged off the coast of a member state, that state should have the wherewithal to carry out repairs to that type of vessel.
News out of London is that the British government is considering sending a helicopter carrier to the Somali coast while the leaders, including British prime minister David Cameron, president Jonathan Goodluck of Nigeria, US foreign secretary Hillary Clinton and Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, insisted that the government of Somalia restore order in that country “as soon as possible.”
In the closing statement there were more “calls” for co-operation from all parties in the UN-sponsored “peace process.” There were also “calls” for an bigger effort by Somalia an neighbouring countries to bring the pirates to book.
The results of the conference were, however decidedly short on practical steps to be taken.
This article was posted by Neptune Maritime Security via leadershiponline.co.za. MaritimeSecurity.Asia in cooperation with www.neptunemaritimesecurity.com