The problem of Somali piracy is a complicated one, and includes a number of issues, from socio-economic collapse to tribal rivalries that need to be taken into consideration. The British Prime Minister recently hosted an international conference on Somali piracy.

The conference included representatives from more than 40 countries and international organizations, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as Somalia’s president. While the intentions of the organizers were good, maritime law attorneys will have to wait to see if any of the discussions at the conference result in firm action against piracy.

The conference focused on promoting political processes and bolstering the peace process in Somalia in order to bring a measure of stability to that war-torn country. Somalia has been torn apart by civil war since 1991. Militant groups now control much of southern and central Somalia. This kind of unstable environment has created perfect conditions for the growth of maritime piracy. The conference also dealt with counterterrorism operations, local stability, and other aspects of the piracy problem in Somalia.

The conference focused on the development of effective counter piracy strategies in areas of the world that are especially prone to pirate attacks, and concluded that it is also important to develop the proper legal infrastructure to handle convictions and trials of persons accused of piracy.

The conference also agreed on the need for undermining the preferred piracy economic model, and to make sure that piracy is not as lucrative as it currently is.  Representatives agreed that it is important to bring economic prosperity to Somalia, by increasing opportunities for the people there, and reducing the chances that people will turn to radicalization and piracy in order to better their lives.