"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


harardhere blue chips

Some days our pirate paper seems to write itself:
In Somalia's main pirate lair of Haradheere [sic], the sea gangs have set up a cooperative to fund their hijackings offshore, a sort of stock exchange meets criminal syndicate.

...It is a lucrative business that has drawn financiers from the Somali diaspora and other nations -- and now the gangs in Haradheere [sic] have set up an exchange to manage their investments.

One wealthy former pirate named Mohammed took Reuters around the small facility and said it had proved to be an important way for the pirates to win support from the local community for their operations, despite the dangers involved.

"Four months ago, during the monsoon rains, we decided to set up this stock exchange. We started with 15 'maritime companies' and now we are hosting 72. Ten of them have so far been successful at hijacking," Mohammed said.

"The shares are open to all and everybody can take part, whether personally at sea or on land by providing cash, weapons or useful materials ... we've made piracy a community activity."

...Piracy investor Sahra Ibrahim, a 22-year-old divorcee, was lined up with others waiting for her cut of a ransom pay-out after one of the gangs freed a Spanish tuna fishing vessel.

"I am waiting for my share after I contributed a rocket-propelled grenade for the operation," she said, adding that she got the weapon from her ex-husband in alimony.

"I am really happy and lucky. I have made $75,000 in only 38 days since I joined the 'company'."
If it's true that the opening of the exchange is a basis for more positive community relations between the pirates and their base towns, then that's really interesting. There has been some tension in those relationships. A lot of it concerns their behavior after getting ransom money; when successful pirates come ashore, they tend to engage in a lot of bad behavior that's fairly offensive to conservative, religious communities. Finding a way for piracy to benefit more people is smart on the pirates' part, and yet another reason that a sea-based deterrence strategy to combat piracy won't work.

(HT: @tristanreed)


Anonymous Nivetha said...

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Thursday, December 03, 2009 12:14:00 AM


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