About Somali fishing fleet [Archives:2003/659/Letters to the Editor]

August 14 2003

Abucar Abubakr
[email protected]

Because of the Local UNHCR's inability to deal with their problems, there are throughout Yemen thousands of Somali refugees who are in extreme need for assistance most commonly in the form of shelter, food, medical service, education etc. On the other hand, there is also in Yemen a large fishing fleet consisting of 5 fishing vessels and a mother ship and representing what remained of the public property in Somalia. Since ever the tragic advent of civil war in 1991, the fleet has been operating in Yemen by using the port of Aden for transshipment of caught fish.
According to very reliable sources, there is a considerable receipt at the end of every fishing campaign (which usually lasts a period of time ranging from 75 to 90 days) resulting in exporting fish to Italy and from there throughout Europe. Except for a little portion of this receipt which often is taken by the most powerful leaders of the Somali factions, no one knows where has been ending up the remaining income of the fleet over the past ten years. Similarly, no one knows about the fate of the previous one.
Nevertheless, what is surprising now is that since the beginning of the crisis in Somalia, the fleet has been at the service only of an assortment of exploiters, who remain indifferent toward the sufferings of the Somali refugees or toward this national tragedy. In addition, those Somali refugees who from time to time are to be employed to make part of the Somali crew on board of the fishing vessels are badly exploited on their own estates and they receive less than the value of the work they've done.