Monday, July 16, 2007

Piracy: not a laughing matter.

Piracy continues to be a major problem on the seas of the world. Three of the historical piracy hotspots are still dangerous waters, which attract increased maritime insurance premiums: West Africa around the Niger delta; the Horn of Africa; and the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea. See the International Chamber of Commerce Map of Pirate Attacks for more details. The Caribbean[1] and Mediterranean[2] are mostly free of piracy due to their closeness to major Naval powers.

To be clear: Piracy is organised crime. It is violent, sordid and deeply unpleasant. The Romans declared pirates to be the Enemies of all Mankind, and later laws on piracy recognised this principle, for good and sufficent reasons. So if you see a pirate, don't shout "Ahrrr!", or "Ahoy!" or "Look - pirates!". Instead, call the police, or the coastguard, or the US Navy. Piracy is not a laughing matter.

[1] Due to the efforts of the British, Spanish and later American fleets throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries

[2] Embarrassingly the Barbary Pirates were first confronted by American ships; indeed the threat from organised piracy in North Africa lead to the founding of the regular US Navy.
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