Going On The Account: What Business Be It of Yours, Now?

There were two posts recently about the Security Council report on Somali pirates, where their business model was discussed.  The posts at the Atlantic and the UN Dispatch both were written with the (I wish was less common) tone of surprise that those not on station show when looking at the workings of the gangs that ply the Indian Ocean.

The articles pull from the main report (all 110 pages of which can be read online) summarize the business model simply:

  • Pull together your investor pool
  • Venture out for prey
  • Split the shares, with additional allotments going to valued crew members who provide additional service above and beyond the call

And this is news how?  Compare the business plan the UN report detailed with Bartholomew Roberts’ Articles or George Lowther’s Articles and one sees a proud tradition being carried forward.  In fact, these two documents were of great assistance in helping me get into the mindset to come up with Abigail Sanders’ Articles earlier in the novel.

Many crews on the account signed articles to insure that the business of going to sea would run smoothly.  With a ship full of cutthroats, brigands and ne’er-do-wells on station for months on end, something was needed to insure if not shalom bayit then at least an operating environment that guaranteed people who came to work would see something for their efforts.

And if we go further and look at examples of corporate bylaws (like this PDF online) one sees how the Brethren of the Coast can claim lineage of not only the gangs in Puntland, but on Wall Street as well…

Two things we can draw from this:

One, there are lots of folks writing about pirates these days with very little sense of history or understanding as to how closely connected the rovers of both the Golden and Modern Age of Piracy are.

Two, I have to spend a little time after posting this considering what kind or articles Hope is going to have to sail under now.

Either way, I now have an excuse to start muttering to myself again…

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