Foreign navies have played a key role in curbing piracy off Somalia’s coast, writes the BBC’s Anne Soy.
On a beach in Hordeia on the northern coast of Somalia, I asked a former pirate what attracted him to piracy in the first place.
The man, who wanted to remain anonymous, told me he was originally a fisherman and that was his main source of income but things changed when an illegal trawler destroyed his net.
“I had a boat and a net on it, then a trawler cut our fishing nets and pulled them away. I was left with an empty boat,” he recalled.
He and a fellow fisherman tried to shout and call the trawler crew, but it was in vain. It angered them.
“They passed over our nets and pulled them away. Our fishing equipment was destroyed.”
In the second half of the last decade what began as a defensive act against big trawlers, quickly morphed into a lucrative illegal business that raised global concern.
As he and other fishermen lost their trade, they turned to piracy, hijacking ships and passengers for ransom.
It also drew in former militiamen who fought with warlords during Somalia’s long civil war.
I wanted to know more about his days as a pirate but he became unsettled and ended the interview abruptly.
What appeared to make him uneasy was a Spanish Special Forces soldier who had wandered over.
Security around the beach was tight as a helicopter hovered in the sky. The helicopter was part of the European Union Naval Force (EUNavfor).