The coalition government has been told by industry chiefs – who have been in secret talks with the military – that Somali mother ships carrying gangs of pirates must be sunk even if it means hostages are killed with them.
The shocking news was revealed in a BBC Radio 4 report by Tom Mangold, broadcast this week, in which the veteran reporter revealed that 40 per cent of the world’s oil comes through the pirate zone in the Gulf of Aden and if subjected to a strangle-hold by the ‘sea gangsters’ as he dubbed them, we would see oil prices rise even further.
There are now 2,000 Somali pirates ‘hi-jacking the world’s economy’ and, Mangold revealed, they are funded, in part, by a ‘pirate stock exchange‘ in which investors ashore pile in cash to various gangs and then get a dividend if the gangs are successful in obtaining a ransom.
The biggest payout
The biggest payout so far was 11 million US dollars for a 300,000 tonne super tanker , the Irene, which, for a time was used by a gang of pirates with a ‘slave labour’ crew.
Mangold also repeated the story that the thugs had threatened to release a family of Danish yachtsmen if their 13-year-old daughter was allowed to marry a pirate chief.
He also followed up our story on the suspicion that much of the ransom money is going to terrorists associated with al Qaeda. If so then US courts will be able to prosecute corporations which pay ransoms as they are breaking criminal law for funding terrorism.
The piracy is now spiralling out of control and has cost the world’s economy £7 billion so far, Mangold said.
More sailors kidnapped
Another of the stories broken here – that little is being done to free the 800 sailors held in Somalia because most of them are from Third World countries and not the west, was also followed up by Mangold.