Children raised on Peter Pan and The Pirates of the Caribbean (or The Pirates of Penzance) are alarmed to learn that piracy persists, and that it's not fanciful.
The Journal of Commerce 2009 special report on piracy noted that most pirate attacks took place off the shores of Somalia, and that most of them affected bulk carriers in international waters. "...patrolling navies are reluctant to arrest (pirates) because of the legal complications. On the rare occasions when pirates are taken, they are usually given medicine, water and enough fuel to go back to Somalia. Within days they will set off again to seek their prey," reported The Economist in January.
Meanwhile, the lives of the crews on the ships attacked, and their long-term stability, are at stake. "Merchant mariners' lives and liberties are being threatened by pirates from Somalia and other parts of the world, wrote Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights. "While much needed work has been devoted to preventing and suppressing acts of piracy as well as bringing pirates to justice, more attention must be given to caring for piracy's mariner victims."
Privateers of old commandeered Man o' Wars (Men o' War?) and hoisted the Jolly Roger. Today's pirates ply unassuming dhows or fishing boats. The modest skiffs they use to attack are well-armed with high-technology weaponry. Like phishing spam, their boats look small and Friendly but the pirates are ready to attack.Not all of the crew members are as fortunate as the gallant Captain Richard Phillips after pirates stormed his ship, the Maersk Alabama, in April, 2009. They held him prisoner in a lifeboat until US Navy snipers shot the pirates.
Not all of the crew members are as fortunate as the gallant Captain Richard Phillips after pirates stormed his ship, the Maersk Alabama, in April, 2009. They held him prisoner in a lifeboat until US Navy snipers shot the pirates.
Nor are all pirates crafty. It sounded like a joke, but on April 1, pirates off the Seychelles fired on the USS Nicholas, a US Navy warship. Not surprisingly, the crew of the Nicholas captured the pirates and sank their skiff.
We don't like pirates, but that doesn't stop us for looking around for very old walnut trees. Mayhap Blackbeard's treasure be beneath one of them...