I’ll be honest; I can’t really tell how much of this recent Reuters article is pure, unabashed sensationalism and how much of it is something to seriously worry about.
Apparently pirate activity (the yarrr kind, not the torrent kind) near Somalia has been picking up recently, with more frequent plundering against freight ships causing some companies to opt for alternative shipping routes that can add up to three extra weeks travel time – ships choose to go south around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope instead of using the Suez Canal, which cuts above the top of the continent.
According to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), such piracy “will really hit home when consumers in the West find they haven’t gotten their Nintendo gifts this Christmas.” Whaaa?
The article comes out of London, so it might not have quite as much impact on those of us here in the US but it’s serious enough that Reuters wonders if there’s a trade crisis brewing.
Attacks have supposedly gone up “from one attack every couple of weeks to four in a single day,” according to ITF, and “attacks are no longer 50 to 100 miles off Somalia” but more than 200 miles off of the coast.
Says ITF, “This is not just guys in little fishing boats anymore. We know there are three probably ex-Soviet trawlers acting as mother ships.” The British navy is apparently sending extra ships to the region, which will hopefully cut down on the attacks. Until then, some ships are taking the long way around Africa.