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November 17, 2008 1:02 PM   Subscribe

Piracy may be on the rise, but it's never really gone away.

Each pin in the first link contains an incident report.
posted by gman (52 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
First person to comment in faux-pirate talk gets my boot up his or her ass.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:08 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


If only there was an organization as powerful and ruthless as the RIAA going after these guys.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:09 PM on November 17, 2008


Arrr, ye kin avast me piratical tendencies, but ye'll ne'er avast me love for kinky boot sex. Grease the yardarm and prepare the bosun's chair, ye bilge rat!
posted by stavrogin at 1:20 PM on November 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


That Live Piracy map is something else.

Also, today's CBC: Somali pirates seize supertanker off Kenyan coast

A frickin supertanker.

I was once on a cutter in Malaysian waters that was -- unbeknownst to us -- reported lost to pirates. Turns out it was another boat not far off, and we were dismayed but relieved by the greetings we received on landing. I don't like to think about how things could have gone. Pirates be nasty.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:23 PM on November 17, 2008


Two things.

1) I blame Wes Anderson, who made slow motion piracy cool again with The Life Aquatic.

2) It seems to me that if the Royal Navy and the US Coast Guard and other seaworthy naval enforcement operations know when and where the pirate attacks occur, then they could send out decoy ships which are boarded by pirates and then, at some point, all of the good guys jump out of closets and cupboards and things, wearing white sailor outfits and looking like L. Ron Hubbard, shouting, "A-ha, we have caught you now, evil-doers!" Basically, correct me if I'm wrong, but it doesn't seem like it would be that hard to apprehend the pirates, it's just that most piracy occurs in areas where people don't care very much about pirate attacks.
posted by billysumday at 1:24 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


First person to comment in faux-pirate talk gets my boot up his or her ass.

W4r3Z!
posted by Artw at 1:26 PM on November 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


Thank the Spaghetti Monster that this will stop global warming! His noodly appendages be praised!
posted by dibblda at 1:27 PM on November 17, 2008


They'll listen to Reason.
posted by Artw at 1:28 PM on November 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


How can this be a post about trends in piracy without a single global warming graph?

A graph that will need some correcting soon, I notice.
posted by rokusan at 1:28 PM on November 17, 2008


See!

The sea ice is growing!
posted by dibblda at 1:31 PM on November 17, 2008


Give me 30 million dollars or I'll rearrange the bits on my computer into an oil tanker.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:32 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


My nephew works on a ship. They get weekly updates about piracy attacks. It's still the high seas out there in some locations. Many ships have response plans - but, most cannot fend off any real assault. There are about 150 attacks on average every year. Most don't make the news.
posted by mightshould at 1:32 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oiling and buffing my boot.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:36 PM on November 17, 2008


I'm writing a pirate movie RIGHT NOW.
posted by unSane at 1:37 PM on November 17, 2008


note to self-
Cover hull of luxury yacht with axle grease.
Get 2nd hand bazooka.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:52 PM on November 17, 2008


First person to comment in faux-pirate talk gets my boot up his or her ass.

Shouldn't that be 'booty' up his or her, errr, 'booty?'
posted by jonmc at 1:57 PM on November 17, 2008


Wow, these pirates really have a death wish. First they mess with the Russians by their weapons, and now they're screwing with the entire world by messing with oil traffic. I see a lot of asploding in their very brief future.
posted by mullingitover at 2:05 PM on November 17, 2008


should read "*by hijacking their weapons*"
posted by mullingitover at 2:06 PM on November 17, 2008


Mocking the boot is a bootable offence, Jon.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:12 PM on November 17, 2008


*reboots*
posted by jonmc at 2:16 PM on November 17, 2008


Given that hundreds of billions of dollars of shipments are on the seas at all times isn't 264 pirate attacks remarkably low?

There were probably 264 burglaries in the DC area alone today. Admittedly, few people are jacking a super tanker from near Dupont, but still.
posted by sien at 2:18 PM on November 17, 2008


We're talking about $100 millions in typical cargo value for shipping... That goes a long, long way.
And the tanker will be reflagged by the pirates and go back into service. That's even bigger pay-off for the pirates.
posted by mightshould at 2:36 PM on November 17, 2008


The first time I heard that piracy is still happening was in that great movie by Lawrence and Lorne Blair, Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey. It's quite incredible to think of piracy still happening in this day of helicopters and fancy espionage. How does this ancient type of theft still go on?

These days many of the Somali pirates use larger "motherships" to release fast attack skiffs carrying pirates armed with automatic weapons and grenade launchers, allowing them to attack targets further from the shore. The pirates have become increasingly ambitious, seizing ever larger ships. In September, pirates hijacked a Ukrainian freighter, MV Faina, carrying military hardware including grenade launchers and 33 Soviet-made T72 tanks.

whoa.
posted by nickyskye at 2:37 PM on November 17, 2008


carrying military hardware including grenade launchers and 33 Soviet-made T72 tanks

You'd think they could have sprung for a few guards armed with RPG's to fend off the "fast attack skiffs". I'm thinking after the 2nd or 3rd skiff to get 'sploded they rest would have 2nd thoughts and head back to the "mothership".
posted by Nauip at 2:55 PM on November 17, 2008


The first time I heard that piracy is still happening

well, what exactly do you think 'hijacking' is if it's done on water?
posted by jonmc at 3:08 PM on November 17, 2008


There were probably 264 burglaries in the DC area alone today. Admittedly, few people are jacking a super tanker from near Dupont, but still.

Nobody is dumb enough to leave their supertanker parked in Dupont, dude.
posted by rokusan at 3:22 PM on November 17, 2008


well, what exactly do you think 'hijacking' is if it's done on water?

The future.

posted by gman at 3:27 PM on November 17, 2008


My brother-in-law works in an anti piracy capacity for the Navy. I was talking about it with him a couple of years ago and I was like "Cool, you get to fight pirates"

He just looked at me and didn't say anything, and I thought about it for a couple of seconds; with visions of fast attack boats with mounted .50 BMG weapons being fielded against you, I reconsidered "Actually, that would kind of suck. I bet no one says 'Yarr' at all."

"Nope" he replied, "No parrots either."

Ever since then, I've acknowledged that pirates are no longer awesome.



Robots on the other hand? That shit is going to be hot.
posted by quin at 3:33 PM on November 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Maybe they saw the preview for the Fast and the Furious and decided "Hey that's a great idea! Let's try it!"
posted by fiercekitten at 3:56 PM on November 17, 2008



I can see the headline now.

"Blackwater Signs First Piracy Protection Contract"
posted by notreally at 4:30 PM on November 17, 2008


Ok, you're the captain of a super tanker and see pirates approaching, what are your options? Fight? With what? Not very legal to carry military weapons. If you do resist and the hull is breached, who will be paying tens or hundreds of millions to clean the ecological disaster? Some minor warlord that will be gone before he could even be identified? Nope, resistance in this day and age is a loosing battle. Clean up Somalia? That'd be the trick a trick. Zeppelins for shipping? That is almost a viable option.
posted by sammyo at 4:43 PM on November 17, 2008


"Anarchy at Sea" (non-Atlantic link of article text, may or may not actually be fair use) by William Langewiesche is an outstanding article from 2003 covering modern piracy - it's an excellent read.
posted by god hates math at 4:51 PM on November 17, 2008


Zeppelins for shipping? That is almost a viable option.

MUST INITIATE IMMEDIATELY.

(if only to then have pirate zeppelins)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:04 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


sammyo, Durn Bronzefist, I think Nathan Zachary would like to have a word with the two of you.
posted by CheshireCat at 5:16 PM on November 17, 2008


Zeppelins for shipping? That is almost a viable option.

Sadly, a helium shortage.

Hydrogen anyone??
posted by dibblda at 5:17 PM on November 17, 2008


So long for the false equivalence copyright infringment = piracy. There you go, compare swapping mp3s with seizing a frigging 350K tons supertanker at gunpoint, look at me ROFLing.
posted by elpapacito at 5:45 PM on November 17, 2008


Not very legal to carry military weapons.

Who needs military weapons when you can defend yourself with water cannons!
posted by ymgve at 5:45 PM on November 17, 2008


"Blackwater Signs First Piracy Protection Contract"

You forgot the slash between those two words.
posted by rokusan at 6:47 PM on November 17, 2008


My brother-in-law works in an anti piracy capacity for the Navy.

Weird, I expected this to be a Coast Guard thing. The Navy? Really? Wow.
posted by rokusan at 6:48 PM on November 17, 2008


*pictures Omar behind wheel of 350k ton supertanker* It's all in the game, yo.

I've been watching way too much of The Wire.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:22 PM on November 17, 2008



In Dangerous Waters, John S. Burnett gives a somewhat personal view. His first awareness of modern piracy came when he was himself attacked by pirates while solo sailing a 32-foot sloop across the South China Sea in 1992. A former UPI reporter, he decided to do some investigative reporting -- sailing on various commercial vessels, interviewing maritime security experts, captains and crews, and some of the pirates who prey.

A lot of these vessels, in places like the Malacca Strait, the Gulf of Guinea, and off the horn of Africa are sitting ducks for pirates. Their best defences are lights and firehoses. According to Burnett, in someplaces the crews simply sweep the sea around the ship with firehoses all night long to discourage boarders. That is, when the crew isn't in league with the pirates themselves.

Another tactic the officers use is to make sure there's something worth stealing -- a few hundred bucks cash and some bottles of whiskey, say -- that the pirates can easily lay their hands on and then go away. Some pirates are the naval arm of organized crime groups, some are funding terrorists and other politically motivated operations -- but some are just desperate seaside peasants with access to fishing boats and families to feed.

On the other hand, ships and crews have been known to disappear -- only to have a suspiciously similar ship appear months later with a new name, new registration -- and a new crew.

Pirates of the Carribean movies and September 19 are fun and all, but murder and mayhem on the high seas (actually more often closer to shore) are for real right now, and not just off the Somali coast.
posted by Herodios at 7:25 PM on November 17, 2008


Marketplace recently had a segment on pirates that included interviewing one.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:09 AM on November 18, 2008


Thanks god hates math excellent article "We're doing nothing but creating this pile of regulations.....what the United States has done - just 'ineffective.' Because you can get all the paperwork you want, no problem. And it will not help."
posted by adamvasco at 4:17 AM on November 18, 2008


Apparently, the hostages usually hate Somali food and their captors want to keep them happy.

An industry has grown up around the pirates, with restaurants to feed the kidnapped crews who as potentially tradable assets must be looked after.
posted by gman at 4:22 AM on November 18, 2008


So on this years 'Talk like a pirate day', everybody should be talking in Somali or Cantonese, or you're not *really* talking like a pirate at all.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:28 AM on November 18, 2008


On the heels of the Saudi tanker hijacking, piracy in Southeast Asian waters is down.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:38 AM on November 18, 2008


I'm torn. Like every kid, I thought pirates were cool. Then I learned that they were real, dangerous, and not very cool at all. Then they go and steal a Saudi supertanker...

Pirates, I wish I could quit you.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:11 AM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Besides the guarded corridor that's set up now in the Red Sea which an enormous majority of vessels are now taking advantage of, there's also a booming market for military-trained snipers for the defense of these types of small-crew ships. There's good money in picking off pirates these days.
posted by empyrean at 11:04 AM on November 18, 2008


Weird, I expected this to be a Coast Guard thing. The Navy? Really? Wow.

They used to send in the Marines. Shores of Tripoli and all that.
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on November 18, 2008


Weird, I expected this to be a Coast Guard thing. The Navy? Really? Wow.

They used to send in the Marines. Shores of Tripoli and all that.


Not to nitpick but...
posted by Pollomacho at 11:45 AM on November 18, 2008


I think our points might be sailing past each other...?
posted by Artw at 12:05 PM on November 18, 2008


Consult this piracy FAQ and you'll see most ships are going to the suez canal but the tanker was heading south to round the tip of Africa. All the tanker had to do was sail further offshore... but even small diversions cost shipping companies alot of money. This one was avoidable.

This blog by ship Captains "gCaptain.com" is a good source of accurate info.
posted by unofficialsquaw.com at 3:02 PM on November 23, 2008


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