In 1998, Puntland declared its autonomy. Since that year, it has territorial disputes with Somaliland, another self-proclaimed autonomous region of Somalia.
The coast of Puntland is completely unguarded and is being exploited by foreign intruders and pirates. The Gulf of Aden connects the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, being considered a strategic waterway used by ships crossing from Asia to Europe. Piracy on this region is beginning to worry other countries, as attacks on fishing boats, cargo ships and yachts increased, and as the waterway is used by ships carrying oil from the Persian Gulf. On September 2008, the region attracted attention from the media when an Ukrainian ship carrying T-72 tanks was hijacked.
Most of the hijacked ships are sent to the port of Eyl. The town is becoming a safe-haven to this kind of illegal activity. The state of Somalia lacks of a central government and stability to revert this situation.