Pirates Offer Hostages at Discount Prices
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Sounding more like operators of retail businesses than scallywags of the high seas, pirates from Somalia have decided their inventory of hostages has grown too large, and are going to offer reduced ransom demands so they can increase turnover of ships they hijack.
Simply put, they’re offering a sale.
“We have lowered the ransom only for the ships we have used to hijack other ships,” pirate Hussein told Reuters. “We sometimes release these ships free of charge for they generate more (money). But we shall not lower the ransom for the bulk ships we are sure can bring bulk money.”
Hussein added that pirates are currently holding more than 30 vessels. According to the anti-piracy watchdog group Ecoterra International, Somali pirates are actually holding 46 foreign vessels and two barges, not to mention at least 737 hostages.
One pirate told Reuters that they have changed their operations so they function more like “modern business deals,” having realized the importance of turning over ships at a faster rate so they can capture even more.
Right now, pirates hold seized ships for an average of 150 days before freeing them for ransoms, with some payments reaching nearly $10 million.
Meanwhile, some pirates have cut a deal with the Al-Shabaab militant Islamist group to pay 20% of ransoms in exchange for the right to anchor stolen ships in the Somali port town of Haradhere.
Somali Pirates Cut Ransoms to Clear Hijacked Ships (by Mohamed Ahmed and Abdi Sheikh, Reuters)
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