The view of a “successful” Somali pirate
A Reuters interview with a senior Somali pirate of January this year sheds a bit of light on both the gradual development of piracy and its organisation. Yassin Dheere said:
“I was forced to hijack foreign ships after the central government collapsed. No one was monitoring the sea, and we couldn’t fish properly, because the ships which trawl the Somali coasts illegally would destroy our small boats and equipment. That is what forced us to become pirates.”
Grievances related to fisheries have been cited before as a motivation for the first attacks and it might be something to look into, but these claims are pretty difficult to corroborate. What is clearer is that fishing boats and merchant ships become a too good opportunity to miss, particularly in the context of the Horn of Africa:
“We were convinced to take $50,000 as compensation. Gosh! This was a huge amount for us. That inspired us and gave us an appetite for hunting ships.” (…)
“In fact, my life has changed dramatically because I’ve received more money than I ever thought I would see. In one incident, I got $250,000, so my life has changed completely.
It is incalculable how much money I have made. I mean, I won’t tell you how much. With the money, I buy cars, weapons, and boats. I also like having a good time and relaxing.”
Indeed. Apparently so much that Mr Dheere decided to operate as a money man sponsoring others.
“I have employees doing the business for me now. I am a financier. I get my money and I don’t have to leave Eyl. I have not gone to sea to hijack in recent months. My group goes to the sea and I manage their finances. I buy speedboats and weapons, whatever they need.”
Tactics have developed as well.
“It’s difficult to stay being a pirate but we have changed our previous strategies. We have transformed our operations in the Indian Ocean with new types of attacks, using modern equipments including GPS to show us where warships are passing.”