It has been awhile since we checked in with our old friends the Somali pirates. A big part of the reason was simply that 2012 was not a good year for piracy, with successful pirate raids dropping off sharply. This turn in fortune seems to be the motivation for one of Somalia's most infamous pirates to call it quits. The New York Times is reporting that Mohamed Abdi Hassan, better known by his nom de guerre “Big Mouth”, announced his retirement last week in a press conference broadcast on YouTube.
Big Mouth seems to have been further enticed by the issuance of a passport by the new Somali government that allowed him to travel abroad to visit his family, according to the Times. In his farewell press conference, Big Mouth claimed to have also influenced a number of his pirate brethren to give up their pirating ways as well. But while piracy seems to be on the decline off the coast of Somalia, there is concern that the pirates could come back if international navies scale back their patrols, thinking that the pirate problem has passed; at the same time, the pirate problem may be shifting to the coast of West Africa, where pirate attacks are on the rise.