Pirates commit robbery at sea. Robbery is any act of violent seizure of property. Pirates are not an extinct race nor are they forgotten, modern day pirates are a horror to several sea faring vessels. South American coasts and the Mediterranean are still infested with pirates in spite of severe international patrolling. Modern day pirates are just as brutal as their bygone counterparts; possibly they are now more clever at manipulating the situation. They are operational in Far East and Asia as well.
South China Sea, south of Red Sea, the Indian Ocean have pirates terrorizing the commercial vessels. Pirates, by and large kill the captured crew of other ships, or they hold the crew for ransom. The big merchant ships have to slow down when they are negotiating narrow straits, it is the most susceptible time for them.
The pirates take advantage of the big ship's slow speed, and easily attack it. The pirates often disguise their ship or motorboat as a fishing vessel. This makes them escape detection. Today, pirates are less interested in cargo of the ship.
Instead they grab the personal belongings of those aboard, plus the money or any other valuables in the ship's safe. Generally, the cash is for the crew and the port fees. Sometimes of course, the pirates take the ship to the port and get her painted again, get new papers and sell the cargo for a huge amount of money. International commerce through ships is ever expanding and the pirates are taking the benefit of this phenomenon.
Straits of Malacca, Panama Canal, Suez Canal are all narrow but with heavy traffic. The ships are forced to reduce their speed to pass the narrow canal as well as for traffic control, making them vulnerable. Piracy thrives more at the times of social , political and economical crisis. For example, the warlords of Somalia have attacked the United Nations food aid ships. Let us now go back in history to find out something about the dreaded pirates of bygone era.
Sir Francis Drake, Sir Henry Morgan, Stede Bonnet are some of the famous pirates whose exploits have become legends. The Caribbean pirates were most powerful during 1640s to 1680s. Tortuga and Port Royal were the two bases of the pirates. The beaches of the Caribbean were deserted and the lonely beaches were a haven to the pirates, one of the reasons for their thriving in the region. Reasons for becoming a pirate were manifold. The social outcasts found succor in breaking the known norms of society.
The feeling of rejection by their motherland was also another reason.
Jerry Cahill - Author, is also a webmaster and publisher. Some of his work can be seen at Pirates