The Strange Demands of Pirates

If you’re planning on paying ransom to Somali pirates — assuming your daughter is able to reach them by phone, that is — you better bring the right kind of bills.

100 dollar bills.jpg

Kenyan sailor Athman Said Mangore, who was held captive for more than 120 days by Somali pirates, says they are known to make many demands and put in place a number of restrictions.

“They sometimes say they want $208,000 exactly in $100 bills only,” he says.

“I don’t know why they make those demands. They usually also don’t like dollar bills that were printed in 2000 or the years before. If it was printed in 1999, they say: ‘This is not fit to be used in our shop’,” he adds.

Because they tend to treat their captives relatively well, and because there is still no real clean way to rescue hostages without forking over the money, pirates unfortunately still have the leverage to make these kind of demands. And perhaps even more unfortunately, emboldened by their recent spate of success, they’re demanding a lot more than $208,000 these days.

Though at these their demands aren’t this outlandish, I suppose.

(image from flickr user Jeffrey Putman under a Creative Commons license)