Wired – The dread Somali pirate Mohamed Abdi Hassan — also known as “Afweyne,” or “Big Mouth” — is retiring from the hijacking life. “After being in piracy for eight years,” Big Mouth told a press conference (!) in Somalia on Thursday, “I have decided to renounce and quit, and from today on I will not be involved in this gang activity.”
Hassan played a huge role in the late-2000s resurgence of piracy in the northern Indian Ocean. He and his crew pulled off two of the most audacious hijackings on the high seas in recent history. In 2008, he captured a Saudi-owned supertanker, the Sirius Star, loaded with $100 million worth of oil and about the size of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. Hassan got $3 million for the Sirius Star — he had initially demanded $25 million — and the notoriety of hijacking the biggest vessel in history. But Big Mouth arguably one-upped himself later that year. His team bum-rushed a Ukrainian ship the MV Faina, packed with weapons: anti-aircraft guns, rocket-propelled grenades and at least 30 T-72 tanks.
Piracy isn’t what it used to be, however. Gone are the days when dead Somali pirates washed ashore carrying $153,000 in cash. According to the International Maritime Board, from January to September 2012, Somali pirates attacked vessels 70 times, down from 199 such assaults during that period in 2011. From July to September 2012, only one ship near Somali waters came under attack, a major drop from the 36 attacks that time the previous year. Stepped-up international naval patrols — including dramatic Navy SEAL rescues — help explain why even piracy isn’t recession-proof.
This is kind of sad right? Well I mean maybe not for the captains and crews of like every ship in the Indian Ocean, or the Coast Guard, or Navy SEALs, or supertanker owners. But personally I always get a little teary eyed watching the great ones walk away from the game they love. Dedicated their lives, their blood, their sweat, their tears for so long and now they just don’t have the will to carry on. Got to respect the ability to know when it’s time to move on whether it be Barry Sanders or Michael Jordan or Ray Lewis or Big Mouth the Pirate. Admirable. Nobody wants to be the Brett Favre of their profession, just hanging on wayy too long, overstaying your welcome as the game passes you by. Big Mouth just looking to get up and get out while he’s still young enough to pursue other ventures. Can’t hate on that. Doesn’t hurt that the piracy game is so down either. Seriously how depressing is the world right now? Economies tanking, businesses shuttering, unemployment all over the globe, to the point where pirates don’t even have anything to pirate anymore. I blame Obama.