For the last three months I’ve been working on a story for WIRED that will explore the economic linkages that keep piracy in Somalia a profitable business. Last week I began interviewing pirates and pirate contacts and came across a small trove of videos that pirates took on board the hijacked Yasa Neslihan. According to my sources, this video was taken by the hijackers to prove that the ship was in good condition before final delivery of ransom. To my knowledge, this is the first such video that has been released to the public, though the practice of recording while on board is commonplace.

What is most interesting to me in this is that the pirates seem to have cordial relations with the captured Japanese crew. You can see them mingling with the pirates while on the bridge. It’s also striking that it only took a handfull of lightly armed men to capture several hundred million dollars of equipment and cargo.

Above is the edited version that aired on WIRED News on April 10, 2009. To see the unedited footage follow this link: Somali Pirates Homemade Hijacking Video.