Somali pirates are demanding a $25 million ransom for a seized Saudi Super Tanker.
Here is an article that discusses difficulties the Yemenis have encountered with Piracy.
Matt Yglesias discusses the problems with policing piracy on the open seas, namely, the ocean is very, very big and ships aren't so big thus making policing cost prohibitive for many nations. He also talks about how we screwed ourselves by encouraging the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia which has increased the lawlessness of Somalia. A nation without order typically does wonders for breeding terrorism and piracy. Who would have thought?
Here's a Boston Globe article on Peter Leeson (a GMU economist) who is obsessed with Piracy and its organizational structure (hint: democracy and workers comp). Here is an academic article by Leeson fleshing out his take on Piracy and it's organizational structer. Here's the intro:
"This article investigates the internal governance institutions of violent
criminal enterprise by examining the law, economics, and organization
of pirates. To effectively organize their banditry, pirates required
mechanisms to prevent internal predation, minimize crew conflict,
and maximize piratical profit. Pirates devised two institutions for this
purpose. First, I analyze the system of piratical checks and balances
crews used to constrain captain predation. Second, I examine how
pirates used democratic constitutions to minimize conflict and create
piratical law and order. Pirate governance created sufficient order and
cooperation to make pirates one of the most sophisticated and successful
criminal organizations in history."