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Modern Piracy

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Essay title: Modern Piracy

Table of Contents

Facts……………Page 1

Opinion…………Pages 2-3

Bibliography……Page 4


§ The encyclopedia defines piracy as follows: Violence, plundering and deprivation of liberty on the high seas done from one boat against another.

§ According to the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) the high seas start behind the line 30 nautical miles off shore. Based on this definition there would be only few acts of piracy, because more than 99 % of all yachts are attacked in coastal waters.

§ The dictionary defines a pirate as one who robs, pillages, or plunders at sea, or sometimes the shore, without a commission from a recognized sovereign nation.

§ From 1996 to 2003, more pirate attacks have been recorded than ever before (in the hayday of piracy, approximately 1700-1810, attacks were not accuratly recorded).

§ Modern pirates generally choose to roam in small motorboats and prey on small-crewed cargo ships.

§ Modern pirates most commonly attack cargo ships when they slow their speed to navigate narrow straits.

§ The main goal of these attacks is not the ship’s cargo but the crew’s valuable belongings, the contents of the ship’s safe- mainly the ship’s payroll, which is often a significant sum even with small crews.

§ The hotbeds of modern piracy are south and southeast Asia (especially Indonesia), parts of South America, and the waters of the Indian Ocean and the southern part of the Red Sea.


In the last seven years of the 20th century, and the first three years of the 21st century, recorded piracy reached an all-time high. In a world filled with technologically advanced security and navigation systems, weapons, and vessels, it seems that this would be the most unlikely time of prosper for one of the world’s oldest professions. But despite the odds, the buccaneer has once again found his way into the nightmares of the captains of cargo vessels roaming the high seas.

So it seems that technology would be the friend of the non-pirate and the enemy of the rogue, it turns out to be the opposite. Since the development of automated navigation systems, crews on cargo ships have been heavily downsized. This is highly beneficial to the shipping companies, leaving their payrolls at much lower rates. The smaller crews however, leave the cargo vessels severely vulnerable to pirates. Small crews of pirates generally use small motorboats to board cargo vessels when the vessels slow their speed to manually navigate narrow straits near bodies of land. After they board the ship and seize control, the pirates have a number of options. Sometimes they will choose to simply loot the ship’s crew of their personal valuables and the ship’s safe of the payroll that it always contains. Despite

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