Is It Possible To Keep Maritime Piracy at Bay?
by ARIELLE LUDMILLA | 15 August 2021, 10:34 WIB | TIMES MAGAZINE | SPECPOL
Photo: Somali Pirates being captured by the U.S. Navy. Taken from Marine Insight.
The council of SPECPOL (Special Political and Decolonization Committee) is in the process of combating maritime piracy in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. Blocs have formed in the council to eradicate the problem of maritime piracy. Talks in Breakout Room 2 have tried to find solutions through existing international frameworks, such as through the ICJ and ICC, but to no avail due to the nature of piracy itself - it is not considered to be a crime against humanity, and therefore outside of the jurisdiction of the institutions mentioned. While talks in Breakout Room 3 find the problem being the mandate of SPECPOL itself - the SPECPOL mandate is not legally binding, nor do they have the authority to send military aid. To get around this, Eritrea and Somalia have suggested to consider appealing to the UNSC by recommending them to grant the extension of the CTF 151 (Combined Task Force) for military operations and to deploy humanitarian aid to Somalia.
Somalia has been a prominent figure in this council, due to the fact that most of the pirates originate from here. When it failed to establish a central government in 1991, it lapsed into a civil war which led to instability, leading to some Somali becoming pirates which threaten the global economy by seizing ships and goods, especially in MENA waterways where lucrative goods pass through everyday. In a private interview, the delegate of Somalia reveals that while the council has established a collective security measure called the CTF 151 (Combined Task Force) spearheaded by the US, there is a major loophole: Somalia itself is not involved in the committee. On this matter, Somalia hopes to lead the council into involving Somalia in such affairs.
The delegate of Eritrea has suggested using military power to combat piracy in Somalia, but this is not the best solution due to security implications that the military may bring to Somalia's already fragile state. Some countries, such as Djibouti, have tried to suggest frameworks that “empowers the national government to be able to catch the pirates themselves”, since most of these pirates came from. This suggestion can be beneficial, as it tackles the problem of being a “weak state” that caused Somali pirates to emerge in the first place. However, these frameworks have the potential to breach the sovereignty of Somalia especially through the lens of the population, government, and capacity to enter a country. Somalia still very much relies on their government’s capabilities despite having participated in international capacity-building measures. In short, Somalia still needs international assistance in order to keep maritime pirates at bay.
As a means of action to eradicate maritime piracy, the council is now considering working papers, with several highlights from each paper. Working paper 1.1 focuses mainly on combating the piracy from its root causes. They focus on implementation of the blue economy sector to alleviate poverty and lessen the possibilities of civilians resorting to piracy. Second, they implement capacity-building initiatives with UNODC, as well as cooperate with INTERPOL and UNODC to track international piracy networks, as highlighted by the delegate of Djibouti. Working paper 1.2, as highlighted by Mexico, includes capacity-building measures in the security, legal, and governmental areas; addressing the socio-political issues that serves as the root causes of piracy which will hopefully be resolved by promoting soft-power solutions such as education and poverty reduction; and enhancing the capacity of regional cooperation through the integration of international efforts' capabilities.
Curiously, the delegate of the US is absent from the council. Their own presence is highly Navy is supposed to be the spearhead of the CTF 151, and their military presence is counted on to guard the MENA waterways. It is important to note that the safe transport of oil and natural gasses through the MENA waterways is of the US’ priorities, as any piracy acts on these goods through these waterways will impact global consumption.