Maritime Intelligence Agency calls for urgent dialogue to prevent Somali piracy resurgence in 2015

A White Paper by Dryad Maritime, has outlined how a shift in US foreign policy could spark a resurgence of piracy East of Suez and in the Indian Ocean.
The document predicts that governments, international organisations, the shipping industry and the private maritime security industry have around 18-months to forge a solution. It advises that dialogue needs to begin now to agree how the vacuum left by redeploying military forces is going to be filled, whether that be by a commercial solution or a mix of commercial and defence capabilities to ensure that shipping is protected in the future.
David Hunkin OBE, Commercial Director, maritime intelligence agency Dryad Maritime;
“With the US strategic focus now firmly fixed on the Asia Pacific region and Iran ‘coming in from the cold’, it is only a matter of time before western navies begin withdrawing the warships that have been so successful in suppressing piracy off the Somali coast. With no convoys and no rescue forces, the commercial shipping industry could be left to fend for itself”.
“Somalia will still be a largely lawless and ungoverned space and although the problem of piracy has been contained, it hasn’t been solved: removal of that containment means a return of piracy – and it could be argued that the problem will be worse than before.”
“NATO and EU maritime forces have been highly successful in suppressing Somali piracy in recent years and some of the most capable maritime platforms in the world have been deployed east of Suez primarily to deter and defend against potential Iranian aggression and a return to regional hegemony. But with the threat landscape changing, pressure is mounting to bring those forces home and over the next 18-months, the naval presence east of Suez will be very different to what we see today”.
Hunkin also predicts that the withdraw of warships could leave vessels and their crews  more vulnerable in a hijack situation.
“Not only could a reduction in naval forces herald a return of piracy, it would also most certainly result in a reduction of rescue forces. At present, should a ship’s crew retreat to a citadel as pirates take control of their vessel, rescue forces are only hours or days away. With a drawdown of maritime forces, such rescue could be weeks away”.
“The clock is ticking but for once there is time to establish an effective a solution provided the reality and enormity of this situation is acknowledged and measures put in place to ensure the safety of those plying their lawful trade upon the Indian Ocean”, he adds.