Is Toxic Waste Behind Somali Pirates

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Bamby, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. Bamby
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    Bamby Junior Member

    Have we been lied to, could this be the actual truth behind what's going on in Somalia? I'm not saying it would make their actions right by no means, but it sure would put a different slant on the actions going on there.

    Toxic Waste Behind Somali Pirates

    Al Jazeera English, October 11, 2008
    Title: “Toxic waste behind Somali piracy”
    Author: Najad Abdullahi

    Huffington Post, January 4, 2009
    Title: “You are being lied to about pirates”
    Author: Johann Hari

    WardheerNews, January 8, 2009
    Title: “The Two Piracies in Somalia: Why the World Ignores the Other”
    Author: Mohamed Abshir Waldo

    The international community has come out in force to condemn and declare war on the Somali fishermen pirates, while discreetly protecting the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fleets from around the world that have been poaching and dumping toxic waste in Somali waters since the fall of the Somali government eighteen years ago.

    In 1991, when the government of Somalia collapsed, foreign interests seized the opportunity to begin looting the country’s food supply and using the country’s unguarded waters as a dumping ground for nuclear and other toxic waste.

    According to the High Seas Task Force (HSTF), there were over 800 IUU fishing vessels in Somali waters at one time in 2005, taking advantage of Somalia’s inability to police and control its own waters and fishing grounds. The IUUs poach an estimated $450 million in seafood from Somali waters annually. In so doing, they steal an invaluable protein source from some of the world’s poorest people and ruin the livelihoods of legitimate fishermen.

    Allegations of the dumping of toxic waste, as well as illegal fishing, have circulated since the early 1990s, but hard evidence emerged when the tsunami of 2004 hit the country. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) reported that the tsunami washed rusting containers of toxic waste onto the shores of Puntland, northern Somalia.

    Nick Nuttall, a UNEP spokesman, told Al Jazeera that when the barrels were smashed open by the force of the waves, the containers exposed a “frightening activity” that had been going on for more than a decade. “Somalia has been used as a dumping ground for hazardous waste starting in the early 1990s, and continuing through the civil war there,” he said. “The waste is many different kinds. There is uranium radioactive waste. There is lead, and heavy metals like cadmium and mercury. There is also industrial waste, and there are hospital wastes, chemical wastes—you name it.”

    Nuttall also said that since the containers came ashore, hundreds of residents have fallen ill, suffering from mouth and abdominal bleeding, skin infections and other ailments. “What is most alarming here is that nuclear waste is being dumped. Radioactive uranium waste that is potentially killing Somalis and completely destroying the ocean,” he said.

    Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy for Somalia, says the practice helps fuel the eighteen-year-old civil war in Somalia, as companies pay Somali government ministers and/or militia leaders to dump their waste. “There is no government control . . . and there are few people with high moral ground . . . yes, people in high positions are being paid off, but because of the fragility of the Transitional Federal Government, some of these companies now no longer ask the authorities—they simply dump their waste and leave.”
    In 1992 the countries of the European Union and 168 other countries signed the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal. The convention prohibits waste trade between countries that have signed, as well as countries that have not signed the accord, unless a bilateral agreement had been negotiated. It also prohibits the shipping of hazardous waste to a war zone.

    Surprisingly, the UN has disregarded its own findings, and has ignored Somali and international appeals to act on the continued ravaging of the Somali marine resources and dumping of toxic wastes. Violations have also been largely ignored by the region’s maritime authorities.

    This is the context from which the men we are calling “pirates” have emerged.

    Everyone agrees they were ordinary Somali fishermen who, at first, took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least wage a “tax” on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coast Guard of Somalia.

    One of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, explains that their motive is “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters. . . . We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish, and dump waste, and carry weapons in our seas.”

    Author Johann Hari notes that, while none of this makes hostage-taking justifiable, the “pirates” have the overwhelming support of the local population for a reason. The independent Somalia news site WardherNews conducted the best research we have on what ordinary Somalis are thinking. It found that 70 percent “strongly support the piracy as a form of national defense of the country’s territorial waters.”

    Instead of taking action to protect the people and waters of Somalia from international transgressions, the UN has responded to the situation by passing aggressive resolutions that entitle and encourage transgressors to wage war on the Somali pirates.

    A chorus of calls for tougher international action has resulted in multi-national and unilateral Naval stampede to invade and take control of the Somali waters. The UN Security Council (a number of whose members may have ulterior motives to indirectly protect their illegal fishing fleets in the Somali Seas) passed Resolutions 1816 in June 2008, and 1838 in October 2008, which “call upon States interested in the security of maritime activities to take part actively in the fight against piracy on the high seas off the coast of Somalia, in particular by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft . . .”
    Both NATO and the EU have issued orders to the same effect. Russia, Japan, India, Malaysia, Egypt, and Yemen, along with an increasing number of countries have joined the fray.

    For years, attempts made to address piracy in the world’s seas through UN resolutions have failed to pass, largely because member nations felt such resolutions would infringe on their sovereignty and security. Countries are unwilling to give up control and patrol of their own waters. UN Resolutions 1816 and 1838, to which a number of West African, Caribbean and South American nations objected, were accordingly tailored to apply to Somalia only. Somalia has no representation at the United Nations strong enough to demand amendments to protect its sovereignty, and Somali civil society objections to the Draft Resolutions—which makes no mention of illegal fishing or hazard waste dumping—were ignored. 

    Hari asks, “Do we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our nuclear waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We didn’t act on those crimes—but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 percent of the world’s oil supply, we begin to shriek about “evil.” If we really want to deal with piracy, we need to stop its root cause—our crimes —before we send in the gun-boats to root out Somalia’s criminals.”

    Update by Mohamed Abshir Waldo
    The crises of the multiple piracies in Somalia have not diminished since my previous article, “The Two Piracies in Somalia: Why the Word Ignores the Other,” was written in December 2008. All the illegal fishing piracy, the waste dumping piracy and the shipping piracy continue with new zeal. Somali fishermen, turned pirates in reaction to armed foreign marine poachers, have intensified their war against all kinds of ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

    On international response, foreign governments, international organizations and mainstream media have been united in demonizing Somalia and described its fishermen as evil men pillaging ships and terrorizing sailors (even though no sailors were harmed). This presentation is lopsided. The media said relatively little on the other piracies of illegal fishing and waste dumping.

    The allied navies of the world—fleets of over forty warships from over ten Asian, Arab, and African countries as well as from many NATO and EU member countries—stepped up their hunt for the Somali fishermen pirates, regardless of whether they are actually engaged in piracy or in normal fishing in the Somali waters. Various meetings of the International Contact Group for Somalia (ICGS) in New York, London, Cairo, and Rome continue to underline the demonization of the Somali fishermen and urge further punitive actions without a single mention of the violation of illegal fishing and toxic dumping by vessels from the countries of those sitting in the ICGS and UN forums in judgment of the piracy issue.

    At the ICGS Anti-Piracy meeting in Cairo on May 30 2009, Egypt and Italy were two of the loudest countries calling for severe punishment of the Somali fishermen pirates. As the ICGS are meeting in Rome today (June 10, 2009), two Egyptian trawlers full of fish illegally caught in Somali waters and an Italian barge that had been towing two huge tanks suspected of containing toxic or nuclear waste are being held in the Somali coastal town of Las Khorey by the local community, who invited the international experts to come and investigate these cases. So far, the international community has not responded to the Las Khorey community’s invitation.

    It should be pointed out that both the IUUs and waste dumping are happening in other African countries. Ivory Coast is a victim of major international toxic dumping.

    It is said that acts of piracy are actually acts of desperation, and, as in the case of Somalia, what is one man’s pirate is another man’s Coast Guard.

    Main Source:

    Does anyone have any knowledge if their is any truth or substance behind this information? It's got me curious is this actually a massive cover up?
  2. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    Not surprising that your sources are Al Jazeera and Huffington post. "Both" piracies (the other, they are saying, is illegal fishing) and the trash problem could be taken care of by a government in Somalia. The onus is on them.
  3. TollyWally
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    TollyWally Senior Member

    I detect a trend here, are you going to continue to torment us with this sort of progressive bleeding heart ********?
    1 person likes this.
  4. Bamby
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    Bamby Junior Member

    Maybe I'm at a disadvantage here, I was brought up and sometimes forced to attend Church as a young-en. As such a person is exposed to quite a few teachings about general moral principals I wish more people has learned also. I probably would have done a lot better in life if I'd done a lot more backing down, but my conscious has never bothered me for standing up for what I felt was right either.

    If you noticed I didn't induce conflict in the other thread by posting something that obviously wouldn't conjure with the general flow of thought being shared there, though I found it very interesting reading. But obviously my curiosity about the subject matter sent me elsewhere searching for more hopefully factual information about what was truly going on in Samaria. As you could read I didn't really state as fact but more questioned the posting I made hoping someone in this resourceful knowledgeable group was actually informed about the true state of affairs there.

    Maybe and quite possibly there may be actual facts to substantiate their accusation though personally I don't know. But in my own experience even here in America unscrupulous contractors have charged customers prevailing rated to dispose of waste properly only to discharge it over a remote hill somewhere where they thought no one would notice or find it why wouldn't it happen there also?

    And Mark PM me your address and hopefully I can arrange a few loads of garbage delivered and dumped to your door and and I'll pocket the tipping fees leaving you to clean it up and paying to dispose of it.
  5. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Calm down mates.

    The sources are of course doubtful. But nevertheless we all know that the African continent is shamelessly robbed out and the waters polluted by "our" industry.

    So the question was not really that much out of reality. And Bamby did not advertise a new religion, he asked a question!


    PS I do´nt know how much of the article is propaganda, and I doubt anyone else knows here.
  6. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    Near Wheeling.WV
  7. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    It would be interesting to know the origin of the polluted containers, if only to eliminate pointing the finger of blame in too many directions.
  8. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    There is a beach nearby, on the back side of Kamishak Bay, where the flotsam and jetsam piles sometimes reach 5 meters. Russians and Japanese fishers routinely fudge into Alaska waters. We try to stop them. We don't kidnap them and demand ransome.
  9. kach22i
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    kach22i Architect

    I have no problem with the news sources, just weigh them as you would anything else you read these days.

    Things sound real messed up down there but I don't think Eco-Robin-Hooding is one of them.
  10. Marco1
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    Marco1 Senior Member

    No Eco-robin hood...that's a good one.

    It is always the case that the "victims" claim to be...well victims at a certain point in history. Look at them, don't look at me!

    How did a sovereign nation get to the point Somalia is right now? If you listen to the Arabs, it is the US to blame of course. Who else right?

    Every nation gets the government they deserve. Somalis have been busy hacking down their neighbours who have been busy killing them because their god is better then the other god who is bigger and better than our god of course not to mention your god who is absolutely disgusting.

    They got what they made up for themselves, just like almost any other muslim nation. No point playing the victim to justify crime and murder in the name of the environment.

    Someone mentioned the UN? Now there is a bunch of corrupt, incompetent, malignant, rotten bunch of ********.

    In my opinion anyway.
  11. kach22i
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    kach22i Architect

    The UN is just a reflection of the world (a bunch of corrupt, incompetent, malignant, rotten bunch of ********), in my opinion.;)

    Better than nothing though, bombs and bullets don't do a lot of talking.
  12. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    To Hell with the UN.
  13. Bamby
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    Bamby Junior Member

    You know I wish I hadn't opened this thread but you know what. It still ain't right in any way. I spent a lot of time on google looking for resources on this topic, and the funny thing about it was all the good reliable ones that were there were ether now 404's or marked as expired it enough to make one wonder.

    As far as dumping anything I don't believe in it even if nobody is watching. Caught the Wife dumping the porta potty overboard once, she'll never do it again and their wasn't a reason to the first time. Sheer laziness was her only excuse.
  14. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    Curious Bamby...Where were you when she dumped it? Close to shore? In a harbor?

  15. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Yeah....face it. People talk about the UN like it's some sort of separate government or power. It isn't, really; it's just an organization of existing countries, and it reflects those countries' priorities (or lack thereof). But better countries should talk out their problems than fight them out....if the talking doesn't work, they can always fall back on bombs and bullets anyway, so what's been lost?

    And I think the belief that there's no point talking to your enemies is idiotic to begin. I was always annoyed by the Bush administration's attitude that they weren't going to talk to anyone who didn't already agree with us anyway. We faced off with the Russians for fifty years, and kept talking the entire time. Had Bush been in charge during the Cold War we would have stopped talking to them, because they weren't our friends and wouldn't do what we wanted them to do...and we would have gone to war.

    And by the way, it isn't poor starving fishermen who are running those pirate rings in Somalia; it's old-fashioned, capitalistic entrepreneurs who've found a way to make money. We can't stop them by patrolling the seas, because there are simply too many square miles. The only way to stop them is to put a cork in the ports they sail from. That means either landing occupying forces, enforcing a strict blockade of Somalia's coast, or both.

    Actually, there's a third alternative: simply bombard each and every port that harbors the pirates into rubble. But between the politics involved and humanitarian concerns about not killing innocents, I don't see that one happening.
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