By: Billy Beerslugger
So a U.S. freighter ship was boarded by pirates last week somewhere off the coast of Somalia. I’m not really sure what happened to the rest of the crew but the Captain was taken hostage. The news stations made a huge deal of this. If you watched CNN, Fox, MSNBC over the last couple of days this was the main story.
The story ends with 3 pirates being snipered by the Navy Seals and the U.S. captain being freed. Somehow though, I was rooting for the Pirates. What if the main Pirate was in the same league as Jack Sparrow or One Eyed Willy from Goonies?
While I certainly wanted no one to die, it’s got to take a lot of balls to board a freighter ship, take hostages and demand a ransom. You’ve got to be a little crazy. ARRRRRRRRRR!!!!!
These pirates differ from their Hollywood cousins in that the “booty” they desire is citizens who will pay a ransom for safe return instead of gold, silver or other precious cargo. A cargo freighter isn’t something you’re going to steal and take to the high seas as your new pirate ship. Exchanging the new cars or other booty on board for the the vast amount of gas it takes to run one of these things just doesn’t make sense.
Somalia is a war ravaged country. It’s government was overthrown in 1991 and for nearly 20 years has been ruled by rival clans. Whomever has more pickup trucks, guns and men in that area is who the people listen to. Some Somali people call these pirates heroes. In reality, these men are just your ordinary fisherman, paid by the overlords to assault the some 25,000 ships that pass through the Gulf of Aden each year. In 2008 piracy incidents in the area jumped to 111 from 41 in 2007.
It’s big business over there. On average the Pirates earn between 1 million and 2 million per boat. But all that money does not go to the pirates. The pirates themselves make only about 30% of that while twenty percent goes to group bosses, another 30 percent is spent on bribing local officials, and 20 percent goes for capital investment like guns, ammunition, fuel, food, cigarettes. And these pirates are getting more sophisticated because increasing night time attacks suggest the use of Night Vision Goggles.
Love them or hate them, the Pirates do not seem to be going anywhere soon in that area. And this brings me to another point, don’t work anywhere where there’s pirates. This ship captain obviously knew of the pirate activity in the area. He chose to take the job anyway. Just like if you go over to Iraq as some sort of contractor, the pay is higher but you run the risk of getting killed.
My advice,don’t work anywhere but the U.S., Europe, the British Isles and maybe Australia. Anywhere else you’re fucking crazy.