Forming the Horn of Africa, Somalia has a coastline with the Gulf of Aden to the north and with the Indian Ocean to the east and south. Ethiopia lies to the west, Djibouti to the north-west and Kenya to the south-west. Somalia'’s landscape is mainly rolling bushland rising in altitude from the Indian Ocean coast towards the west. In the north a range of largely treeless mountains rising to 240mm lies parallel to the Gulf of Aden coast. The climate is semi-arid in the south and north to arid in the central ranges.
11.10 million (2002)
Somali , Bantu, Arabs
Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English
Hargeisa, Boroma, Kismayu, Berbera, Burao
1 Somali shilling = 100 cents, 1 US Dollar (USD) = 2,620.00 Somali Shilling (SOS)
Khaleej Times: Nearly 250 passengers of a luxury cruise liner, MS Columbus, will disembark in Yemen and fly aboard a chartered plane to Dubai as a "precautionary measure" in order to avoid being hijacked by Somali pirates.
The travellers are on a 19-day world tour. The cruise from Italy to Dubai made scheduled stops at ports in Greece, Egypt and Jordan, before reaching Yemen.
"There is an official warning by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs for this region. We had informed our guests about the possibility to cancel. Last week, we decided to disembark them," said an official from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises in Hamburg, the ship's operator.
"The reason for this safety measure is the current political situation in the Gulf of Aden countries. "A skeleton crew would remain on board to ensure the smooth continuation of the trip," said a written statement from the company.
The ship's management team has informed passengers and crew about the security measures. About 26 passengers had cancelled the trip before the cruise began, after operators highlighted security concerns. After a three-day stay in a 5-star hotel in Dubai, the passengers will fly to Salalah in Oman on December 13 to continue their journey, which will eventually end in Dubai on December 17.
The cruise operator did not rule out plans of changing its itinerary in the future to avoid sailing through the Gulf of Aden. "We are incurring additional expenses in flying passengers and putting them up in a hotel in Dubai.
"We will change our ship's itinerary in the future if there is a necessity. Of course, this will be done after assessing the situation," said the spokesman.