This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

The Pirates' Toll: High Stakes on the High Seas

[This is the final part of a four-part series on the rise of hijack-and-ransom piracy in the shipping lanes off the coast of Somalia, and the costs it poses to the merchant shipping industry -- and global trade as a whole.]

>>The Pirates' Toll: Part 1
>>The Pirates' Toll: Part 2
>>The Pirates' Toll: Part 3



THE HOSTAGES
When James Christodoulou received the phone call ("area code: Somalia") while driving on the New Jersey Turnpike -- the one in which the caller accused of him of working for the mob and dumping toxic waste into Somali waters -- he was speaking for the first time to Abbas, a new negotiator. Hussein, the one he had spent the last few weeks attempting to disarm, had evidently been fired.

Christodoulou wouldn't learn the reason why until much later, until he had a chance to speak to the Biscaglia's crew after the ship's release. Hussein's bosses -- the clan "elders," or whomever headed this particular band -- felt that Hussein had become too soft in his negotiating style, that perhaps he had shown too much sympathy toward this group of Indian captives. Hussein, evidently, had come down with a case of Stockholm Syndrome.

Pirate Interactive Map

The 28 members of the Biscaglia's crew spent the 56 days of the crisis inside the wheelhouse, an enclosure, roughly 50 feet by 20 feet, interrupted throughout by radars, desks, the helm. They slept on the available floor space, guarded by dozens of young khat-gnawing Somalis with AK-47s. They ate not from the ship's stores -- the pirates had removed much of the food on board, the better to wield control over their captives. Instead, the pirates brought live goats to the ship every few days and slaughtered the animals there.

Most of the crew, like seafarers the world over, came from poor families in poor countries. Almost all merchant ships fly flags of convenience -- that is, the "home"-port boutique registries purchased by ship owners no matter where their company might have its headquarters -- whether Athens, Oslo or Stamford, Conn. This has given rise to a lot of vessels on the water with the names of island nations and obscure microstates painted onto their sterns: St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Marshall Islands. Malta. Kirabati. In addition to tax avoidance, the flag of convenience allows a ship owner certain labor-cost advantages: that is, the ability to hire able-bodied seamen from anywhere in the world. It's the maritime version of offshoring.

1 of 7

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,919.59 +80.85 0.48%
S&P 500 1,981.60 +9.86 0.50%
NASDAQ 4,527.5140 +19.2020 0.43%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs