The educated hostage
Author:
• Tuesday, February 21st, 2012


Coping with Capture 
prepares the sailor for encounters with professional hostage-takers through self-education. The team behind the book has been acutely aware, that it will, no doubt, be read by pirates. Its guidelines promote deescalating behavior that aims to eliminate misunderstandings, conflict and unintentional provocation. This is beneficial for the pirates as well as for the hostages.


A hostage taking is considered a misfortune by some, but a professional business by others. We need to prepare our sailors for that misfortune and for the professional piracy business, they risk encountering while at work.

Professional pirates are subject to professional rules. They exist in a hierarchal structure, subjected to internal discipline and social norms. They adhere to certain standard operational procedures; during attack, citadel-breaching and when guarding the hostages. Their interaction with each other and their hostages follow a certain pattern as does the negotiations for a ransom settlement.

Sailors need to be educated
We need to educate the sailors to even out the scales between professional hostage-takers and the sailors who have become their victims.

The hostages need to be professionalized. This hostage handbook contains knowledge of the Somali pirates: Their current strategies, their hierarchy and cultural norms, and their ways of approaching the hostages. It also aims to help the sailor cope with two types of stress relating to piracy; acute and accumulated stress.

Hostages report that the humiliation and the feeling of helplessness and feeling completely under the control of others, are among the most distressing issues of being a hostage. It may even lead to severe psychological trauma, such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Coping with Capture provides the potential hostage with guidelines on how to interact with the pirates. Thereby giving him the opportunity to influence his surroundings and thereby obtain a measure of control of his own situation. It also guides the hostage on how to strengthen the unity of the group and assist others using psychological first aid.

These measures can help counter the feelings of passivity and the role as a victim.

This book will be read by pirates
These guidelines are based on professional hostage survival training and a thorough knowledge of the pirates’ social norms, provided by certified hostage survival instructors, a crisis psychologist, and a Somali interpreter, who has specialized in counter piracy.

When you educate the hostages, you also educate the pirates. The hostage handbook will, no doubt, be read by pirates. The team behind the book has been acutely aware of this fact when its content was selected. The guidelines in the book promote deescalating behavior. They aim to eliminate misunderstandings, conflict and unintentional provocation.

This is beneficial for the pirates as well as the hostages.

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