Profit and Loss: Somali Pirates

In the digital age (in places with access), the word piracy most often surfaces in relation to technological plundering of some sort -- music, internet, etc. The evolution of the word is probably why mainstream media and the general public latched on to the ongoing Somali pirate story -- real, live pirates on the high seas. Predictably, much of the background and context of the story has been traded for dramatic effect.

CBC News in Toronto, Canada, offered some insight into why and how the pirate situation has developed off the coast of Somalia. Some key points from the video:
  • Somali pirates made an estimated $30 million last year from seizing and ransoming ships. Somali fishermen lost an estimated $300 million last year from illegal fishing by foreign ships.
  • In addition to starvation and political turmoil, Somalis have been victims of illness from toxic waste washing up on their shore. With no government to prevent illegal dumping, the coast is a cheap place for toxic waste dumping. The international community is reluctant to investigate because of the perceived danger due to the lack of authority.
  • Piracy began as a reaction to this turmoil. Somali fishermen began acting as an informal coast guard. In the process, piracy became a lucrative industry.
Watch the broadcast:
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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:06 AM

    Amy Goodman had an interview with someone on this topic recently which corroborated much of what is in this video. Go to Democracy Now to listen or read the transcript.


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