In 2008 Carl ‘Rocky’ Mason boarded the Biscaglia, an oil tanker passing through the Gulf of Aden en route to the Med. An easy gig – a few grand in the bank and a sun tan… until the ship was hijacked by gun-toting, drug-crazed Somali pirates armed with AK47s and RPGs. Despite being unarmed, Rocky and his team fought the pirates to save the crew and ship. They ended up battling for their lives in one of the most extraordinarily hijackings in maritime history.
Each year 23,000 ships carrying over 50% of the world’s cargo sail along the 2,000-mile coastline of Somalia, aka Pirate Alley, the most dangerous strip of ocean in the world. Using skiffs and ladders, armed pirates have taken everything from billionaires’ super yachts (ransom paid: $2m) to ships carrying Russian tanks (ransom paid: $3.2m).
In 2008 Somali pirates raised $30 million in ransoms after hijacking ships and goods worth $4billion, increasing insurance premiums tenfold and forcing up prices of our everyday goods.
As well as Rocky’s battles with pirates, Pirate Hunter goes deep into he murky world of the piracy ‘business’ and hostage negotiation. It also reveals the sophisticated piracy network, which involves informers and moneymen based in London and schools of piracy in Somalia – and reveals how and why piracy is spreading far beyond Somalia’s borders.
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