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Somali Pirates to Get $8 Million?

Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008

Those Somali pirates who hijacked a Ukrainian freighter carrying Russian arms to South Sudan via Kenya may soon get paid for their treachery, and handsomely, the New York Times reports:

After sticky negotiations, which several people involved likened to bazaar-style haggling, a deal seemed to be close in which the pirates would be paid millions of dollars and the ship would be freed.

"The pirates and the ship owners have agreed on around $8 million," said Ahmed Omar, a businessman in Xarardheere, a notorious pirate den on the coast of Somalia. "The ship may be freed today or tomorrow."

Maritime officials in Kenya were more cautious, saying crucial details had to be worked out. For starters, the pirates were asking for guarantees that they would not be arrested or blown out of the water by the armada of American warships currently circling them.

Good luck getting that guarantee. They might not have those 80,000 $100 bills in their possession for long.

In a recent World Politics Review feature article, David Axe reports that this incident is only the first skirmish in what may be a long piracy war to come. Read the whole thing here.