The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says pirates made as much as $170 million in ransom money from hijacking vessels and their crews in 2011.
The figure represents an increase since 2010, when ransoms which were paid amounted to over $110 million, according to the UNODC.
Briefing the UN Security Council February 22, 2012 on the situation in Somalia, UNODC’s Executive Director Yury Fedotov said the money made from piracy has being reinvested into “criminal activities that are not limited to piracy” but also “drugs, weapons and alcohol smuggling, as well as human trafficking.”
“Based on our data, in 2011, pirates received about $170 million in ransoms for hijacked vessels and crews. The figure has risen since the previous year 2010 when ransoms paid amounted to over $110 million. The average payment made to pirates last year was about $5 million although as much as 10 million was paid for the release of a tanker.” Mr Yury Fedotov told the Council, according to an audio obtained by ghanabusinessnews.com from the UN’s multimedia website.
Ransom money is increasingly flowing into the legal financial system, while the laundering of the proceeds of piracy is causing consumer prices to rise steeply in the Horn of Africa and the surrounding area, the agency said.
Listen to attached audio [audio:http://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/c-piracy-fedotov-22feb.mp3|titles=c-piracy-fedotov-22feb]
By Ekow Quandzie