Whoever said that pirates do the darndest things was right!!
Here’s some insight into the knifestyles of the new kings of the high seas, Gulf of Aden edition.
How to collect ransom, Somali pirate-style, via BBC News:
- First the pirates contact the owners. The talks are by telephone, mostly satellite phone but sometimes even SMS/text messages are sent.
- The pirates do not negotiate themselves. They hire someone and often this person is a relative; someone they can trust.
- There are two negotiators. Sometimes they are on the ship, sometimes they are in town. The negotiator must work and work and work to get the money which is a very difficult job. It is very difficult to please the owner and please the pirates.
- But once the money is delivered the negotiator gets a share, the same as a pirate. Everyone on the ship gets an equal share.
So communist of them.
- They usually also don’t like dollar bills that were printed in 2000 or the years before. If it was printed in 1999, they say: ‘This is not fit to be used in our shop’,” he [Kenyan sailor Athman Said Mangore, who was held captive for more than 120 days by Somali pirates] adds.
We’re so adopting that saying: ‘This is not fit to be used in our shop.’
- The pirates ask that the ransom is all in used dollar bills – normally $50 or $100 notes – according to those with experience of such negotiations.
- They sometimes say they want $208,000 exactly in $100 bills only.
- In the past, the ransom was delivered by money transfer, but that now owners hire a third party to hand over the money directly.
- Once the ship’s owners have sourced cash, a private security firm takes over.
- They then hire a tug boat, often from the Kenyan port of Mombasa, which they take further north up the coast towards Somali waters.
- The security personnel then board the boat with the bags of cash and enough weaponry to keep it safe.
- When the ransom has been paid, the pirates are left to count the money and are allowed to leave the vessel freely.
- Some of the pirates have counting machines and also machines to detect fake notes.
One can never be too careful these days. There are a lot of criminals around…