Pirates Hauling $400 Million Since ’05 Earn .01 Percent Of Ransom

Pirates Hauling $400 Million Since ’05 Earn .01 Percent Of Ransom

Pirates off the Horn of Africa may have hauled in $400 million since 2005 but they actually pocketed as little as 0.01 percent of ransoms. The financiers keep as much as three-quarters of the loot, according to a new report.

The 129-page joint report by the World Bank, Interpol and the United Nations’s crime unit shows the crime has evolved from locally funded operations to transnational networks, costing the global economy about $18 billion in increased trade expenses, reports Bloomberg.

Pirates using rocket-propelled grenades, AK-47s and tracking devices collected about $400 million from 179 ships hijacked from April 2005 to December 2012, found the report.

“The vast amounts of money collected by pirates, and the fact that they have faced virtually no constraint in moving and using their assets, have allowed them not only to thrive, but also to develop their capacities on land,” Tofik Murshudlu, chief of the implementation support section in the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch of the UN’s Office of Drugs and Crime, said in a statement.

When a ransom is received, the low-level pirates who hijacked the ship, or “foot soldiers,” receive $30,000 to $75,000, which equals 0.01 percent to 0.025 percent of the average payment. According to the report, the first pirate on board can earn as much as much as an additional $10,000.

But financiers get 30 percent to 75 percent of the total, says the report. “The proceeds are often reinvested within Somalia, including in legitimate business activities for money-laundering purposes, it said,” reports Bloomberg.