Somali Pirates Out of Space for Captured Ships

They're starting to accept lower ransoms because they've got too many
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2011 10:10 AM CST
A small Kenyan navy boat escorts the South Korean fishing vessel Keummi 305 as it sails through the Likoni channel Tuesday Feb. 15, 2011, after being held for four months by Somali pirates.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Good news/bad news time, shipping industry. The good news: Somali pirates are starting to accept lower ransoms for ships! Bad news: It’s because they’ve captured so many they’re running out of places to put the dang things. The ports at Haradheere, Eyl, and Hobyo are jam-packed with ill-gotten vessels, security experts tell Der Spiegel, and the scoundrels are making deals a lot faster as a result.

Pirates both attacked more vessels last year—445 worldwide—and held them longer, with the average ship languishing 150 days, up from just 55 in 2009. Those trends made it a lucrative year for the scallywags, who saw their average ransom jump from $3.4 million to $5.4 million. But it also clogged up their ports, which appear to have reached their upper limit at last.

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