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WHERE IS SOMALIA? SAUDI ARABIA Somalia covers the horn of Africa on the continent’s eastern coast. The Indian Ocean and its waterways separate Somalia from the oil-rich nations of the middle east.
BACKGROUND In 1991, the outbreak of civil war in Somalia led to the collapse of its government in Mogadishu. With the fall of the capital came the fall of national defense.
BACKGROUND Without a functional coast guard, the waters around Somalia’s vast borders were invaded by foreign fishing and dumping vessels.
BACKGROUND The Somali villagers, whose lifestyle so crucially depended on their fishing industry, had no choice but defend themselves. Fishermen, soldiers, and computer masters alike set out to capture any ship that sailed near their coast. They call themselves vigilantes. We call them pirates.
BACKGROUND After capturing a vessel, the pirates would hold the ship for a ransom, usually in the range of millions of US dollars. However, with such high stakes, profit became a secondary driving force for many Somalis to set out on the high seas.
EQUIPMENT USED BY PIRATES HOOKS AND ROPES GPS RADIO MONEY-COUNTING MACHINE
NAVY SEALS RESCUE On April 13, 2009, after five days of failed negotiation, Navy SEALs snipers were forced to shoot at three Somali pirates, one of whom was holding an AK-47 to the back of American captain Richard Phllips ’ head.
NAVY SEALS RESCUE The event marked the first time Somali pirates seized an American vessel. The incident was also monumental because of the extreme difficulty of the mission– three snipers simultaneously killed three pirates in the head while rocking on the sea .