In Somalia, almost all the coastal villages are supporting piracy at sea.
- hire necessary muscle power from unemployed youth to use weapons and communication equipment.
- buy sophisticated guns, Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers, satellite phones and luxury vehicles from foreign businessmen.
- hire poor fishermen to provide their boats and navigational skills at sea to capture the vessel.
- look after hostages well and they try their best to provide good food, drinks and cigarettes.
- successfully collect ransom.
Interesting information is available on the lavish life styles of Somali pirates. Some of the interesting features of Somali pirates and their lavish life styles are:
- Piracy in Somalia is in many ways socially acceptable.
- Most of the Somali pirates are young, between 20 and 35 years of age.
- On an average Somali pirates collect a ransom of $2 million for each captured vessel.
- Somali pirates have money; they have power; and they are getting stronger day by day.
- Somali women say “Marrying a pirate is every Somali girl’s dream. He has power, money, immunity, the weapons to defend the tribe and funds to give to the militias in civil war.”
- Somali pirates wed the most beautiful girls; they are building big houses; they have new cars; new guns.
- “One night I got $1,000 from a pirate,” a prostitute from Djibouti said. “But the luckiest is to sleep with the group leader. You get $3,000.”
- a 36 year old mother of five says “Our children are not worrying about food now, and they go to Islamic schools in the morning and play soccer in the afternoon. They are happy”.
- Educated Somali youth says “Women here don’t talk to you if you are not a pirate”
- Somali pirates don’t mind to look after the hostages well as they get hefty ransom in return. Special restaurants have come up to supply food for the crews of the hijacked ships.
Somali pirates rarely go to jail. But what happens to those Somali pirates who are sent to jail ? How the pirates rot in Somalia jail ?
- view ‘ The Pirates of Somalia’ as a slide show from The New York Times.
- view photo essay ‘Somalia’s Face of Modern Piracy’ from Time.
- view photo essay ‘The Brazen Pirates of Somalia’ from Time.
- also view Pirates of Somalia from Jehad Nga Photography.
View here a video clip to compare Somali jail with the jail in Austria.
Update: November 22
Here is an interesting information to justify lavish life styles of Somali pirates. Kenya’s foreign affairs minister has said on November 21, that Somali pirates have collected more than US $150 million in ransoms over the past year. He has further appealed to the ship owners not to pay ransom for their hijacked vessels. Read more from Shanghai Daily.
Update: November 23
“The average income in Somalia is around $650 a year, but a low level pirate can earn up to $10,000 per raid”. Read more from Sky News.
Also piracy ransom payments are very safe transactions as the money goes down the line through a series of intermediaries, with the local government, the mayor or chiefs having a direct hand. Read more from Guardian.
Update: April 17,2009
The pirates use the ransom money to buy villas and cars at home in Somalia, but UN experts say the money is also flooding the neighbouring Kenyan property market. Read more from France 24.
Update: June 02
High returns from piracy and lavish lifestyles of Somali pirates attract even children and young women to jump on the bandwagon, either by joining one of the sea gangs or marrying a well-heeled pirate. Read more from Reuters.
Update: June 10
View a video clip from BBC News: Somali pirates to be tried in Kenya
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