When I was a kid I really wanted to be a pirate (actually I was probably nearly twenty one when I first got this notion into my head…) I could live on a boat with the sea as my home and travel where ever the great winds would take me. I would have swash-buckling adventures, meet interesting characters, and claim my fortune in a distant land.
Things didn’t quite work out as planned. Not that I’m complaining. I like writing from the intern desk at This. But lately, pirates have been on my mind once more. And not the Johnny Depp variety.
Pirates off the coast of Somalia have been making waves almost daily it seems. Earlier today it was reported that for a cool $3 million the Saudi oil tanker captured last November has been released. The ship is currently sailing into calmer waters, but no one is willing to comment on the situation, not yet at least.
The global rise in pirate activity is baffling, not only to me, but to the international community. In mid November the UN Security Council adopted a unanimous resolution to let all member countries attack Somali pirates by land, sea or air. Thus far the resolution has done little to stem the attacks. Last year alone it is estimated that Somali pirates made $30 million off ransoms in the heavily used shipping artery. In fact, these rebels are affecting ten percent of all global trade.
At yet, there remains a magical air about these pirates. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re struggling against all odds to create wealth for a country in near destitution. Maybe it’s the romanticism behind troubled waters and a final frontier. Or maybe, as the pirate themselves so bluntly put it, they are considered heroes in their local communities. At any rate, Pirate Watch 2009 has officially begun.