Among the Somali Pirates: Codes of Conduct, Life on Land

Pirate Attacks Grow More Violent

But there's no end in sight to the poverty and, as the ransom amounts increase and the stakes rise, Arhimaki said the piracy ranks have grown from a few hundred to thousands. Many young men, lost without a chance for an education, are searching for an opportunity.

"I think the people who join the pirates come from everywhere," Arhimaki said. "That could be your golden lottery ticket. I met this guy named Mohammed who wanted to join the pirates and basically you could tell he was a young, smart intellectual kid with no money who wanted an education but the only way you get an education or the money for it is through piracy. If you have nothing to lose, you go for it."

Such an influx of young, testosterone-filled and rather inexperienced pirates, Arhimaki said, might explain why the pirate attacks of late have become more brazen, and more violent. The three pirates shot to death by Navy snipers last week while holding Capt. Richard Phillips were said to be teenagers themselves.

"I think it's more or less there are more teenagers and, as we know, teenagers don't, maybe, think through all they are doing," Arhimaki said.

The pirates themselves admit their actions are not justified, but they also have no regrets.

"We don't see piracy as justified but, like I said, we want to raise awareness of our struggle," Isman said.

Pirate Motivations: Famine, Tragedy

"But if the conditions don't improve, I will have to continue as a pirate," he said.

"I'm defending myself from troublemakers and that's why I don't regret anything," Mohammad said. "God willing, we will stop when we get a government that really works on the peace."

Although documentarian Hakalax admited that it's impossible to uncover what fully motivates the pirates, he began to understand what drives them a little better.

"There seems to be certain bitterness about where they are with their country, the famine and tragedy of Somalia," he said.

Whether through military might or a worldwide effort to supply much-needed food, education and infrastructure to Somalia, one thing is clear: While Somalia smolders and descends deeper into poverty and violence on land, and unarmed ships worth millions pass by its shores, the pirates of Somalia will continue to roam the sea, ready for their next hijacking, prepared to die.

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