5 Facts about Today's Pirates

Most people likely envision a pirate as a man with long flowing hair pulled back in a scarf, with black and white striped pants and possibly a wooden leg. Don’t forget the parrot! However, were you aware that pirates still operate in some parts of the world today? The hot spot for modern day piracy is located just off the coast of Africa. Today’s pirates are modern and quite different than the historical figures we associate with pirates. approach to their operations. Today’s pirates are focused on financial gain, and avoid murder unlike pirates of the past.  Read below to learn five facts about today’s pirates.

Today’s Pirates

Modern day piracy reached a peak in 2011, and has been on the decline since. On average, statistics on pirates estimate pirate ship earnings average around $2.7 million per vessel. Those earnings are divided amongst the pirates and each individual pirate typically receives around $30,000 to $75,000. The other amount is returned to investors and financiers who financed the voyage. In recent years, piracy appears to be on the decline as many ships are now more aware about the threat of piracy and have subsequently improved their security practices to avoid pirate attacks.  

Pirate Voyage’s Are Inexpensive

On average, three to five investors will offer financial support in order for a pirate voyage to occur. These investors will receive about half of the final profits with the remaining earnings distributed amongst the pirate ship’s crew. Since it costs less than $30,000 to run a pirate expedition, this seemingly risky investment is actually a smart financial move.  Smaller pirate ship voyages cost as little as a few hundred dollars to finance. Once a voyage is complete, the ransom money received is usually then laundered through other countries or Somalia and the cycle continues.

Local Communities Support Pirates

You may be surprised to learn that local communities regularly offer their support for Somali pirates. In return for their support, they earn a share of the ransom when a mission is complete. Ransom money is invested back into the local community and helps improve local infrastructure, hospitals and public schools. A Somali pirate stock exchange was developed which allows outside investors to contribute weapons or other materials to the pirates in return for a share of their ransom.

Technology Is Key

Today’s pirates are modern and use sophisticated technology before and during their voyages. GPS systems, satellite phones, night vision goggles and other equipment are now commonplace on most pirate voyages. Online resources such as blogs and other websites are also used to map out their attack plan by identifying shipping routes of potential ships that could be targeted.

Debt & Credit

Pirates operate an onboard debt and credit system during their voyages as opposed to a exchange of money. Many pirates enjoy using the recreational drug qat during their voyages to keep their spirits up, and any amount they use will be tracked and deducted from their final earnings. Some pirates may have a little too much fun during their voyage, and end up in debt at the end instead of earning money.

As you can see, modern day pirates are quite different than the pirates of the past we are more familiar with. What difference between modern day pirates and pirates of the past surprised you the most?