What Leverage do the Somali Pirates Have?

According to this article in the N.Y. Times, the pirates who commandeered the Ukrainian ship MV Fain are close to reaching a deal in which they would be paid $8 million to surrender possession of the ship. What leverage do the pirates have to receive such a deal?

I presume similar ransoms are be paid by the ship owner’s insurance company, but in those cases, the ship wasn’t surrounded by the U.S. Navy.

Perhaps the pirates are threatening to kill crew members if their demands aren’t met, but in similar situations, I recall the U.S. government refusing to negotiate over such terms.

Lastly, I assume that the pirates aren’t suicidal and won’t blow the ship up and ride it to the bottom of the ocean.

So what’s left?

1)It is a Ukrainian flagged vessel, so the US gummint don’t have crap to say about it.
2)–who says they won’t blow it up? Depends on how scared/desperate they are.

How easy is it to “scuttle” a ship of that size?

I see them cutting a deal with the pirates… tracking them down later and killing them… slowly. You can run but you can’t hide…

It has a cargo hold fulla anti-tank weapons.

You guess.

The leverage is simply money. They probably figure that the cost of the ship + cargo is > 8 million. So it is cheaper to the owners to pay the ransom. If they get the money, they go back home and the local Gov’t (there is a LOCAL Gov’t) will be very considerate of their new status as millionaires. If they don’t get the money, they get arrested and shipped off to some relatively nice European country where prison is probably far nicer than roaming the Somilia countryside. OTOH, once that Russian Naval ship gets there, that part of the equation may change. I don’t think even Somilians would look forward to being arrested by the Russian military.

As for the US, we are a bit player in this. All the US Navy is doing is keeping the ship isolated until the Russians and Ukrainians show up. It isn’t worth risking US military lives to do anything except watch.

Actually, we do have a say in it. We can kill them all for kicks if we like. And as pirates, I hope they will die a hideous, horrible death as a lesson to all their kind. ( :smiley: but also :mad: )

However, we are refraining because the Ukrainians would probably like their ship, and there’s no sense in blowing it up. They are very likely to be hung if captured, since I think that punishment is still valid.