We (and by we I include me) live in a culture that like to think pirates are fun, glamorus, and swashbuckling. We even have a day to talk like a pirate.
But did you know that pirates are still real and relevant today? They have been causing all kinds of trouble in many parts of the world this year alone:
It’s worst off the coast of Somalia. Just scan the news about Somalian Pirates. In short, what they do is approach an unarmed cargo ship in speedboats aremed with granade launchers and AK-47s, board the ship and hold it for multi-million dollar ransoms. They almost always get paid. It’s become Somalia’s largest income base.
These aren’t your Jolly Roger flying pirates. Although they are mostly in it for themselves, there is some orginiazation to their methods and payouts. Much of the ransom money goes to support warlords in Somalia. Now they use GPS to spot and chase down a victim.
The UN is taking measures to stop them, but if you don’t want to wait for government officials to take care of it, you can hire a group of ex-Royal Marines from Anti Piracy Maritime Security Solutions (APMSS) out of the UK to protect your ship (listen to interview with APMSS CEO Nick Davis).
Yes, the pirate lore can be fun, and the 21st Centry pirates aren’t like the ‘loveable’ ones we know. But there are real pirates today, and they are a real problem.
UPDATE: After posting this I found a Google Map that plots all of the pirate attacks for the year from Digital Inspiration.