Many go into pirating because it's about the only way to get a leg up in Somalia. Years of war have destroyed any economic opportunity of anyone. According to Sarah Smiles of Australia's The Age the pirates get to enjoy a lavish lifestyle.
The pirates enjoy a lavish lifestyle unknown to many in a country racked by poverty.
A New York Times article in October described the high-rolling swagger of pirates in Garoowe, a town south of Boosaaso on the Somalian coast.
Flush with cash, the pirates drive the biggest cars, run many of the town's businesses — like hotels — and throw the best parties, residents say.
Fatuma Abdul Kadir said she went to a pirate wedding in July that lasted two days, with nonstop dancing and goat meat, and a band flown in from neighbouring Djibouti.
The pirates — who were often fishermen before they became criminals — have become more ambitious in their attacks in recent years, travelling longer distances to attack ships.
High-profile attacks include the hijacking of the Saudi supertanker MV Sirius Star and its cargo of oil worth more than $100 million in November, and a Ukrainian freighter carrying more than 30 Soviet-era battle tanks and heavy weaponry that was seized in September.