Piracy is a side effect of the problems in Somalia, but the problems off the Horn of Africa produce many side effects. While piracy gets the headlines, it is a problem centric to money. There are so few deaths annually as a result of piracy I can't find statistics online that actually track the number.
The side effect of the problems off the Horn of Africa that is serious in regards to loss of life is the refugee and human smuggler problem. Think about the task facing international naval forces there, they can either position themselves to fight piracy, or be in position to save people being smuggled into Yemen. What kind of people do this?
"On Sunday, as the boat was within sight of the Yemeni coast but still in deep water, the smugglers demanded more money from all of the passengers, who had already paid $100 each prior to departure," Redmond said. "The survivors said those who did not or could not pay were severely beaten by the smugglers and up to 40 people, mostly Ethiopians, were thrown overboard despite their pleas for mercy."The article goes on to note UNHCR has counted over 38,000 people crossing by boat from Somalia to Yemen through October in 2008, which according to the article "is nearly 10,000 more people who made the same journey during the whole of last year."
The article also says more than 600 people have been reported dead or missing so far this year in the Gulf of Aden, compared to 1,400 for all of last year. That could be a result of increased naval activity, something the UN should look into.
Consider and contrast. Pirates seize ships and collect millions of dollars, but very few people die as a result of piracy. That article is about a boat full of 115 people trying to flee as refugees across the Gulf of Aden. Each paid $100, which comes to $11,500 total for the trip, and when the smugglers couldn't get more money (probably less than the $100 originally paid) for their efforts, 40 were thrown out into the deep water to drown.
40 lives for what couldn't have been more than $4000 total. Want to hang pirates? I'm OK with that, but lets hang these human smugglers first, and if there is no rope I'm sure someone in Africa can spare both a gun and bullet.