Who’s making money from the piracy that’s flourishing off the coast of Somalia?
The pirates themselves seem to be raking it in. As the Guardian reports, pirates have made about $30 million from ransom payments this year, according to U.N. estimates; and they are demanding $25 million for the return of their latest capture, the Saudi supertanker Sirius Star.
Increased piracy also provides a welcome revenue stream for private military contractors like Blackwater Worldwide. As Wired reports, Blackwater hires itself out like mercenaries of centuries past to protect ships against pirates. Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions, for example, charges $30,000 per boat for its piracy protection, according to NPR.
Another piracy profiteer: coastal Somali villages.
In the Somali fishing town Eyl — the “piracy capital of the world” — the local economy is booming, thanks to the 12 foreign ships being held hostage off its coast by hundreds of pirates who bring their business — using plundered money — to the village.
New businesses in the town, including hotels built to accommodate pirates, are dependent on its criminal economy. The Guardian quotes one of the town’s tea vendors:
When the pirates have money, I can easily increase my price to $3 for a cup.
It is good to see that inflation is alive and well somewhere.