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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

High Tech Pirates - Bigger Prey?

Interesting take on the modern sea-going pirate here.
What distinguishes piracy past and present is that the contemporary skull-and-crossbone operators can, and increasingly do, exploit modern technology and weapons to attack ships in a way that serves as a signpost for terrorists.

Pirates in Southeast Asia have become bolder and started targeting bigger ships. This is worrying Japan and China, two of the major users of the Malacca and Singapore Straits where the latest attacks occurred. It is also putting extra pressure on Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to agree on measures to make the straits safer.
As we have seen, there are now talks underway regarding the Malacca Strait between the littoral nations. However,
Piracy is a menace to shipping and safe navigation. Even when pirates board just to steal, they sometimes leave the crew tied up or locked in cabins while they make their escape. The vessel will continue on its way with the bridge unattended until one or more crew members can break free. There is a serious risk of collision or grounding in the narrow and crowded shipping channels of the straits.

And it is often impossible for law-enforcement agencies to know whether a ship has been seized by pirates or terrorists.
Exactly, although many of the reported occurrences are simple thefts or "sea robberies" there are the kidnappings, ship seizures and much more...

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