Why are so many people lured into piracy along the African coast?

Many commercial vessels that travel the African coastline, particularly in hot spots near Nigeria and Somalia, continue to struggle with the real threat of modern-day piracy. Despite efforts from multiple organizations, governments, enforcement officials, and others to control these criminal networks and individuals, piracy remains a growing problem in several areas around the world.

Although the risk of being caught and prosecuted has increased in many areas along the Gulf of Aden and West Africa, pirates have not been completely deterred, and many young recruits still turn to piracy as a career path. They may be motivated by a number of complex factors, but it mainly boils down to: 

  • Financial motivation. Successful pirates can bring in thousands or even millions of dollars every year, compared to the meager salaries available outside of the criminal world.
  • Political motivation. Some pirates or the criminal organizations they work for have political motivations for encouraging pirate activity.
  • Social motivation and status. Beyond money and politics, piracy also has a strong lure because of the social status it bestows. Pirates are often seen as glamorous, and money goes a long way in many of Africa’s struggling economies. Many young pirates see criminal activity as the fast route to fame and fortune. 

No matter why pirates are motivated to attack commercial vessels, the vulnerable crews who work in these dangerous areas are the ones who suffer. If you have survived a pirate attack and have questions about what happens next, reach out to our team today, or browse our other Frequently Asked Questions for more answers.

Brian Beckcom
Highest Possible 10/10 AVVO ranking. Husband. Father. Fisherman.