"[One of the reasons negotiating a ransom takes so long is that there are] large number of people involved who expect to get a cut from any hijacking, ranging from pirate commanders to leaders of the embattled U.S.-backed transitional government of Somalia as well as its nemesis, the Islamist Shabab militia. Lowest in the pecking order, it seems, are the gunmen who actually captured the ships. (See pictures of Somalia's brazen pirates
"There is a share payment not only for the Shabab, but also others, including some big bosses of the government, both federal and regional, so that we can operate without harassment," said Gel-Qonaf, who said he had helped organize the capture of the Faina. "Before the ship is released, all these parties have to agree about the money.""
Pirates interviewed by TIME claimed that while the Shabab had declared that all taxable means of earning money in Somalia violate Islamic law by propping up a government they have declared un-Islamic, piracy had been exempted because it isn't taxed. A pirate named Abdenasser told TIME he had once done good business recruiting young men from his home town of Bossaso for the industry, with one of his best pitch lines being that it didn't violate Islamic law. But these days, he said, the Islamists have taken such a big piece of the pie that the pirates and their recruiters no longer see much of the money.
"I am really sorry that this made a lot money for these organizations," Abdenasser said. "The pirates and us get such little money from it now."