Saturday, November 19, 2005


When the subject of pirates comes up most people instantly think of swashbuckling mariners, doubloons, parrots, and walking the plank. What rarely comes to mind is modern day piracy, alive and well on today's high seas. Among the most active areas for pirates today are the seas off Southeast Asia. The pirates will chase shipping vessels with small, swift craft, board undetected, seize control of the ship through violent means (often killing the small crew and throwing their bodies overboard), then proceed to a cooperative port or rendezvous with an assisting vessel to offload any valuable cargo. Then this ill gotten booty eventually is sold off for pure profit on both legitimate and illegitimate markets. Roughly 70% of the earth is covered with water, most of that having no practical law other than the agenda of the one with the most firepower (I personally abhor guns, but if I ever sailed a vessel into international waters I would definitely carry one). We almost never see these incidents reported in the mainstream media.

So it was interesting to see this incident so widely reported when it occurred a few weeks ago in the Atlantic off the coast of Somalia. What made it news I suppose was the fact that a passenger ship was the target and that they successfully escaped the attackers, as well as the use of this sonic weapon.

Another version

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