Stolen Seas

Last nights Doc Soup here in Toronto was a good one: All about Somali piracy — i.e. taking over ships and demanding millions of dollars from the shipping companies before the ship and crew will be released. The doc was much more extensive than I thought it would be, meaning they went deeper than the actual kidnapping events and went into why this was happening and some means in place to possibly prevent it — including the days when the communists and the West (i.e. US) were at each other in the region. Ditto a ‘black hawk down’ mention.

Visually, it’s well done, and includes footage that was shot by the kidnapped crew and others on board — this being for a Danish ship that was captured off the coast of Somalia. It takes you through the negotiations — Somalia to Copenhagen.

The gist of some of the “why” is basically that the fishing industry has dried up and thus Somali’s have turned to piracy. The area was traditionally a herding area, but after some ‘outside’ involvement, they were encouraged to fish.

One interesting bit was that shipping companies fly their ships under “flags of convenience”, meaning they’ll choose a flag from a country that has low regulations and cheap taxes. In doing so, once their ships are the victim of piracy they have no government to turn to (pretty much) — they’re on their own. Recently, a coalition of navies have patrolled the waters around Somalia, but the expense is huge, and it’s not all the effective anyway.

… and much more. I recommend:

(This review originally written in February 2013)

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