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Somali fishermen also endangered by Piracy

SOMALIA: Fishermen driven from the sea by illegal trawlers

Danger of piracy  (an excerpt from the above story)

Piracy off Somalia’s coast has made life doubly dangerous for fishermen, who have been kidnapped and held for days so that pirates can use their boats, said Hassan.

Gangs of pirates steal boats and engines, and are driving some fishermen out of business, according to an Oceans Beyond Piracy report.

“Armed security teams have opened fire on fisherman believing them to be pirates because they were holding AK47s,” said Wing Commander Paddy O’Kennedy, outgoing spokesman for the European Union Naval Force Somalia (EU NAVFOR). “What they didn’t know, because their training hadn’t been that good, is that everyone out there carries AK-47s or else their fish will be pinched.”

According to the report, there is no documentation on Somali fishermen killed by private security companies or armed guards who mistake them for pirates.

However, Hassan, the Kismayo fisherman, said the international military response to piracy sometimes wrongly targeted fishermen.

“We are getting hit from all sides,” he said. “We are not only targeted by these foreign fishing vessels but we also fall victim to the military ships, which don’t differentiate between pirates and fishermen.”

Mohamed Abshir Waldo, a consultant based in Mombasa, said: “It appears that as far as the naval forces are concerned any Somali on the sea is a pirate.”

However, Cmdr Harrie Harrison, EU NAVFOR spokesman, denied this claim. “There is no policy of deliberate interaction with any Somali vessel that isn’t showing deliberate signs of piracy,” he said.

Please read the entire article at IRIN. org

June 27, 2011 - Posted by | Africa, Pirates | , ,

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