The impact of thieves on cargo shipments has come to the forefront of global news as thieve based in Somalia have hijacked vessels in recent months. The problem has grown into huge proportions that are affecting the bottom line of logistics companies and manufacturers around the world.
Somalia has been without a working government for several years. A civil war tore the nation apart and the government that is officially in control of the nation is unable to stop the criminal along the coastline waters. The economy is in a shambles and those who were in in the militias and poor fishermen have learned to put together their talents and engage in money-making tactics that have produced what may total between 150 and 200 million dollars in ransoms.
Dangerous thieves approach a vessel that is tipping the Horn of Africa, capture the crew, vessel and merchandise hostage, and then demand several million dollars in money be given in exchange for the freedom of the crew and vessel. The thieves are interested only in the money and have been willing to release the crew and cargo unharmed when their demands are met. For a while, shipping companies and national ruling bodies were more than willing to pay the ransoms to gain the freedom of the crews and merchandise. The thieves have been brazen, even seizing Russian tanks for a brief period of time.
The impact of thieves on cargo shipping companies has been devastating, not only millions of dollars in ransoms but expensive delays. Disrupted shipments have created a new wrinkle in delivery dates as most hostages and freight have remained under Somali control for a few weeks or two at a time before being released. The logistics business has the responsibility of organizing the moving of cargo and is made to appease shipment purchasers as the freight stays in Somali ports undelivered.
Multi national incidents have become more common as governments have chosen to respond with an armed military response. The military ships began patrolling international waters but have now moved into Somali sovereign waters with the governmentï¿½s approval. The military presence has slowed the thieves but the problem remains.
Where money is being made, sophisticated weapons are available. thieves are carrying with automatic rifles and grenade launchers, usually a real danger to unarmed or lightly armed crews on the targeted vessels. Speedboats are the vessels of choice and ships stand little chance of outrunning them. supply chain logistics
Nations as different as South Korea, Japan, India, Russia and the U.S. have sent their navies to escort their vessels through the area. As weaponry has arrived, inevitable altercations between assaulting thieves and the defending navies have led to the deaths of thieves and innocent civilians. An Indian boat even shot at on another vessel that was erroneously believed to be carrying thieves, but wasn`t.
The psychological impact on civilian sailors has led to near panic when suspected thieves have approached. Captured crew members have been treated well so far but thereï¿½s no assurance that this will continue.