Hostages liberated from the French cruise ship which
Somali pirates held captive for a week [EPA]
A crew on a Spanish ship returned to Spain on a defence ministry plane on Wednesday after being held hostage for a week by pirates off the coast of Somalia.
 
This is but one of the many piracy incidents in the coastal waters off Somalia, which are considered to be among the most dangerous waterways for shipping in the world.

The International Maritime Bureau, a London-based organisation that acts against maritime crime, said that more than 25 ships were seized in Somali coasts last year, despite US navy patrols.
 
In an effort to combat this surge in ship pirating, four countries - the US, Britain, France and Panama - introduced a draft resolution at the UN security council that urges maritime powers to fight piracy off Somalia's coast and authorises them to arrest pirates in the area.

Just who are these pirates? Are they only looking for ransoms? And what is the legal basis of any international action in Somali waters?

Inside Story, with presenter Kamahl Santamaria, investigates.

Watch part one of this episode of Inside Story on YouTube

Watch part two of this episode of Inside Story on YouTube


This episode of Inside Story aired on Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 17:30 GMT

 

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Source: Al Jazeera