Somali Piracy Negotiations: Resolving the Paradoxes of Extortionate Transactions

  • William A. Donohue
  • Franziska Pugh
  • Sharmaake Sabrie


This article examines the negotiation process within piracy hijackings that occur around Somalia. Access was provided to two Somali pirates who were interviewed about their roles: a financier and a navigator. This article views these hostage negotiations as extortionate transactions, which requires negotiators to confront five paradoxes in the course of forging an outcome. The interviews with the two pirates reveal how the pirates and the ship owners who do the negotiations manage these paradoxes in the settling on a ransom. The interviews reveal how the hijackings are organized and financed, how the negotiations are organized logistically, how the ransoms are paid, and what happens when negotiations reach sticking points. The article concludes with a discussion of how the negotiations are shaped by the paradoxes as each side crafts its position.

Keywords: negotiation, crisis negotiations

How to Cite:

Donohue, W. & Pugh, F. & Sabrie, S., (2014) “Somali Piracy Negotiations: Resolving the Paradoxes of Extortionate Transactions”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 7(3), 173-187. doi:

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Published on
21 Jul 2014
Peer Reviewed