July 5, 2011 7:00 PM

Insight with Colin Freeman: Life as a Somali pirate hostage

  View in iTunes In late 2008, Daily Telegraph correspondent Colin Freeman and Jose Cendon, a Spanish photographer travelled to Somalia to investigate the recent spate of piracy attacks that were terrorising shipping in the Gulf of Aden. Their aim was to track down some of the pirates and secure an exclusive interview. They were […]

June 28, 2011

The week ahead at the Frontline Club: Assange and Žižek, Somali pirates & kill/capture in Afghanistan

This evening’s screening and panel discussion organised by BBC Perisan will shed light on the extent of persecution suffered by The Baha’is of Iran. Tomorrow we will be joined by award winning ITV News‘ international editor Bill Neely who will be talking about his recent work in Libya, the stories he has covered since he began his career and […]

June 28, 2011

The week ahead at the Frontline Club: Assange and

This evening’s screening and panel discussion organised by BBC Perisan will shed light on the extent of persecution suffered by The Baha’is of Iran. Tomorrow we will be joined by award winning ITV News‘ international editor Bill Neely who will be talking about his recent work in Libya, the stories he has covered since he began his career and […]

June 7, 2011 7:00 PM

THIRD PARTY Plunder of the oceans – The rise of pirate fishing, impacts and solutions

The evening will reveal the extent of the problem of pirate fishing, which takes place in both the developed and developing world. Discussion will focus on the many issues surrounding pirate fishing, including its dramatic impact on poorer coastal states, where hundreds of thousands of people rely on fish for food and livelihood. How EU subsidies are still benefitting illegal fishing operations, and how port states are being seen as the frontline in combating this activity. We will be exploring possible solutions and the importance of the role of the media in exposing the impacts of pirate fishing as a crime, comparable to international drugs smuggling.

February 25, 2010

Foreign Fishermen Still Plundering Somali Waters

Kenyan fisherman. Photo by David Axe. by DAVID AXE When the Somali government collapsed in 1991, so too did Somalia’s ability to police its waters and regulate foreign vessels. For corporate fishing fleets from Asia and Europe, that meant rich shark and tuna fisheries suddenly wide open for exploitation. And boy did they exploit. Tales […]

September 13, 2009

Better Naval Coordination Suppresses Pirate Attacks

by DAVID AXE After a year of rapid growth, the international naval force assembled to combat Somali piracy has stabilized at what will probably be its permanent level. There are around 20 vessels and a handful of land-based aircraft from some dozen navies, organized into three major flotillas plus independent patrols. The U.S.-led Task Force […]

May 7, 2009

Japanese journalist tours Somalia

Given the utter chaos within Somalia, outright danger for journalists and the fact that freelancers Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan remain hostages some 9 months after they were kidnapped outside Mogadishu, I was somewhat surprised to learn about Kenji Goto. He’s a journalist working for the "Independent Press" It appears he hooked up with a […]

April 23, 2009

Africa Handshake, Part Three: Save the Fish, to Fight Pirates

With two expensive land wars draining the treasury, the Pentagon wants to prevent future conflicts without spending a lot of money. Two years ago the Navy launched its first, roughly annual Africa Partnership Station, sending ships on solo cruises up the West African coast to deliver training and humanitarian aid. The idea: to win new […]

April 9, 2009

Inside the Pirate Lair

After a quiet start to the year, the Somali pirates are back in a big way hijacking six ships in five days. An American destroyer is currently alongside the Maersk Alabama trying to help secure the release of the ship’s captain, who is still being held by pirates in a lifeboat. Some 15 warships (sometimes […]

February 5, 2009

A Good Day for the Pirates

Pirates with the MV Faina (US Navy pic)   It looks like The Faina, hijacked by Somali pirates in September with 33 Russian tanks destined for South Sudan, is finally being freed for a record $3.2-3.5m ransom. No definitive confirmation from the Yanks who have been keeping a close eye on the ship. Lt Nathan […]

January 16, 2009

Piracy Faces Challenge – Possibly…

Expect to see the current decline in pirate attacks continue, if my sources have got it right. The reason – although the Yanks are keen to claim "mission accomplished" on behalf of their maritime patrols – is the election of Abdirahman Mohamed Farole as president of Puntland. During the election campaign he promised to tackle […]

December 22, 2008

The Pirate-Kenya Connection

Mombasa, southern Kenya’s sweltering port town is, in many ways, the center of gravity of the piracy war. While pirates themselves are based mostly in northern Somalia, hundreds of miles from here, the repercussions of piracy — and many of the higher-order command functions on both sides — play out in Mombasa. Many of the […]

December 21, 2008

My African Predictions for 2009

This year I lost $200 in bets on the US presidential election and remain committed to swimming naked to Tuti island in the middle of the Nile on my next visit to Khartoum. That is not enough to stop me making a few more predictions of the events that will shape the African news agenda […]

December 17, 2008

The Pirate Panic Button

The ships that make the two-day run from Mombasa, Kenya, to Somalia carrying vital humanitarian supplies are frequent targets of pirate attacks — and have been for more than a decade. How have ship’s crew adapted? Same way the pirates have adapted over the years: with simple technology and no-nonsense tactics. On Wednesday, the small […]

November 8, 2008

Britain, Leaks and those Awkward Tanks

The manifest from the Faina obtained by Reuters and the BBC If this ever gets out it will not be good for UK-Kenya relations, the latter never slow to accuse the former of meddling in Kenyan affairs, maintaining a colonialist mentality and forgetting that the East African country has been independent for more than 40 […]

October 30, 2008

An Opportunity Waiting to be Missed in Somalia

The Shabaab stepped up its campaign in Somalia yesterday taking war to Puntland and Somaliland. At a meeting in Kismayo in July the Islamists decided to open new fronts in their battle to force out Ethiopia and bring down the unpopular Transitional Federal Government. Sheikh Aweys has unfinished business with Puntland and President Abdullahi, so […]

October 17, 2008

A Load of Garbage

World piracy map produced by the International Maritime Bureau Al Jazeera, I see, is furthering its reputation for impartial and balanced reporting from the Muslim world with this corker on the pirates… Somali pirates have accused European firms of dumping toxic waste off the Somali coast and are demanding an $8m ransom for the return […]

October 13, 2008

Pirates Smuggle Somalia on to the Agenda

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow It has become fashionable among some of my colleagues in Nairobi to express irritation at the level of interest the world is showing in Somalia’s pirates. The argument is generally expressed by pointing out that Somalia has been a mess for 17 years, stands on the brink of a major […]

October 2, 2008

Shooting the Messenger Again

Andrew Mwangura, piracy expert, in Mombasa The Kenyan government has already slagged off journalists for reporting on piracy, the UN’s special representative has accused us of passing on pirate propaganda, and now it’s my old pal, Andrew Mwangura, who is getting it in the neck. For the past decade or so he has been monitoring […]

September 30, 2008

It’s All Our Fault

It’s starting to look as if the problems in Somalia are all down to the inability of journalists to cover the conflict there properly – rather than say the complete hash of things made by the country’s neighbours, the United Nations’ and donors’ misguided attempts to prop up an unpopular government of warlords, and the […]

September 30, 2008

All at Sea

Don’t get me wrong. Somalia is one of my favourite countries in my patch – whether sipping cappuccinos in a bombed out hotel or admiring the golden white beaches it’s a fascinating place – and I’m lucky enough to count a handful of Somalis as friends, and never tire of listening to them explain the […]

September 29, 2008

Kenya, The Pirates and those Rather Embarrassing Tanks

Pirates with the MV Faina (US Navy pic) So where were the MV Faina’s 33 T-72 tanks heading? The fog of misinformation surrounding their destination suggests a fresh scandal brewing. As soon as I heard the ship had been hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia last week, I was content with the information […]

September 26, 2008

Pirates of the Indian Ocean

I thought it might be instructive for any students of journalism who read this blog to detail my typical interaction with one of the foreign desks for which I work. FD: Good morning, Foreign. ME: Morning. You are probably no doubt sick of pirates… FD: HAAAARGGGGH ME: …but I wondered whether you might have noticed […]

September 25, 2008

What Shall We Do with the Pirate Sailor?

So, what do you do when you arrest a bunch of Somali “fishermen” in two small speedboats loaded down with AK-47s and RPGs in the Gulf of Aden where pirates have come close to shutting down one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes? You let them go. Well you do if you are the Danish […]

September 22, 2008

Shanty Soundtrack

HMCS Ville de Quebec So I’ve been able to do some pretty cool trips during the past four years in Africa. My five days aboard a Canadian frigate, HMCS Ville de Quebec, were probably among the most fun. The frigate was pulled away from its Nato duties in the Med a couple of months ago […]

September 18, 2008

The last bunk

Mine was the very last empty bunk – or rack, as my new Canadian friends term it – left on the HMCS Ville de Quebec, a Halifax-class frigate. It’s not so much a bed as a fold-out mattress beneath a communications panel and next to a series of pipes that sounds as if they have […]

September 14, 2008

Shanty Soundtrack

I’m off on an Indian Ocean cruise for the next few days. It promises to be an interesting voyage along Kenya’s palm-fringed shores to, erm, Somalia. Just me, a couple of books and the crew of a Canadian Halifax-class frigate, the HMCS Ville de Quebec. Naturally I have sought out the right music for the […]