The foreign connections also facilitate the acquisition of sophisticated equipment and other infrastructure to enable the pirates carry out their attacks, Col Victor Gamor, the military advisor at the United Nations Political Office of Somali (UNOPS) told a maritime security and safety workshop in Mombasa.
"The sophistication of the operation, for example the selected targeting of ships carrying lucrative cargo gives credence to the allegation that intelligence is passed on to the pirates from external sources," Gamor said. Pirates, he said, now use GPS systems and satellite phones.It is believed that they are plugged into international networks that feed information from the ports in the Gulf, Europe, Asia and back to Somali.
The pirates have graduated from being simple fishermen with small boats and ordinary weapons into high-tech operators armed with modern weapons travelling in expensive speedboats, said Gamor. As the crime has become more and more lucrative, it has attracted a widening network of players who are stationed in foreign countries, Gamor said.Last year alone, more than 40 ships were captured along the Somali coastline. With ransoms ranging from $500,000 to $2m, the pirates made a big fortune. Some of the money went to fast cars, new houses and lavish wedding parties, according to Gamor, but a significant portion also went into the acquisition of sophisticated equipment.One reason why pirates can now operate hundreds of kilometres out to sea is that they can afford faster, more robust boats and satellite tracking systems..more..http://allafrica.com/stories/200909060011.html
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