14 May 2009

Analysis: Pirate coordination and support

A report in Lloyd's Fairplay Shipping News says that pirates are spending loot to upgrade their boats and their intelligence networks, which has increased the number of attacks. Fairplay estimates only a third of any ransom goes to the pirates, another tenth going to local officials. the paper says that local Somali businessmen back piracy and that thei commercial connections allow them to move money around in regional banks.
Fairplay further discovered that pirates netted an estimated $80 million in 2008. An equal amount was also paid by owners of captured ships to lawyers, underwriters and to kidnap and ransom specialists to ensure safe return of crews and vessels.
(Janes, undated press release)

Spanish radio station Cadena SER have reported details of an EU naval intelligence report that says pirate land stations are dispatching patrols based on intelligence gathered in London and passed on to pirate leaders. "The information provided voluntarily by merchant ships transiting the area to various international agencies has now landed in the pirates' hands," according to the report. (Telegraph, 05/11/09)

"According to the same report the pirates receive their information by satellite phone and use sophisticated equipment to locate their targets.

At least one of the top five groups of Somali pirates has advisers in London, who in turn provide them with detailed information about the ships." (Yemen Post, 05/14/09)

Haldun Dincel, general manager of Turkey's Yardimci shipping company, says that during negotiations to release the Karagöl, "Every day the chief of the pirates got in touch with people from London, Dubai and some from the Yemen." Dincel said of the hijackers, "They knew the ­vessel, they knew the cargo, they knew the loading ports, they knew the destination, they knew everything." (Guardian, 05/11/09)

EU naval commander Phillip Jones meanwhile said that his forces were redoubling efforts to secure shipping information. He said he was "bemused" by the Spanish report. (BBC, 05/14/09)