Fairplay Shipping News said in a news release Thursday its investigation into Somali piracy found ties to legitimate Somali businessmen and law enforcement officials.
"Thanks to increased funds and successful attacks, pirates have wider access to information and can hire a broader range of informants to help them complete their hijackings," Fairplay Middle East Correspondent Jim Wilson said.
"The International Maritime Bureau links slicker operations and their gaining bigger boats to the spike in attacks in recent months. The improved operations have been funded by the Somali businessmen who, together with some law enforcement, hide behind the pirates."
Fairplay alleged many of the individuals who help finance piracy off the coast of Somalia also have investments in the United Arab Emirates.
Piracy on the side is a way of funding the Somali businessmen's own legitimate businesses because the returns are so high," Tholo Kaime, Africa at Exclusive Analysis head, told Fairplay.