International naval efforts and maritime security teams on board commercial vessels are currently the only deterrents to the pirates who remain dormant in Somalia.

A recent visit to the town of Eyl in northern Somalia, by Andrew Harding, Africa correspondent for the BBC, suggests pirate bosses are lying in wait for the opportunity to resume full piracy operations.

The instability and corruption within their home country has continued to fuel the root causes that force the men into piracy. A lack of jobs for the people of Eyl, has the dormant pirate population ready to take to the sea to target vessels for hijack and ransom operations.

For those who have been convicted of piracy, a specially built prison in the Puntland Captial of Garowe holds them. The prison was built in 2014 to hold pirates who have been sentenced in other countries such as the Seychelles. The prison management claim the young men incarcerated there act as deterrent to any others who may be considering a life of piracy however reports suggest that the prisoners serving long jail sentences are merely a handful of foot soldiers. With no alternative available to these men, the choice to walk away from piracy is not theirs to make.

The prisoners spoke out about their reasoning for becoming involved with pirate organisations, stating that the lack of law and severe corruption in Somalia, as well as having no other prospects of work, meant that piracy was their only option.

Whilst corruption and war continue to challenge the efforts to strengthen Somalia’s infrastructure, some small steps are being made by the country to try to ensure the waters off of Somalia remain safe. A local task force has been formed to prevent maritime crime and illegal fishing, but like many local task forces that operate out of East Africa, they are far too small in size and their resources are extremely limited.

Currently, the measures in place to combat piracy in the HRA are only preventative ones. If the international navies were to decrease in size or stop patrolling the waters off of East Africa all together as expected, then as night follows day there are swaths of desperate and able men in countries like Somalia, who have no hesitation to take up the opportunistic life of piracy.

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