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Somalia's Pirates - TheAwareMan

The Aware Man Series revolves around major events of the past century that shaped the world we live in today. No heavy jargons. Just the story of what happened, how it happened - for folks like us.

Now when most of us think of a pirate attack, we think a la Jack Sparrow. As colourful as that could’ve been, that is not the case.

Today, pirate attacks are as carefully planned and well executed as any business campaign.

2018, an attack was reported almost every other day on the most well patrolled routes, like the Gulf of Aden, Singapore Straight and the Coast of Malaysia.

With a proper chain of Investors, a stock market, chain of command and experienced negotiators.

These guys are operating with profit margins of over 30% . Way ahead than some of the biggest companies today.

Somalia, by a huge measure, is one of the most inhabitable areas on earth.

Reasons ?

A three decade long civil war. Which essentially resulted in an extinction of the Central Government. Another reason being that only 1.8 % of its land is actually arable.

Poor infrastructure, means of earning a livelihood, and basic amenities, has led to Somalia having the lowest life expectancy in the world.

With a GDP of only 28 cents a day, piracy doesn’t seem to be an other worldly option of survival for the Somalians.

Don’t get the wrong idea here.

Financing an attack costs around 30,000 USD upfront. That of course, by Somalia’s standard is way too much. This is where your Investors come in, to buy shares in an informal stock market.

Now the attack.

Anywhere between 4 to 20 pirates follow one large mothership upto 800 miles off the coast.

When they’re closing in they switch to chaser boats, and use ropes and ladders to board the ship.

In areas like South East Asia they go mostly after oil.

Somalian pirates, however, go after the crew, not the cargo.

The mothership is then anchored on the nearest port wherein the negotiation process begins. With only one buyer and one seller, this is an unusual situation which can span upto 500 days easy.

If the owner of the ship has a kidnapping and ransom insurance the negotiations are done by a negotiator reducing the chances of death from 9 to 2%. To ensure the safety of the crew, they’re lined up on the top deck.

A helicopter then drops a water proof container loaded with cash into the water.

Now for the cuts, 30% goes to the investors, 10% to the port . The rest being split amongst the attackers. And, an additional bonus of 10,000 USD for the one to board the mothership first.

This scenario is repeated multiple times a year costing shipping companies 5 - 9 billion dollars a year. These costs are passed on to the public, who actually unknowingly have to pay a piracy tax.

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