Pirate's Booty

There's still a standoff on the Saudi oil super tanker that Somali pirates seized last Saturday. The pirates are demanding $25 million and fortifying their position. However this situation is resolved, hopefully the two million barrels of crude on that boat stays out of the ocean. This could be a huge environmental disaster.

How to "solve" the pirate problem is a larger question. The pirates on board the Sirius Star (pictured) aren't the only ones looking forward to that ransom. As this AP article makes clear, the million-dollar hauls Somali pirates are pulling in have created new boom towns in the country:
Somalia's increasingly brazen pirates are building sprawling stone houses, cruising in luxury cars, marrying beautiful women — even hiring caterers to prepare Western-style food for their hostages.

And in an impoverished country where every public institution has crumbled, they have become heroes in the steamy coastal dens they operate from because they are the only real business in town.

'The pirates depend on us, and we benefit from them,' said Sahra Sheik Dahir, a shop owner in Harardhere, the nearest village to where a hijacked Saudi Arabian supertanker carrying $100 million in crude was anchored Wednesday.

If we're hoping for any cooperation from the people of Somalia in stopping piracy, perhaps we should think about providing them with another way to eat.