Somali pirates net $170m in ransoms

2012-02-23 10:52
New York - The United Nations said on Wednesday that Somali pirates received about $170m in ransoms in 2011, up from $110m in 2010, with some of the money channelled into the world's legal financial system.

The average ransom demanded to free a ship and crew stood at $5m and $10m for a tanker, the UN Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) told the UN Security Council during a debate on piracy off the coast of Somalia.

UNODC's executive director Yuri Fedotov said the laundering of ransom money had caused steep price increases in the Horn of Africa and surrounding regions.

Fedotov said he was not aware of any ideological link between pirates and Somalia's al-Shabaab insurgents, who were reported to have aligned themselves with al-Qaeda. The insurgents have been fighting the internationally backed government in Mogadishu.

UNODC, which works with countries fighting piracy, said there are currently 1,116 young Somali men being prosecuted for piracy by courts in 20 countries around the world. He said another 688 pirates are being prosecuted in African countries like Kenya, Somalia, Seychelles, Tanzania and Mauritius.

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