Somali Pirates Trial Reveals their Poor Living Conditions

Two of ten Somali pirates- Hussein Carab M and Abdi Yussuf K- arrested by the Royal Dutch Navy special- forces were up on trial at a court in Hamburg. Both testimonies revealed the hardships claimed to be endured by each in their homeland. The testimonies also threw light on the living conditions in Somalia that make becoming a pirate a lucrative profession in the area.

Of the two pirates, Hussein Carab whose trial was most recent, narrated a tale of misfortune that had led him into piracy and consequently the Dutch forces. An orphan at the age of six, Carab has lost his parent in Somalia during the civil war. Carab’s only son- was the reason he has entered the trade of being a pirate. He alleged that his son was kidnapped by a debtor to whom he owed $1,100 and in order to repay this money, he decided to join the pirates and use the cut of ransom he got from it. Following the arrest, Carab is said to have been depressed about the fate of his son at the hands of the debor and unable to narrate much sense. “I am deeply sad and don’t know how to go on”, said Carab breaking down.

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The second accused- Abdi Yussuf K was represented by his lawyer, Jan- Herik Heinz who read out his client’s statement. Claiming to be 20 years old, the Somali was found to be 30 to 40 years old on analysis of his teeth, collar bones and hand bones by three doctors. “We don’t record age where I come from, and it is also not important. I said I thought I was 20 years old. But after my examination, I no longer think I am 20 and I believe what the experts say.” said Yussuf’s lawyer in response to what was revealed by the medics. Alleging to have two wives and five daughters, Yussuf also claimed to be a struggling fisherman who had joined the pirates in order to make ends meet. It was the common knowledge of a pirate earning anywhere between $3000 and $5000 that encouraged him to enter into the same.


The picture that Yussuf narrated to the court through his lawyer was one that described the modus operandi of the pirates. On board the pirate ship were both Somalis as well as non- Somalis whom he claimed to be Indian crew members who were previously kidnapped. The kidnapped directed the pirates to busy and important shipping areas with hopes of being set free. When it came to work, each crew member was assigned a particular job. Carab’s was to scoop water out of the boats with a bucket.

Careful not to give away any pirates details, he claimed to have been unaware of the entire incident of the rocket- propelled grenade that was hosted on the shoulder of one of the pirates or hearing the sound of it being shot. During the incident, Carab claimed to have been scooping water out of one of two boats which had spread across to the Taipan that then attached itself to the ship. His crew and he climbed on and were in search of the ship’s crew when the Dutch navy helicopter appeared. Consequently, Yussuf claimed to have surrendered immediately and lay on the deck.

Hussein Carab and nine others were arrested after a failed raid on the German container ship- Taipan nine months ago. This is Germany’s first piracy trial in 400 years with all ten pirates facing charges of attempts to seize the German container ship Taipan in April off the coast of Somalia.

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