Dating customs in somalia
The more successful ones have become folk heroes to some in their communities, enjoying gangsta-rapper style celebrity.
The less successful – like the Maersk Alabama’s attackers, three of whom were shot dead by US Navy Seals – are simply forgotten.
Instead, what has curbed the pirates’ activities in recent years is the decision of shipping companies to routinely supply armed guards for crews travelling through pirate waters.
There were only four attacks in the first six months of this year, compared to 44 in the corresponding period last year, although to this day, nearly 100 sailors are still being kept hostage from past hijackings, some of them having spent more than three years as captives.
With both his parents murdered during the civil war, he had once managed to smuggle himself to Europe, only to be sent back to Somalia after reaching Greece.
With the money he hoped to earn from his pirate activities, he was intending to try it again. It is possible that he is in prison now, or dead, as are many pirates who have tangled with foreign navies – and each other – in the ransom bonanza of the last five years.
Aid workers and diplomats once again feel safe to go there, and today locals gather on the city’s vast white beaches for swimming and football.
One told me that he earned just a day if he was lucky enough to land a decent catch.As the recent attack in Nairobi showed, the same hopelessness that drives many of Somalia’s young men to take up the skull and crossbones may also drive them to the standard of militant Islam.There still aren’t many options between being a fisherman and kidnapping people.Three years ago, I sat in a maximum-security courtroom in the port city of Rotterdam as five pirates arrested by the Dutch navy went on trial for trying to attack a freighter ship.The Dutch authorities had taken them back to Europe charged with the 17th-century offence of “sea robbery”, hoping to make an international example of them.
The lack of prospects for the average Somali were apparent the moment we arrived in Bossaso, where an ageing Antonov airliner deposits visitors on to a rough landing strip overlooked by barren mountains.