Pirates of the Third Millennium

Crewmembers do not have any weapons, a captain might have a gun sometimes

There are certain technologies to repulse pirate attacks with high voltage current. The current flows through the outward contour of a ship, but such innovations are rather expensive, and the majority of ship-owners do not venture to use them on their vessels. Sometimes, crews try to fight pirates with hydraulic jets, but the risk is too big: pirates often open fire in return.

In the 1960s and the 1970s, a lot of pirate attacks were registered in coastal towns and settlements in the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. At times, pirates would kill or seize hostages local police officers and even military groups deployed in a town.

According to the information from the International Maritime Bureau, pirates cause damage in the sum of $16-18 billion a year. The number of pirate attacks is growing on a regular basis. In 1998-2000, there were 1,228 attacks registered - pirates attacked moving ships in 25 percent of cases. A few years ago, pirates preferred small and slow boats, but now they dare to assault high-speed vessels of large capacities. Twenty-five vessels like that have been seized in recent five years.

Eight pirate attacks were registered within one week in July of the current year (July 22nd - 28th). All of them took place not far from Bangladesh, Brazil, Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela coastlines. In the first half year of 2003, the number of pirate attacks was a lot higher (234) in comparison with the same period of 2002. Sixteen people were killed, 20 were missing, 116 were wounded and 193 people were taken hostages. Most often, pirates attack dry cargo ships and tankers. They usually rob captains, crewmembers and passengers, although sometimes they also take cargoes and even ships. Seized ships are then given new names, they can be reregistered and resold.

Pirates are actively involved in smuggling drugs, weapons, slaves, they have close links with criminal groups too. It is not ruled out that pirates of the future will have submarines too - such attempts have been registered before. Colombian drug dealers attempted to build a submarine at the end of the 1990s - special services accidentally found a barn, where the submarine was being built. In the beginning of the 1990s, American special services ruined the deal to sell small Soviet submarines to Latin American criminal groups.

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Author`s name Olga Savka