Kidnap for ransom payments made to pirates in Somalia are difficult to track due to the payments being made in cash, according to the BBC. An estimated $80 million in ransom payments are believed to have been laundered by organized crime syndicates in the Gulf region, but this has been denied by Gulf authorities.
The BBC also has a breakdown by the United Nations on how the ransom payments are distributed.
Although there is no universal set of rules, a UN report based on information gathered from pirates based in the north-eastern village of Eyl, reveals some interesting information about how the ransom spoils are divided:
• Maritime militia, pirates involved in actual hijacking – 30%
• Ground militia (armed groups who control the territory where the pirates are based) – 10%
• Local community (elders and local officials) – 10%
• Financier – 20%
• Sponsor – 30%
The UN report found the payments are shared virtually equally between the maritime militia, although the first pirate to board the ship gets a double share or a vehicle.
And compensation is paid to the family of any pirate killed during the operation.