Wired’s Danger Room has an interview with a Somali shipping pirate.
Who sounds oddly like a Silicon Valley startup executive. These are all quotes from the pirate:
“Once you have a ship, it’s a win-win situation.”
“Hostages – especially Westerners – are our only assets, so we try our best to avoid killing them.”
“A single mission with 12 armed men and boats costs a little over $30,000. But a successful investor has to dispatch at least three or four missions to get lucky once.”
And my favorite:
“The financiers are the most important since they organize and plan the big shot operations and are able to pay running cost[s]. Financiers always need to forge deals with traders, land cruiser owners, translators, business people to keep the supplies flowing during operations and manage the logistics. There is a long supply chain involved in every hijacking.“
…and as soon as we learn to automate and optimize it, we’ll attain unheard-of efficiencies in pirate management!!
I’m not saying that the interview is completely bogus – but this just sets off my BS detector. I’d love to actually hear the tape.
And as a blue-water sailor, there was one thing that rang kind of false as well:
“Beyond that, in my case deploy a boat with six men to get close to the ship and leave another in reserve near the coast just in case we need backup. We use sophisticated equipment that allows us to spot our targets from a distance. We always have to be close to the main sea lane and keep in touch with each other using talkie phones.”
So the sea lanes off Somalia are about 4 – 6 degrees latitude from the coast – so figure they are 240 – 360 miles from shore.
Unless he means the backup boats lurk like 200 miles off the coast – a broad definition of ‘near the coast’ – the time to get backup in place to catch a 15 – 20kt ship with a 25kt power launch from 100 miles away is on the order of 15 – 18 hours. Some backup…