Mohamed Abdi Hassan, also known as Afweyne, has announced his retirement from piracy. He is the best known of the pirate leaders, running a well-organised business that took vessels such as the Siruis Star and the Faina. He says publicly that he is pulling out of piracy and persuading other leaders to do the same.
This is good news for shipping, because it shows how hardening ships has pushed up the price of doing business for the pirates. But it is not goodbye. Somalia is still full of hungry young men with weapons and it has no effective coastal protection force or rule of law over much of the country. This may be goodbye to Afweyne, but it is only Au Revoir to piracy. The pirates had a bad year in 2012, but as soon as shipping relaxes they’ll be back. While there are no alternatives ashore for making money, and no structures to stop them, piracy is still a very attractive way to make a lot of money.