Friday, April 22, 2011

Navy chief: Piracy syndicates feeding off ransom payments

As Reported HERE

Piracy syndicates are selling shares in planned attacks, fueled by a surge of ransom payments that help attract investors, the U.S. chief of naval operations said.
Piracy syndicates in villages, mainly in largely ungoverned Somalia, solicit investors who buy shares in the attack missions and gain a corresponding share of ransoms paid by the shipping industry, Adm. Gary Roughead said.
"The ransoms fuel the business, the business invests in more capability, either in a bigger boat, more weapons, better electronic-detection means to determine where the ships are," Roughead said Thursday. "So it's a business."
The average ransom payment has mushroomed over five years — from $150,000 in 2005 to $5.4 million last year — according to the Louisville-based One Earth Future Foundation. The payments are fueling increased raids, adding at least $2.4 billion to transport costs because vessels are being diverted onto longer routes to avoid attacks off east Africa, the nonprofit group said earlier this year.

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