The people of Somalia have had to face many problems throughout their history. Since the government was overthrown by waring clans in 1991 Somalians have been living in a war torn country. There is still no central government, and violence and death are an everyday reality that they are forced to face. Thousands of Somalians are suffering through famine, brought on by drought, which has caused crops to fail and has left town water holes empty. More than 30,000 Somalians have been killed as a result of the current civil war, and another 300,000 have died due to reoccurring famines that ravage the country. These people are receiving little or no aid from the clan leaders. As a result, many Somalians have had to take extreme measures in order to survive.
Some Somalians have decided to take up piracy as a means of surviving and prospering despite the civil unrest in their country. Somalian pirates are primarily Somalians who have fought or are fighting for one of the many warring factions that exist in Somalia. The motive of Somalian pirates began as survival but since then has changed to entrepreneurship. Somalian pirates began their efforts by setting up road blocks and demanding a tax from anyone who wished to pass. In the last few years they have realized the opportunities that are available to them on the seas. They started their undertaking by working with local fisherman. As time progressed and they began to make a large profit from the boats that they extorted, Somalian pirates purchased their own boats and a wide array of weapons. This year alone the Somalian pirates have captured over 90 ships ranging from ships carrying resources such as crude oil, to cruise ships, to ships transporting food. In 2009 the pirates were responsible for 406 attacks. The pirates usually hold the ships, the cargo and the crew hostage until they are offered an acceptable ransom. If a pirate is working for a warlord, then the ransom that they receive and the profit that they make from piracy is distributed between the warlord’s friends and family, as well as to other clan members. Somalian pirates are currently holding a British couple hostage and are threatening death if a ransom is not paid. The pirates are believed to have accomplished their most successful operation to date on January 18, 2009 when a ransom of between 5.5 and 7 million dollars was delivered to the pirates in order to secure the release of a Greek tank carrying millions of barrels of crude oil. The tank was headed from Saudi Arabia to the United States when it was attacked. The pirates are continuing to expand their operations and are moving further away from the coast of Somalia in order to avoid opposition from war ships. The United Nations has authorized military raids on pirates and they continue to try to come up with ways to eliminate piracy. They have enlisted the aid of the navies of varying countries to help fight pirates.