WASHINGTON (CN) – Somalia has been added to the list of nations against whose citizens the U.S. Department of the Treasury maintains economic sanctions and travel restrictions for individuals suspected of having connections to terrorism and piracy.
The African country’s pirates netted between $50 million and $150 million in 2008, a former Navy SEAL told CNN. Somali warlords, their former fighters, and businessmen are said to have begun funding pirating when they saw how lucrative it is, since the ransom is usually paid. The same year, pirate ships began to target large cargo ships and tankers on international voyages, instead of smaller, local vessels, and the attacks became more sophisticated and more frequent.
In the absence of a coast guard during years of civil war, it is said that foreign ships have freely taken the Somalis’ fish and illegally dumped waste, destroying the health of the fisheries, and the livelihood of its fishermen. Some of the fishermen have resorted to piracy.
The Treasury’s list includes biographic information, economic assets, real property and any vessels or aircraft owned by those on the list.
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