Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Somali piracy in detail

As a journalist, it's often difficult to keep up with the flow of information emanating from various sources about the piracy situation off the Horn of Africa. I receive notes from sources around the world on a daily basis and maintain contacts in a variety of places, but sometimes things can just be missed. Case in point: The UN's Monitoring Group for Somalia unveiled a report on the current situation in East Africa that offers the most comprehensive look at what's going on there. The report was released December 10, yet few have noticed it - myself included. It's only thanks to the diligence of my colleague EagleSpeak that I'm writing about it. The entire report can be downloaded as a PDF here (it's the report dated 10 December 2008).

This is a phenomenal assessment of piracy off Somalia and among the more interesting parts of the report are the descriptions of how the money flows. The Monitoring Group clarifies who is paid, and how, in a manner that harkens backs several hundred years. Really.

"Ransom payments are now commonly delivered directly to the pirates on board the captured ship. Accounts of the distribution formula vary, but a source close to the Eyl network informed the Monitoring Group that the breakdown is typically as follows:

Typical distribution of ransom payments:
- Maritime militia 30 per cent Distributed equally between all members,although the first pirate to board a ship receives a double share or a vehicle.
- Pirates who fight other pirates must pay a fine. Compensation is paid to the family of any pirate killed during the operation.
- Ground militia 10 per cent.
- Local community 10 per cent (Elders, local officials, visitors, and for hospitality for guests and associates of the pirate).
- Financier 20 per cent The financier usually shares his earnings with other financiers and political allies.
- Sponsor 30 per cent

There's more, much more, in the report that is worth reading.


Mark Tempest said...

Thanks for the credit, but in all fairness, Jane Novak at Armies of Liberation was my source via a kind email she sent to me.

Brian Reyes said...

I really enjoy your blog Daniel. I've done some reporting on Somali piracy for the London shipping daily Lloyd's List, in particular on ransom payments and the money trail. If you're interested, you can read some of stories at http://lettersfromgib.wordpress.com