The recent piracy off the coast of Somali is the first successful vessel hijacking of a commercial ship in the country's area since 2012 and it has roused debates over whether shipping companies have become apathetic about the danger of maritime piracy. On March 13 the MT Aris 13 was heading from Djibouti to Mogadishu. Instead of giving the coast of Somalia a wide berth as earlier advised they rather took a short-cut between the tip of the Horn-of-Africa. The pirates then waylay the vessel just about 11 miles from the shore with their two speedboats, known as “skiff” while aiming their arms at the crew.

The ship and its crew on board which consisted of eight Sri Lankan nationals are now being held hostage by the sea pirates pending either ransom negotiation or a rescue effort by the Somalian or Puntland authorities. This brings to a total number of 16 seafarers currently being held hostage by the Somali sea landlords, while the remaining eight persons are reportedly Iranian nationals.

The genuine reason for venturing into piracy

So will this latest pirate hijacking of as vessel be a 'wake-up' call that will spur more preventive measures being taken by maritime agencies or will it indicate the beginning of a new era of piracy? Distressingly, the factors that compelled many Somali fishermen to eventually ventured into sea piracy almost a decade-ago are certainly still here.

Currently the impoverished east Africa nation is in a grip of famine and widespread of poverty as there are very little employment opportunities for young Somalians. There's massive and increasing local indignation at the poaching of fish-stock off the coast of Somali by the Asian trawlers. According to an advocacy group Oceans Beyond Piracy, they said foreign vessels have dubious operating licenses issued by the local authority in Puntland, but the locals of Puntland never get to realize any benefits from those vessels operating in the coastline.

The return of a lucrative piracy business

The focal point in Somalians venturing into piracy business came in 2010, both in terms of the hijacking of vessels and the number of seafarers being held as hostages for possible ransom. Subsequently, vessel companies started stationing armed guards on board who would aim their weapons at circling sea pirates and sometimes fire warning shotss in the air to ward them off.

This method significantly broke the pirates business-model, until then the pirates were able to approach a ship with ease by opening fire to scare the captain into slowing-down and then they would promptly board the ship using a ladder.