The only profitable business in Somalia is piracy
Via Al Jazeera, a lot of detail I didn't know about:
"We are demanding $25m from the Saudi owners of the tanker. We do not want long-term discussions to resolve the matter," Mohamed Said said. "The Saudis have 10 days to comply, otherwise we will take action that could be disastrous."
The tanker was seized in the Indian Ocean some 800km off the coast of Kenya, and is now anchored off the Somali coast at Haradheere, roughly in the centre of the country's coastline. It is the biggest vessel ever hijacked.
Somali pirates have now seized three ships off the coast of the Horn of Africa in the past three days.
A Greek tanker, a Thai fishing boat and a Hong Kong-registered vessel have also been captured despite a large international naval presence in the waters off Somalia. ...
A coalition of warships from eight nations, as well as from Nato and the US Navy's 5th Fleet, is patrolling a critical zone in the Gulf of Aden where most of the hijackings have occurred.
In Somalia, an impoverished country where public institutions have crumbled, many see piracy as the only profitable business.
The pirates are said to have built luxurious homes and propped up the economy in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, where many of them are based.
Amid the anarchy and lawlessness in most parts of Somalia, northern coastal towns like Haradhere, Eyl and Bossaso, the so-called pirate economy is thriving, due to the money pouring in from pirate ransoms that have reached $30 million this year alone.
At least 13 vessels with more than 270 crew members are already being held by various pirate gangs. A Ukrainian-registered cargo ship carrying tanks and heavy weaponry remains anchored off the Somali coa
Of course, if the pirates were bankers, we'd be begging them for the privilege of handing them money, but they aren't.
NOTE I'm still betting Obama's first foreign policy crisis is piracy in Somalia.
Egypt has held a meeting of six Arab countries in an attempt to forge a joint strategy against piracy in the Gulf of Aden, which threatens the international trade route through Egypt's Suez Canal.
Egypt is concerned that the recent surge in piracy, highlighted by the hijacking of the Saudi supertanker Sirius Star loaded with $100m worth of crude oil last week, will prompt shipping companies to opt for safer routes that avoid the Canal.
NOTE Figured I'd look at Al Jazeera because Avedon linked to them, and they look just as good as Pravda on the Potomac or Izvestia on the Hudson. Why wouldn't they?