"In 2009, there were 217 pirate attacks, resulting in 47 captured ships and 867 captured crewmembers. The ransom business amounts to around $100 million a year. On shore, a stock exchange operates where investors can put up the money for future operations. Backers abroad help designate what ships to attack, assess the value of the cargo, and supply the pirates’ destination and course. The pirates also have access to sophisticated equipment. To check the genuineness of the air-dropped ransom money, they have counting machines of the same type used by Western banks."