Press P for Pirates, my daughter called them, says BBC journalist
A Pirate journalist report
One of the biggest frustrations facing journalists is being unable to get through to people on the phone. But as Mary Harper discovered, contacting the Somali pirates on the Sirius Star turned out to be child's play
Giggling with pirates
"Hello. Please can I talk to the pirates," said my daughter in her obviously childish voice.
I could hear someone replying and a bizarre conversation ensued which eventually ended
when my daughter collapsed in giggles.
This was a breakthrough. Dialogue had been established.
The next day, I went to the crowded office in Bush House in London where the BBC Somali Service is based. I told them the story.
"Let's try now," said producer Said Musa, who, dare I say it, looks a bit like a pirate himself. He has a wild look about him with flashing eyes and a swashbuckling saunter.
He dialled the number. A pirate answered. "I'm sorry," he barked in Somali, "the boss pirate is sleeping. He was very busy last night keeping watch for possible attackers, night time, you know, is the busiest time for us. Call back in two hours."
A pirate, who called himself Daybad, spoke in Somali, calmly and confidently. He said Somalis were left with no choice but to take to the high seas.