10 may 2012 the most famous pirates of the XXI century failed to capture a single merchant ship. The main merit in a victory over them belongs to one family.
In 2008 they hijacked 42 of the ship, earned the ransoms of about $80 million. In that year, the London obstetrician Denis Tsepov wrote in his LiveJournal: "there were come to give birth Somali girl of dazzling beauty, all in black and in larger diamonds. With her were about seven daring young men in suits by Comme Des Garçons. Having got the girl to a beautiful baby boy, I plucked up courage and asked: "what are you doing in life, rebya, if not a secret?". They replied: "Simple Somali sailors, and with what purpose you interested?"". As implausible as this story, it accurately reflects the early romantic myth of Somali pirates, tarnished even more than it was itself destroyed their craft.
Forced to piracy
By 2005, when the Gulf of Aden pirates seized the ship the first major international company, the war in Somalia was already for almost 30 years. After the war with Ethiopia was followed by a series of riots that literally tore the country to shreds, controlled by warring warlords.The lack of a border service have used the poachers. Trawlers from around the world were drawn off from the waters of Somalia tuna, shrimp and lobster for $300 million a year. Worse than that associated with the Italian mafia company started dumping in local waters of toxic waste. So exhausted was the only source of income and without that the poor Somali fishermen. After some attempts to take a "tax" from foreign scavengers and poachers, they discovered a truly profitable business.
French tuna seiner Trevignon. In 2010, repelled the attack by Somali pirates, ramming and sinking their boat. Photo: Marcel Mochet / AFP / East News.
Technical equipment — radio, latest GPS navigators. Intelligence — bribe the official in the Kenyan port. Two wooden boats with mounted engines 60 horsepower accelerated to 25 knots (46 km/h) and are catching up in international waters the cargo ship or tanker. To get the captain to reset the course, the pirates open a warning fire with a rusty Kalashnikov assault rifles in the direction of felling and demonstrate a willingness to shoot from a grenade launcher. Looking for a Board lower to drop the ladder and climb to the deck. Capture the bridge and at gunpoint lead ship in its harbour. The ship, whose Board rises above the water at least 8 meters or capable of speeds above 18 knots (33 km/h) remains impregnable.
Pirates holding a gun at the crew of a Chinese fishing vessel "Tian Yu", 17 November 2008. Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky / US NAVY / AFP / East News.
From threats to violence Somalis crossed infrequently. From 2008 to 2012, when they captured 170 ships with 3 400 crew members were killed 25 sailors. Another 37 died of starvation or committed suicide in captivity.
The attacks by Somali pirates in 2005-2010. Map: Planemad according to NGA — Maritime
The business model
For the best in this business 2010 amount of ransom for hijacked 47 vessels amounted to approximately $238 million. Most of the profits received by the investors expeditions: the local clan leaders and owners of boats. The average repurchase of $2.7 million ordinary seaman relied on $30 000 — 75 000. Negotiations with the owners lasted several months. At this time, the pirate crew lived on the trophy, and the investor deducted from his share of the cost of food, prostitutes, relationships, and local drug "khat". Few privates went ashore with the amount greater than $10 000-20 000, but this is huge money for a country where the average annual income does not exceed $300. The Washington Post in 2009 quoted the answer of the Somalis on the question, the pirates are different from the militants from the inner parts of the country: "They're not skinny, they have glowing faces, and they are always happy."
Boats, normally used for pirate attacks. Hobyo, North-Eastern coast of Somalia on 4 January 2010. Photo: Mohamed Dahir / AFP / East News.
Losses for shipping
2008 — 42 capture, 2009 — 46, 2010 — 47, 2011 — 28, and each sounded loudly in the news, creating the appearance of a significant threat to world shipping. However, past Somalia from the oil States of the Persian Gulf to Europe and back annually not less than 21 000 merchant ships. Even in the fat years for the Somalis threatened to tenths of a percent of them, while the main damage to the owners caused the fear.According to 2011 data, the rise in insurance cost the Maritime industry $635 million, the laying of the inland routes and additional expenditure on fuel of $580 million, spending on the fuel to accelerate up to 18 knots safe — $2.7 billion, the installation of equipment and hiring armed guards — over $1 billion.
Crew members and the owner of "Faina" Vadim Alperin (third from right) during the mooring in the Kenyan port of Mombasa, where the ship arrived after the liberation. 12 February 2009. Photo: Sayyid Azim / AP Photo / East News
The most high-profile captures
25 September 2008 — cargo ship "Faina" with the Ukrainian crew were transported to Kenya four dozen T-72 tanks, grenade launchers and anti-aircraft guns. The redemption was $3.2 million.
8 April 2009 — Maersk Alabama container ship under the flag of USA. The crew locked themselves in the engine room, locked the office, and later captured one of the Somalis. Three others sailed away on the rescue boat, holding hostage captain Phillips. The next day they all got shot by the snipers of the U.S. Navy seals, the captain was not injured. In a rented plot on this movie his role was played by Tom Hanks. Involved in the rescue of Phillips, the team of commandos for two years to kill Osama bin Laden.
15 November 2008 — 330-meter supertanker Sirius Star, carrying 2.2 million barrels of oil worth about $100 million. For largest ever production of Somalis paid a ransom of $3 million.
5 may 2010 — oil tanker "Moscow University"; the Russian crew barricaded themselves in the hold and called for help military ship "Marshal Shaposhnikov". The Marines took the ship by storm. According to the official version, pirates landed in an inflatable boat with a small supply of food and water but with no navigation and they are unable to reach the shore. By informal, they were shot.
May 10, 2012 — the Greek supertanker hijacked Smyrni with 1 million barrels of oil. According to the statement of leader of the pirates, they received a record $9.5 million.
French helicopter, based on the frigate Nivose, hovered over the boat suspected of piracy. April 2009. Photo: Pierre Verdy / AFP / East News
Somali piracy has become a good reason to establish international cooperation to protect trade and at the same time to provide military presence on the most important route of delivery of oil: after the bandits in boats with mounted engines is now hunted by warships of 21 countries. It's the biggest in the history of the coalition fleets from different countries and the first time in history, when all the permanent members of the UN security Council — the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, China — oppose the common enemy. It is difficult to say whether participating in the operation of their secret purposes, but to combat coastal piracy warships are adapted little. For the year from the beginning of their patrol in 2008 the number of attacks on merchant ships has doubled. To reverse the situation later managed only with the help of sea surveillance with drones. With each successful patrol documented, emphasizing the impressive disparity opponents.
Win on the shore
A good alternative to expensive and inefficient efforts of the state machinery has become a private initiative. In 2012, 80% of merchant ships passing by Somalia with armed guards on deck. Entry into port with weapons legally impossible, therefore, private military companies have in the region of the floating base, where ships taking soldiers on Board and say goodbye to them, passing the dangerous area. The cost of the services of a team of 3-4 guards ranges from $28 000 to $38 000, which is an order of magnitude less than the minimum redemption. The pirates never managed to capture the ship secure.
But the main victory was achieved on the Bank, and she paid a family al Nahyan, the ruling dynasty of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Taking seriously the threat of a tanker fleet, oil sheikhs has taken under the wing of the Somali province of Puntland with 1.5 million people now living as an independent state. In his time on its shores was located the majority of pirate bases.
Political map of the environs of Somalia in 2013
Having a bad experience build your own army — "don't want Muslims to kill other Muslims" — al Nahyan hired advisors Erik Prince, a former CIA agent and Creator of a leading private military company Blackwater / Xe Services / Academi. It builds the armed forces of the UAE contractors from Columbia, and since 2010 is allocated by the sheikhs of $50 million formed in Puntland the Puntland Maritime Police special ops Force. Instructors and commanders in the South African mercenaries, experts on the fight against the guerrillas, known to most severe methods of training and discipline — the UN inspectors had documented cases of beatings and killing of students.
The result of their work was the creation of the best fighting units in this part of Africa. A detachment of 1,000 soldiers, which are armed with boats, light aircraft and helicopters, for two years managed to destroy the land bases of the Somali pirates and their craft. 10 may 2012 they took only one ship — the Iranian poacher, whom no one wanted to protect."This project was conceived and executed by people we might call outcasts, not part of a civilized society. But he became one of the most effective and efficient solutions to the problem of piracy", Foreign Policy quotes, Robert young Pelton, author of "License to kill: mercenaries in the war on terror."
In 2010, resources of the UN in the capital of Puntland, Garoowe, opened the world's largest prison for pirates for 500 seats, and free there. Today, the most dangerous for shipping areas off the coast of Africa are considered to be waters of Nigeria and Guinea.
Suspected pirates arrested by the French Marines in the Gulf of Aden, after issuing to the Puntland authorities, January 2009. Photo: AP Photo / East News