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Piracy At Sea Reaches Record High
National Post ^ | July 24, 2003 | Peter Goodspeed

Posted on 07/24/2003 8:42:16 AM PDT by Loyalist

Not since the 17th and 18th centuries, when cutlass-wielding outlaws terrorized the Caribbean, has piracy been so rampant on the world's oceans.

Acts of piracy soared worldwide in the first six months of this year, reaching an all-time high of 234 attacks and claiming the lives of 16 sailors, according to a report released yesterday by the London-based International Maritime Bureau.

The new figures, which amount to a 37% increase over the same period last year, represent the worst six-month period for piracy since the bureau, a specialized division of the International Chamber of Commerce, started compiling statistics in 1991.

Piracy in Southeast Asia has reached epidemic proportions. Modern buccaneers, armed with machine guns, rocket launchers, satellite phones and global positioning systems, are ravaging crowded shipping lanes and threatening nearly half the world's shipping.

The highest number of attacks was recorded off Indonesia, which accounts for more than 25% of the world total with 64 incidents. They include 43 ships boarded, four hijacked and attempted attacks on 17 other ships.

"Levels of violence have increased significantly as well," said Pottengal Mukundan, director of the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

In recent cases, a ship's officer was fatally shot in the head on a tanker off the Philippines port of General Santos. The crew of a vessel that ran aground off Nigeria was abducted and held for ransom. And pirates fired a hail of bullets at a chemical tanker off Indonesia in an attempt to force it to stop, wounding a ship's engineer in the process.

Just last Sunday night, pirates tried unsuccessfully to board a bulk carrier as it sailed through the narrow Strait of Malacca, which connects the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

An alert sailor noticed the small, unlit speedboat as it pulled alongside and set off an alarm just as a boarding party prepared to attack. The pirates fled.

As many as six ships a week are attacked worldwide as pirate syndicates, which frequently resemble international business conglomerates, have brought a terrifying new sophistication to the ancient art of buccaneering.

The IMB's piracy centre has recorded cases in which South Korean and Chinese gangs have planned pirate attacks, hired Indonesian thugs to carry them out and used Burmese dockhands and Thai businessmen to help dispose of the cargoes.

Modern pirates loot everything from cash to entire cargoes and their methods vary from region to region.

In the Arabian Sea, boarding parties are sometimes armed with rifles and anti-tank missiles, while in West Africa, pirates frequently carry knives and raid ships in dugout canoes.

In the Far East, piracy is often controlled by organized crime syndicates and, in some cases, has direct links to rogue military units and corrupt officials.

Asian pirates have perfected techniques of stealing entire cargoes and ships, then re-using the stolen vessels with false documents and names to steal more cargoes from unsuspecting shippers.

In February, an Indian court sentenced 14 Indonesian pirates to seven years' hard labour each for their part in the 1999 hijacking of a Japanese-owned ship, the Alondra Rainbow.

Brandishing knives and guns, the pirates boarded the Japan-bound freighter at night and made off with its US$20-million cargo of aluminum ingots.

The 17-man crew were put on a raft and drifted in the Andaman Sea for 10 days with little water or food. They were rescued by Thai fishermen.

The hijacking ended two weeks after it started, when the pirates and their stolen ship were captured in a shootout with an Indian navy corvette.

"India's decision [to prosecute the pirates] marked a rare move by a national court to assume jurisdiction over crimes committed in international waters and sets a precedent, which we hope will deter similar crimes," Mr. Mukundan said.

Of all the world's waters, the most dangerous are the island-studded seas off Indonesia and the Philippines. And of these, the South China Sea and the heavily travelled Strait of Malacca, crowded with up to 600 ships a day, are the most pirate-infested areas.

Few pirates have been caught in Indonesia. Those brought to trial receive minimal sentences.

The Piracy Reporting Centre says Bangladesh is the second-worst focus of pirate activity, with 23 attacks recorded since Jan. 1.

Nigeria and India had 18 pirate attacks each in the same period.

Some estimates place the cost of the attacks and other maritime fraud at more than US$23-billion a year. But the true figures are probably much higher, since many shipowners do not report incidents for fear of increasing their insurance costs or encountering expensive delays because of investigations.

The recent rash of pirate attacks in Asia may ultimately change the region's security situation.

Japan, whose entire oil supply from the Middle East passes through pirate-infested waters, has offered to assign coast guard vessels to protect shipping.

But other nations that still harbour bitter memories of Japanese occupation during the Second World War have reacted coolly to the suggestion, while still recognizing the need for action.

"It is vital that coastal states in these and other risk-prone areas deploy patrol vessels capable of dealing with these incidents," Mr. Mukundan said.

"We must ensure that these criminals do not treat these waters as a pirate's charter."

pgoodspeed@nationalpost.com

© Copyright 2003 National Post


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Japan
KEYWORDS: blackbeard; captainkidd; captainmorgan; jollyroger; piracy; southchinasea; straitsofmalacca; treasureisland
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1 posted on 07/24/2003 8:42:17 AM PDT by Loyalist
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To: Loyalist

2 posted on 07/24/2003 8:44:34 AM PDT by Zavien Doombringer (Ain't nothing worse than feeling obsolete....)
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To: Loyalist; HairOfTheDog; Wneighbor; SuziQ; JenB; ksen; RMDupree
It's Disney's fault.

First everybody had to have a dalmation, then a clown fish.

Now everybody wants to be a pirate...

3 posted on 07/24/2003 8:46:17 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands (HHD)
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To: Loyalist
I understand when sailing in US waters if you raise a Jolly Roger the Coast Guard has a right to fire
4 posted on 07/24/2003 8:47:45 AM PDT by Republicus2001
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To: Corin Stormhands; Wneighbor
Now everybody wants to be a pirate...

MMMMMMMM PIRATES HO!


5 posted on 07/24/2003 8:50:51 AM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: Republicus2001; Ramius
I understand when sailing in US waters if you raise a Jolly Roger the Coast Guard has a right to fire

HA! - Right, matey! Our boat flew a Jolly Roger always, and we were never fired upon. Course our boat was ~named~ the Jolly Roger!

6 posted on 07/24/2003 8:52:40 AM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: Zavien Doombringer
I just finished..

A radiation infested nearly dead pirate of Singapore origin is found in the Celebes Sea of the Western Pacific. The presence of radiation sets off warning bells all the way to Washington, D.C but also in Australia. Australian officials enlist Op-Center for a top-secret investigation of nuclear disposal sites. An empty drum from a recent drop-provides a clue that an international conglomerate which has been hired to dispose of the nuclear waste is actually selling it instead -- to a most unlikely terrorist...

7 posted on 07/24/2003 8:54:19 AM PDT by Tank-FL (Keep the Faith - GO VMI)
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To: HairOfTheDog; Wneighbor
Why'd you call him a Ho?
8 posted on 07/24/2003 8:54:19 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands (HHD)
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To: HairOfTheDog
Well, my militia group back in the 18th century arrested a local Torie that contributed to piracy on the outerbanks!
9 posted on 07/24/2003 8:54:47 AM PDT by Zavien Doombringer (Ain't nothing worse than feeling obsolete....)
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To: HairOfTheDog
HA! I will take my boat into dangerous waters to be chased by a pirate like THAT one!
10 posted on 07/24/2003 8:55:09 AM PDT by Wneighbor (U.S. Troops - Best in the World!)
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To: Tank-FL
I saw that book last night at Hastings. Almost picked it up. I know, you're going to tell me now that I should have huh?
11 posted on 07/24/2003 8:56:15 AM PDT by Wneighbor (U.S. Troops - Best in the World!)
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To: Corin Stormhands; Wneighbor
Pirate talk.

Here he is ravishing a seemingly compliant wench!


12 posted on 07/24/2003 8:59:01 AM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: Travis McGee
pinging.... I know you share my interest in this subject. pinging....
13 posted on 07/24/2003 9:01:39 AM PDT by Space Wrangler (Now I know what it's like washing windows when you know that there are pigeons on the roof...)
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To: HairOfTheDog
Here he is ravishing a seemingly compliant wench!

I would volunteer for that duty.

14 posted on 07/24/2003 9:03:21 AM PDT by Wneighbor (U.S. Troops - Best in the World!)
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To: Loyalist
This should be an easy problem to fix; but I think the hang-up must be along the lines of the debate to arm airline pilots. Is that correct?








15 posted on 07/24/2003 9:04:01 AM PDT by dasboot (Celebrate UNITY!)
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To: Loyalist
If the crews were armed with automatic weapons, my guess is these incidents would be reduced greatly.

But the govts of the world would never allow that.
16 posted on 07/24/2003 9:05:49 AM PDT by Skywalk
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To: Corin Stormhands
Bangladesh is the second-worst focus of pirate activity

but wait that can't be - Bangaladesh is one of the members of the Security Council -
17 posted on 07/24/2003 9:08:31 AM PDT by Republicus2001
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To: Skywalk
But the govts of the world would never allow that.

I'm not expert or anything, but I thought Maritime Law governing international waters allowed vessels of any size to have an armory. The problem lies in the national laws of a port nation.

Can anyone clarify?

18 posted on 07/24/2003 9:15:35 AM PDT by AFreeBird
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To: AFreeBird
I did a little search and found that international agreements don't prohibit arms; they discourage them, however.

The industry probably doesn't want the liability that comes with accidents, so they're experimenting with putting electric fences around the decks. It's exactly like the airlines' debate: bullet-proof cockpit doors, etc.

19 posted on 07/24/2003 9:22:35 AM PDT by dasboot (Celebrate UNITY!)
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To: Republicus2001; Poohbah; section9; Dog
If the Navy or Air Force didn't see it first...
20 posted on 07/24/2003 9:26:37 AM PDT by hchutch (The National League needs to adopt the designated hitter rule.)
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To: hchutch
Don't forget USMC Aviation! OOH-RAH!
21 posted on 07/24/2003 9:27:50 AM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.)
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To: Loyalist
Piracy At Sea Reaches Record High

For a second there I thought both Congress and the IRS had purchased houseboats.

22 posted on 07/24/2003 9:35:22 AM PDT by LTCJ
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To: Wneighbor
I am not tha big on this series , but this is the 2nd best of the Ops-Center books I have read.


23 posted on 07/24/2003 11:18:14 AM PDT by Tank-FL (Keep the Faith - GO VMI)
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To: Republicus2001
I understand when sailing in US waters if you raise a Jolly Roger the Coast Guard has a right to fire

No, lots of boats fly the skull and bones. But: if you raise the Universal Yacht Club Cocktail Pennant (a martini glass against a light blue field) they do have the right to board and get a beer.

24 posted on 07/24/2003 11:22:26 AM PDT by Ramius
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To: HairOfTheDog; Wneighbor
The world needs more compliant wenches. Those are the best kind. yohoho.
25 posted on 07/24/2003 11:25:11 AM PDT by Ramius
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To: LTCJ
ROTFLMAO
26 posted on 07/24/2003 11:45:57 AM PDT by y2k_free_radical (i)
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To: Loyalist
ONI World Wide Threat to Shipping

Yes, they do list Greenpeace on the same pages as pirates. This entry is particularly interesting:

D. Anti-piracy and crime current developments:
1. GREENPEACE MAY OR MAY NOT LOSE ITS OBSERVER STATUS AT IMO: The IMO Council voted 20 Jun to deny Greenpeace its observer status at the IMO over issues of threats to safe navigation. The IMO Secretariat later reported that the expulsion would not be effective until voted by the entire IMO General Assembly in November. Greenpeace alleges that the loss of observer status was engineered by ship scrapping nations concerned over Greenpeace protests. However, during the past two years many countries where Greenpeace formerly operated with legal impunity have cracked down in the face of increasingly aggressive acts and those which target third parties for harassing protest. It is likely the decision to expel was a result of several streams of unease with Greenpeace's current campaigns (GP, INFO, ONI).

27 posted on 07/24/2003 11:53:23 AM PDT by Styria
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To: Loyalist
ARRRR! Time to bring back the Q-ships.
28 posted on 07/24/2003 11:54:02 AM PDT by dljordan
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To: Tank-FL
I think I read the first 3 of the Ops-Center series. I enjoyed them but they weren't quite Clancy-caliber. That one just jumped out at me at Hastings last night. Knowing I had to sit in a doctor's waiting room today - I almost bought it. Didn't because I have plenty of reading material - but then you mentioned it and my interest was perked!
29 posted on 07/24/2003 11:55:59 AM PDT by Wneighbor (U.S. Troops - Best in the World!)
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To: dasboot
Right, and exactly how will the electric fence stop an RPG? Or for that matter a 20MM? If you could board the ship and get below to the engineering spaces you've got the ship.
30 posted on 07/24/2003 11:57:42 AM PDT by dljordan
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To: Ramius; HairOfTheDog
Hate to ask this Ramius - but how're ya supposed to know if the wenches are willing when you don't try to go find out?
31 posted on 07/24/2003 11:58:41 AM PDT by Wneighbor (U.S. Troops - Best in the World!)
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To: Loyalist


Aaaargh, matey!
32 posted on 07/24/2003 12:02:02 PM PDT by Xenalyte (I may not agree with your bumper sticker, but I'll defend to the death your right to stick it)
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To: Ramius
BWAHAHahahha !

:)

pirates are kickass! ARGH!

*ahem*
33 posted on 07/24/2003 12:03:08 PM PDT by bc2
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To: Corin Stormhands
Now everybody wants to be a pirate..

Classic, Stormhands!

34 posted on 07/24/2003 12:03:58 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: Zavien Doombringer
The Piracy Reporting Centre

Interested in a career of travel, adventure, pillage? Join the PRC!

35 posted on 07/24/2003 12:08:07 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner
Where do I sign?....Sing a song of sixpence...
36 posted on 07/24/2003 12:12:59 PM PDT by Zavien Doombringer (Ain't nothing worse than feeling obsolete....)
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To: Loyalist
While the article just talks about piracy against merchant shipping, there's a lot of piracy against pleasure craft as well, and it's definitely on the upswing in the Caribbean. If you plan to go sailing down there, I recommend a deck mounted .50 cal.
37 posted on 07/24/2003 12:13:37 PM PDT by squidly
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To: squidly
If you plan to go sailing down there, I recommend a deck mounted .50 cal.

That's no joke either. I've been told to run in fleets - never alone, always anchor in a circle, and always stay armed (the bad guys don't want a firefight, there are easier targets).

Stay safe!

38 posted on 07/24/2003 12:17:05 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: Loyalist
In February, an Indian court sentenced 14 Indonesian pirates to seven years' hard labour each for their part in the 1999 hijacking of a Japanese-owned ship, the Alondra Rainbow.

...

Few pirates have been caught in Indonesia. Those brought to trial receive minimal sentences.

They're coddling these menaces. Hang 'em instead.

39 posted on 07/24/2003 12:17:38 PM PDT by kevkrom (If you can't say something nice, well, then you're probably talking about a Clinton)
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To: Space Wrangler
Most pirates enjoy the protection or at least the winking knowledge of their govts. Often pirates are govt patrol craft moonlighting.
40 posted on 07/24/2003 12:18:12 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: Wneighbor
I'm reading it right now. Not bad so far...but not great either.
41 posted on 07/24/2003 12:18:27 PM PDT by NittanyLion
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To: NittanyLion
Thanks. I guess I'll probably wait and get it at Half Price later then.
42 posted on 07/24/2003 12:25:53 PM PDT by Wneighbor (U.S. Troops - Best in the World!)
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To: Loyalist
Nothing a couple of Ma Dueces wouldn't solve right quick. Maybe more on larger ships. Even a (few).50 BMG rifle(s) would have a good effect, and would be easier to procure and maintain.
43 posted on 07/24/2003 12:32:03 PM PDT by El Gato
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To: Travis McGee
It seems the Pacific Rim/South Pacific is contributing more to the problem than anything. Have you heard of any serious incidents in the Carribean recently?
44 posted on 07/24/2003 12:41:51 PM PDT by Space Wrangler (Now I know what it's like washing windows when you know that there are pigeons on the roof...)
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To: Zavien Doombringer
Did you ever see a chicken catch a Torie??
45 posted on 07/24/2003 12:42:08 PM PDT by tracer (/b>)
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To: tracer
Haha, you get credit for your wit! When we go a plunderin' ye shall get 30% of the booty!
46 posted on 07/24/2003 12:47:16 PM PDT by Zavien Doombringer (Ain't nothing worse than feeling obsolete....)
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To: Loyalist
A bill has been introduced which mandates the registration of all shoulder-mounted parrots (SMPs).

The problem with this is the fact that, when parrots are outlawed, only pirates will have parrots.

Perhaps it would help to require the registration of the various crackers most often requested by said birds.

"Polly want a cracker!!"

"Not without a permit".....

47 posted on 07/24/2003 12:48:15 PM PDT by tracer (/b>)
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To: Space Wrangler
Colombia seems to be a little safer, and Venezuela a little riskier for yachties lately. That's what I read.
48 posted on 07/24/2003 12:51:11 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: Zavien Doombringer
For that matter, did you ever see a parrot catch a Torie? HarHarHar....
49 posted on 07/24/2003 12:53:17 PM PDT by tracer (/b>)
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To: Ramius
I heard that if the martina flag is flown upside down it means the bar is temporarily closed
50 posted on 07/24/2003 1:01:44 PM PDT by Republicus2001
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