Off Somalia's Shores and On, Piracy Is the New Law

Though international forces are mobilizing, little stands in way of buccaneers on land
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2008 1:30 PM CDT
Off Somalia's Shores and On, Piracy Is the New Law
In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, suspected pirates flee the scene near the Gem of Kilakari, Friday, Aug. 8, 2008, in the Gulf of Aden, near Somalia.   (AP Phot)

In lawless, destitute Somalia, there’s only one industry booming: piracy. Its shipping lanes have become the world’s most treacherous, with attacks tripling the past 3 years. And though Somali officials decry the attacks, the industry is hardly underground. The New York and Los Angeles Times visited Somalia’s coastal villages, finding an upside-down social structure, with rich, strutting pirates atop the food chain.

In most coastal villages, pirates are the only ones with money—and they spend it lavishly, splurging on prostitutes, fancy cars, even businesses. “Women here don’t talk to you if you’re not a pirate,” said one 21-year-old. Nor do the buccaneers fear international heat after the ongoing Ukrainian freighter drama. “We will consider NATO as the enemy,” said one pirate. (Read more pirates stories.)

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