Think you know a lot about Somali pirates? Familiar with the ins and outs of the shifting pirate finance markets? Then send a résumé and cover letter on over to the European Union's anti-piracy task force. They're in the market for an expert on pirate culture.
EU Navfor, the European Union's naval coalition off the shores of Somalia, announced Thursday that they'd like to hire a "pirate cultural adviser" to help them get inside the heads of the Indian Ocean's most annoying seafarers. Given how violent the maritime hijack business is these days, that's probably a good thing.
They want someone who can give their Operational Commander information on "pirate trends and weaknesses, including their perceived role in Somalia." Sure, they'd like to know more about pirates' cultural and religious practices. But Navfor is also interested in the nitty gritty of how the business operates financially and tactically. A successful adviser needs to be steeped in the latest trends in the pirate business model and be aware of their tactical "modus operandi" at sea.
Who should apply? The position is open to ex-military types, people from the private security world with experience in ransom negotiation or those in the hijack insurance business. Just make sure you don't have any firsthand experience with piracy. Successful candidates need an EU Secret clearance and any recent participation in ship hijackings could prejudice your eligibility.
Judging by the limited advice Navfor has given about pirate life before, they could use the help. Back in November, the EU task force put together a pamphlet designed to help captive sailors deal with life alongside their captors. Their thoughts? Don't piss off the men with guns or kick up a drug habit while you're waiting to get ransomed.
Knowing what makes pirates tick could help naval coalitions save lives in the negotiation process. That's particularly important now as the maritime kidnap and ransom industry has gotten more dangerous. Successful hijackings have dipped from 27 in the first half of last year to 21 in during the first six months of this year. Those that do succeed, however, have yielded more bloodshed lately. Pirates killed seven and injured 39 in the first two quarters of this year, up from one killing and 16 injuries during the same period in 2010.
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