We need to declare war on pirates


WHILE they say the seas in Asia, Southeast Asia in particular, are getting a little safer against sea piracy, the same cannot be said for coastal villages in Papua New Guinea.
Local seafarers in PNG waters may encounter engine problems, bad weather and not to mention sea pirates, which is becoming common.
Most sea piracy incidents are not reported to local authorities as nothing much is or can be done.
Wikipedia says piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable items or properties.
One province that has had reports of sea piracy incidents is Milne Bay, which is a concern.
The police is not able to do much because they are under-resourced and under-staffed.
Samarai-Murua MP Isi Henry Leonard, whose people have become victims of this act, has decided to purchase three heavy-duty firearms in a bid to stop it.
The firearms will be given to police to assist them in dealing with this concern.
One incident reported out from Milne Bay had a woman and her baby drowned after pirates forced them to swim.
Those who made it ashore reported the incident to local police who could not do anything because the sea pirates had stolen their dingy.
The other was also sickening.
The pirates held-up a dinghy and told the passengers both male and females, young and old, to undress.
They then took their clothes and all their belongings that includes their shopping that they had worked hard for, took the dinghy’s engine, and left them adrift on the ocean with no clothes.
Leonard’s decision to buy guns could be described by some as fighting fire with fire, but what else can he do with pirates operating with factory-made high-powered automatic guns in the Milne Bay waters while the police have nothing.
His people have been deprived of basic services after providers pulled out due to security reasons.
One just has to visit the villages and hear of their tales with these lunatics.
The fight against piracy requires all hands on deck, so to speak.
While countries are differently abled when it comes to resources for combating piracy, there is little doubt that the sharing of responsibility, and information, can only aid the effort.
Piracy is going to require strong collaboration among the concerned authorities.
Single-state solutions achieve short-term results and cannot compete with the flexible strategies of the pirates. Effective security patrols on one side of the country simply will result in the pirates carrying out attacks in another section of the water.
It also highlights the need for better community policing in the country, although the continuous use of military force which we all know comes with its share of brutalisation of innocent civilians will make cooperating with law enforcement in the area more difficult.
What is happening out in the seas is really an extension of the insecurity and weak law enforcement also taking place on land.
Focusing on sea-based solutions alone to deal with maritime piracy will not be enough.
The Government needs to take more concrete steps in dealing with on-shore issues such as stronger law enforcement, better community-law enforcement relations, better counter-narratives and improved socio-economic conditions in the country.
Until then, expect the piracy threat to remain.