One of Somalia’s most notorious pirates, who terrorised vast areas of the Indian Ocean, generating multi-million dollar ransoms from the ships he seized, has announced his retirement.
Mohamed Abdi Hassan, aka ‘Big Mouth’, says he is quitting after spending eight years as a pirate leader.
He says he no longer wants to be involved in gang activity.
“After being in piracy for eight years, I have decided to renounce and quit, and from today on I will not be involved in this gang activity,” the pirate said.
After almost a decade in which he and his men ruled the high seas, Big Mouth did not give a reason for his change of heart.
But at a ceremony in the central Somali region of Adado he declared he intended to persuade other pirates to abandon their life of sea banditry.
“I have also been encouraging many of my colleagues to renounce piracy too, and they have done it,” he said.
Last year, the United Nations described Big Mouth as “one of the most notorious and influential leaders” in Somalia’s pirate-hub region.
He and his men were reportedly responsible for seizing, amongst others, a Saudi super tanker released for a ransom of several million dollars.
They were also part of the 2008 capture of the MV Faina, a Ukrainian transport ship carrying 33 refurbished Soviet-era battle tanks, which was released after a 134-day hijack for a reported $3 million.
Pirate attacks off Somalia have plummeted to a three-year low thanks to beefed up naval patrols and teams of armed security guards aboard ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
Big Mouth is also reported to have carried out a string of attacks against ships carrying World Food Program aid to his war-torn and impoverished nation.