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Taiwanese Longliners Hire Sri Lankan Mercenaries

Taiwanese tuna long liners operating in the Indian Ocean are hiring Sri Lankan mercenaries to defend them against attacks from Somalian pirates, our sister publication China Times Weekly reports.

The magazine said Taiwanese captains are paying NT$180,000 (USD 6,000) a month on average for each “sea security” officer. They say it is worth the money as they have made least NT$17 billion (USD 566 million) from selling the tuna caught in the area after they began to hire the mercenaries approximately a year ago.

Taiwan Tuna Fishing Boat Association chairman Hsieh Wen-jung said that there are approximately 150 boats operating out of Taiwan that focus on catching tuna. A single boat can make a profit of NT$100 million (USD 3 million) a year but most fishermen are wary of fishing in the Indian Ocean due to the threat of Somali pirates.

Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency says no Taiwanese fishing boat was attacked by pirates over the past 10 months.

“Our government has always told us not to work in dangerous areas but nobody would help us find other jobs or alternatives. We can only depend on ourselves and do what we are good at,” Hsieh said.