history of pirates
Few characters in literature are more romantic or colorful than roaring, swaggering pirates. Generations of readers have loved tales of their adventures. Many authors, among them Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott, and James Fenimore Cooper, have written exciting tales about pirates. In these tales pirates sail under the skull-and-crossbones flag. They search for buried treasure—and make their prisoners walk the plank. James M. Barrie created the comic, cowardly Captain Hook in Peter Pan. Gilbert and Sullivan poked fun at sea robbers in their operetta The Pirates of Penzance.
Many of the familiar tales are exaggerated and fanciful. There is no proof, for example, that anyone was ever forced to walk the plank. But real pirates did roam the seas for thousands of years. Until as recently as the 1800s, peaceful sailing ships were often at the mercy of ruthless pirates who captured crews and stole precious cargoes. Piracy is now a crime in all countries. But it was once a common hazard of sea travel.
monern day pirates
Pirates are still operating around the world in the 21st century. These pirates—who often use speedboats, not sailing ships—hijack dozens of ships a year. They ransom the ships, their crews, and their cargoes, collecting tens of millions of dollars every year.
The pirates are most active in the waters off Somalia and Nigeria in Africa and Indonesia in Southeast Asia. Some pirates are armed with sophisticated weapons and the latest in Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. Tracking and keeping records of the pirates is the job of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
There are about 3,500 Somali pirates. Most of them operate in the Gulf of Aden, an arm of the Indian Ocean. The Gulf, which is off Somalia's northern coast, has been nicknamed Pirate Alley. The United States and more than twenty other countries have sent warships to the Gulf and the Indian Ocean to try to thwart the pirates. But they have had limited success because of the vastness of the water.
There were more than 200 attempts at piracy on the high seas in 2008. The pace of attacks quickened in 2009, with the number of attempts soaring to over 300. At least half of these attempts were in the waters off the coast of Somalia. By the end of the year, Somali pirates had successfully hijacked 68 ships. Some were in the Gulf of Aden. Others were elsewhere along the Somali coast or farther out to sea. Experts said that many of the pirates were local fishermen. Others were former members of clan-based militias controlled by Somali warlords.
One of the ships hijacked in 2009, the Maersk Alabama, was the first American ship to be attacked by pirates since the days of the Barbary corsairs. After being held hostage by the pirates for four days, Richard Phillips, the captain of the American ship, was rescued by U.S. naval forces. Others were not so fortunate.
During all of 2010, pirates attacked 445 ships and hijacked 53 of them. Almost 1,200 crew members were taken hostage. Somali pirates were responsible for 49 of the 53 hijackings. The pace of hijackings slowed slightly in 2011 and at the start of 2012. Again, Somali pirates carried out most of the attacks and hijackings. Among their victims in 2011 were two American couples who were on a private yacht making a round-the-world trip.
Many countries have sent their naval forces to fight the pirates. They include the United States, members of the
European Union, and Russia. China, South Korea, India, and Japan have also sent military ships to combat pirates. Many pirates have been captured and put on trial. Some have been sentenced to death or given long prison terms. A 2010 trial in the United States resulted in the first U.S. conviction for piracy since 1819.
News about Piracy at Sea, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times
they ate fish and squid also octopus and bread also vegetables and eggs and meat they drank salt water and milk