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The good news is that something is finally going to be done about the pirates who infest the Somali coast and raid far out into the Indian Ocean. A group of London-based insurance companies led by the Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT) is planning to create a private navy to protect commercial shipping passing through the Red Sea and the northwestern Indian Ocean.

It’s about time. Even now, after the monsoon season has kept the pirates relatively quiet for months, sixteen ships and 354 sailors are being held captive in the pirate ports along the Somali coast. The average ransom paid to free those ships and their crews has risen to around $4 million, and it’s also taking longer: an average of almost four months between the hijacking of a ship and its release.

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