Friday, November 21, 2008


Recently, I pointed to an article about Somali pirates capturing an enormous oil tanker. This was no Jack Sparrow, no. This modern piracy is obviously serious business. The pirates who attacked that tanker are now asking for $25 million (US) in ransom. I decided to see what I could find out about the whole business. Check out this article in the National Post.
Young men usually in their 20s and 30s. Since agriculture is often at a subsistence level, and factional violence makes death a very real possibility, piracy offers a far more lucrative proposition. Some pirates claim they are former fishermen forced to make a living because of over fishing in the region by other countries. It is now believed that thousands of young men have become pirates.

The hotspot is apparently the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and Somalia this year, and further south as well. Shipping lines are steering clear of the area for the safety of crews and ships. The reason many ships went through the Gulf of Aden was because it connects to the Red Sea and leads to the Suez Canal in Egypt, a time and money saving route.

The BBC reports:"Somali pirates have been paid more than $150m (£101m) in ransoms in the past 12 months, Kenya's foreign minister says". There have been 95 attacks in the area this year alone. Russia is using a missile frigate to escort a convey of ships through the area.

I had no idea there was so much piracy going on, and less of an idea that so much was happening in one area. Meanwhile pirate humour has appeared on Wall St.


Candy Minx said...

I've always wanted to sail around the world...I love being on a boat, especially a sail boat. But the thing has always scared me about these pirates.

My "plan B" is to sail from Grand Banks to Outer Banks and stop all along the way...not too many pirates.


Anonymous said...

Like you I was unaware of the severity of the piracy problem until this latest story hit the news