Friday, January 09, 2009

Pirates, oil, and the waste of the West

By now you might well have seen this photo of an air drop of $3 million dollars being paid in return for the Saudi super tanker full of oil - full story at the BBC here.

Piracy does pay then, even in the modern world. Given the sorry state of the boating industry that must rub salt in the open wounds of those trying to flog their wares honestly at the London Boat Show that has just started. As this article describes, the yacht manufacturers and laying off staff and working shorter weeks - an all too familiar story in these days.

But there is also an interesting alternative angle to the Somali piracy problem - namely us. According to this article (which haven't had a chance to cross check from other sources), we the west are part of the problem, and not just by interfering and undermining any attempt at central government.

We are dumping our waste - including nuclear waste such as heavy metals used in hospitals - and in return hoovering up the fish. As the article puts it "This is the context in which the "pirates" have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a "tax" on them".

As the saying goes, you reap what you sow.


Mike K-H said...

Saw a pie chart a couple of days ago, showing how ransom money is distributed: 20% pirates, 20%costs, 30% pirate bosses, 30% government (presumably that refers to local warlords, since you can hardly talk of any 'government' in Somalia

JP said...

Sorry Mike, only just spotted your comment - many thanks for that.

Love to know how they got those stats - imagine someone with clipboard wondering around Somalia asking questions.

Agree with you that the last 30% must be local big wigs as there has been no functioning central government since the Islamic Courts got over-thrown.