Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Increase in Piracy

Piracy in the waters off the coast of Somalia– mainly in Gulf of Aden which connects the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean – set a record of 120 attacks in 2008. But a dramatic increase in activity by mainly Somali pirates has led to almost double the number of attacks during the year's first quarter compared with the same period in 2008, this according to a report issued by the International Chamber of Commerce's International Maritime Bureau (IMB). For your information; the Gulf of Aden is one of the world's busiest trade lanes, funnelling Saudi oil, Chinese computers and Japanese cars from Asia and the Middle East to the European Union. Because of its importance, and because of the closeness to very poor desperate people, the Gulf has become the main hunting ground for these modern-day buccaneers. As the number of attacks increases, and the pirates become bolder, hijacking larger and more valuable vessels, so have the rates of shipping insurance gone up. Insurance companies have increased fees for sending a cargo shipment through the Gulf of Aden to about 6,429 euros from 643 euros a year ago. Also several shipments need to pay tens of thousands of extra euros each day in "war zone" insurance to cross the Gulf.

This is great news from one perspective because even if the dry cargo index, and similar measurements of trade, has gone down significantly the recent year, we have seen a slight increase lately, but these pirates are doing their very best to keep data like that down. Also when this depression gain momentum and protectionism grows around the globe those pirate attacks will increase even further. And what will happen when all those tens of millions of people in Africa (and elsewhere) cross the line from absolute poverty to complete starvation? I’m predicting an upswing in piracy of unprecedented volumes the coming years and it will not restrict itself to this particular area, no, we will se pirate fleets emerging around the Indian, Indonesian and, very possibly, also in the south Atlantic waters. Just as the rapid decline of prostitution around the glob (a supposedly recession-proof industry) the number of pirates and pirate attacks can be regarded as a very good measurement of how bad things really are. Much better so than government cronies assuring us everything will be fine.

If one wants to halter the depression for a while longer in waiting for the dollar to collapse, this is not really good news, but I’m having a hard time condemning these people. Sure they kill and steal and for those crimes they should be keelhauled, but still I cannot help thinking that governments everywhere commits bigger and worse crimes every day and the collective minds of the enemy class is the main reason behind the very existence of these pirates. I’m not making any excuses for these criminals, but for those out there that only condemn them, please get back to me 2 years from now when you are out of a job, you’re in foreclosure, there are riots everywhere and you need to stand in line for half a day to get a loaf of bread.

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