Pirates of today
When people talk about the pirates today, they consider them as the legends from the dark past. But the pirates still exists in a great number. Although it is not hyped, we are faced with problems of this kind very often these days in many different parts of the world. Modern pirates have changed a bit, but their activities and behavior are almost the same even nowadays…
The piracy increased and became a major problem in early 1980's. Since then, the number of recent pirates' attacks has risen slowly month by month, year by year. Between 1993 and 2003 the number of attacks tripled, and the first half of 2004, there were 200 cases of pirates' attacks reported worldwide. Difficulties with arresting modern pirates are similar as with “their ancestors”. The police do not have an authority and cannot do much at the open sea. Many countries even do not have a water police or military. Also, modern pirates use many old tricks and often hide behind flags of the state they choose to or just belong to, so it is not easy to recognize them. The authorities are not always against the pirates. Sometimes, even their operations seem to be connected with the government.
Today, the pirates can be seen very often in the South and Southeast Asia, the South America and South of Red Sea. They are still masked, dressed differently than the usual people and often very aggressive.
There are two types of modern pirates' existence: small-time pirates and organizations of pirates. Small pirates are mostly interested in loot and the safe of the ship they attack. They are similar to the old pirates from the past. Their goals are not high, and they work only for themselves. On the other side, organized pirates are groups connected to other similar groups, some prominent persons they work for, or even with the authorities. Their goals aren't just looting of the small ships. They attack for fulfilling their part of the business. However, they are usually only one link in a criminal chain.
Although they are branded as pirates, they are much more different than the old sea robbers. The speed boats of modern pirates have radars, sonars and have several ways of communications. Modern pirates also have access to weapons like machine guns, torpedoes, rocket-propelled grenades, Molotov cocktails… they use all kinds of modern gadgets. It is even possible that they have access to the satellite communications. The rumor goes that they use this access to locate the ship they are interested. With all these advantages it is natural that they have entirely different style of attacking.
However, the acts of today's pirates are similar to the acts of the famous pirates from over 300 years ago. They still practice kidnapping people for ransom, robbing, and murdering. They use different technology and skills, but their attacks are as scary as they have always been.
Modern Pirates usually target small cargo ships. These ships are easy to attack because they have to slow down to navigate narrow straits. If the Pirates plan to rob a bigger ship, they will sneak in before the boat starts sailing. If the vessel is small, enough their technique is to equalize speeds, so they can jump over into the ship they plan to assault. It seems that new technology advantages didn't have much influence on the Pirates' abilities. They didn't get lazy as usual people do when they start using high-tech products.