American Madness

Intelligent Criticism in the Service of a Better Nation


Posted by Matt Cipriano | No Comments

piratesWe all know the pirates are big right now. Since Johnny Depp dawned mascara and started impersonating Keith Richards pirates have been on the rise and getting really popular. Based on this you would think an article about the rise in piracy would either be referring to bootleg DVDs or Hipsters in Williamsburg.

Instead we have an article coming to us from National Geographic* about the Malacca Strait, a heavily trafficked trading route and home to some of the world’s most dangerous pirates or lanun. And these aren’t the swashbuckling pirates of yore, these are pirates armed to the teeth with modern weapons like machine guns and grenades.

In the past 5 years there have been over 250 reports of piracy in this area, though according to the head of the IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre, Noel Choong:

Counting pirate attacks is murky business… [he] estimates that half of all pirate attacks go unreported. “In some cases the ship’s owners dissuade the captain from reporting an attack,” he says. “They don’t want bad publicity or the ship to be delayed by an investigation.” As a result, no one knows for sure how many pirates remain active in the Malacca Strait.

The article is accompanied by some nice pictures, but also, to some extent plays down the danger of pirates, even though it does go into the allure of becoming a pirate to some extent, the poverty and strict rules that has led many to become pirates and abandon traditional sailor life is only briefly touched upon. It is an interesting article to read, there are other articles from the National Geographic archives as well on pirates that hold some interesting information as well. Definitely worth reading up on.*Thanks to Fubz for Beautiful/Decay the tip-off on this one


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