They want to know all about the “‘business model and modus operandi’ of pirates in the Indian Ocean.” The books above will not tell them that, but they will tell them all about the pirates’ motives and goals. Political correctness and fear, however, will make them prefer to remain ignorant about the enemy in that regard.
It must rank as one of the most unusual recruitment adverts ever placed, even by the standards of the European Union: the search is on for a “pirate cultural adviser” to help naval commanders understand the foes they face along the coast of Africa.
The right candidate – who must have knowledge of the “business model and modus operandi” of pirates in the Indian Ocean – will be asked to teach officers of the EU navies protecting shipping in one of the world’s busiest waterways how best to tackle the growing threat.
Some 400 sailors are currently held captive, with pirate gangs earning tens of millions of dollars a year in ransoms. The job is expected to include advising naval commanders on pirates’ religious practices and their habit of chewing qhat, an amphetamine-filled plant which renders users hyperactive.
But swashbuckling Long John Silver types with a knowledge of pirate lore may be disappointed: the post is expected to be filled by an ex-military figure with expertise in shipping, insurance and ransom negotiations. And rather than scouring the taverns of Bristol or Penzance for likely talent, the commanders have contented themselves with placing the advertisement on the website for EU Navfor, the European antipiracy task force based at the Nato HQ in Northwood, London.
“The job title may sound ambiguous, but what we are really looking for here is someone who can help us know the enemy better,” said Commander Harry Harrison, a spokesman for EU Navfor. “The intention is to seek advice on the Somali pirates’ methodology and tactics, which are constantly evolving.”