Answered by: Captain Peter Troedsson, USCG, Military Fellow, U.S. Coast Guard

The United States restored official relations with Somalia in January 2013 after years of civil unrest there, reflecting an increasingly stable Somali political environment. Better relations with Somalia, however, have little to do with the decrease in piracy, and the drop in offshore piracy cannot be attributed to Somali government efforts.

Piracy is a serious threat to international shipping and a rising concern for many nations because it increases the costs of shipping, drives up insurance rates, and—most importantly—often costs the lives of ships’ crews. Though the International Maritime Bureau calls the waters off the coast of Somalia particularly dangerous, the number of piracy incidents in the area reached a five year low last year because of deterrents fostered by two major changes: 1) the introduction of international naval patrols to enhance maritime security, and 2) the shipping industry’s adoption of best practices in security, such as the use of armed security personnel on commercial vessels (since incorporating this practice, no vessel has been successfully hijacked). Several nations, including the United States, deploy naval forces to the area to provide surveillance and interdiction capabilities.

By establishing their own maritime constabulary forces, developing countries in the Horn of Africa can disrupt these persistent attacks and deny pirates the use of safe haven anchorage. This type of law enforcement presence can deter maritime criminal activity, prosecute those who commit crimes in territorial waters, and protect national marine resources. The United States and its allies can assist Somalia and other developing nations to build basic capabilities by providing training and equipment to improve maritime security.

Council on Foreign Relations


  1. The Usa Govt as the worlds major superpower could do what it takes but for goodness sake
    the legit rights of the Somaliland recognition quest should not be forgotten. If Britain, France and the EU fail to act on the Somaliland recognition and wiggle tails becoming backburners for whatever
    policies, then the major responsibility should not also escape the wild West US cowboys!.
    With John Kerry now the new State Secretary, perhaps, the extended official invitation of he
    President DR Silaanyo taking place soon would see more realistic focus on the Somaliland full recognition amongst other topics of interests to both countries.

  2. Nothing has improved except that the US want to sell more armies to war torn Somalia as that suits their bottom line. Somalis from Somalia on the other hand do not understand anything and are a bunch of Jaahiliin.

  3. @ Nuur Calaa Nuur

    I guess you must be one of the chosen people right ! Since all other Somalis are jaahilliin.

    It's views like these that are the most disturbing and troubling. How can one Somali feel Superior to another. The only people I know on this earth, that feel Superior to all others in that sense, are the Israelis. So are you an Israeli or Somali, are you a Muslim or a Jew ?

    Seems people are confusing Racism with self hate.

  4. Somalia needs basic infrastructure, food and environment that can produce employment. Once this is solved, everything, include piracy is solved and the opposite is true. Pirates are young Somalis, who should have learning universities, working in industries or teaching schools, and the lack of the opportunities created by the chaos forced those young men to become pirates. So before you criticize the pirates, look into the circumstances that created them. I absolutely support a man to become a pirate to feed his family instead of letting them die for starvation.