Somali Pirate talks about how to negotiate ransom, when to kill captives.

WIRED contributing editor Scott Carney interviewed a Somali pirate for his story in Wired about
pirate economics, and is running an excerpt of that interview.

What was your job before you start this one or what forced you to become a pirate?

Every government in the world is off our coasts. What is left for us? Nine years ago everyone in this town was stable and earn[ed] enough income from fishing. Now there is nothing. We have no way to make a living. We had to defend ourselves. We became watchmen of our coasts and took up our duty to protect the country. Don't call us pirates. We are protectors.

How do you pirates decide on what ransom to ask for? What makes them negotiate downwards?

Once you have a ship, it's a win-win situation. We attack many ships everyday, but only a few are ever profitable. No one will come to the rescue of a third-world ship with an Indian or African crew, so we release them immediately. But if the ship is from Western country or with valuable cargo like oil, weapons or then its like winning a lottery jackpot. We begin asking a high price and then go down until we agree on a price.

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