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Piracy - All details to know

Piracy off the coast of Somali has become a big threat in the past years. In their biggest coup pirates captured the Sinus Star, a Saudi Arabian oil tanker, near the Horn of Africa and freed it two months later.Somali pirates have very modern equipment including satellite phones and GPS. They also have lots of weapons, like grenades, rockets or AK-47 rifles. Pirates get the information of approaching ships from contacts at harbours nearby. Then they go for their targets with speedboats, sometimes from the coast and sometimes from larger mother ships nearby.They board ships by launching ropes with hooks and iron at one end. After bringing the ship under their control they take them to a harbour in Somalia and bring the hostages to a safe place. Nothing happens to them there because Somalia is in the middle of a civil war and there is no powerful government.Warships from countries around the world are now patrolling the region but the area in which the pirates operate is too big. About 25% of the Indian Ocean is at risk and pirates move quickly and often at night.It is very difficult to capture and arrest them because the crimes happen in international waters and nobody is really responsible. Some political experts say that they should be put before an international court led by the United Nations. The UN, however, doesn’t have the money for such a court but it has allowed countries to chase pirates before they seek refuge in Somali waters.The pirates hold the ship and its crew as hostages and demand money for their release. Some of them do it because they have no jobs in Somalia and hunger is widespread. In the past year Somali pirates have received about $ 150 million in ransom money. They use some of the money to buy faster boats, more weapons and to strengthen their organization.The hijackings cost the shipping industry a lot of money. Ships may have to travel other, less dangerous routes and invest more money in security and