I haven’t read the story this interview was conducted for (an article on the economics of Somali piracy) but this full, ‘uncut’ interview between Scott Carney from Wired and a Somali pirate offers a glimpse at their strategy and reasoning.
How do you pirates decide on what ransom to ask for? What makes them negotiate downwards?
Once you have a ship, it’s a win-win situation. We attack many ships everyday, but only a few are ever profitable. No one will come to the rescue of a third-world ship with an Indian or African crew, so we release them immediately. But if the ship is from Western country or with valuable cargo like oil, weapons or â€¦ then it’s like winning a lottery jackpot. We begin asking a high price and then go down until we agree on a price.
The pirate answers questions on how ransoms are negotiated; how missions are financed, organised and executed; when they will kill hostages; and how they occasionally use public pressure as leverage in obtaining higher ransoms (by contacting the world media themselves).