Saturday, November 22, 2008

Is Somali piracy a retaliation for toxic waste dumping?

For quite sometime now owing to the presence of many Filipino sailors, we have been hearing all about the tanker ships being commandeered by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. According to the International Maritime Bureau, 61 attacks by pirates have been reported since the start of the year. Now a new angle of the story has appeared: the pirates are hijacking the ships and asking for ransom to partially pay for the cleanup of toxic waste being regularly dumped off the coast of Somalia.

The UN envoy for Somalia confirmed that toxic waste dumping does happen and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says that when the tsunami hit in 2004, rusting containers of toxic waste were washed ashore. UNEP says that "Somalia has been used as a dumping ground for hazardous waste starting in the early 1990s, and continuing through the civil war there."

Al Jazeera has this very interesting story here.

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