Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable items or properties. Those who engage in acts of piracy are called pirates.
The earliest documented instances of piracy were in the 14th century BC, when the Sea Peoples, a group of ocean raiders, attacked the ships of the Aegean and Mediterranean civilizations. Narrow channels which funnel shipping into predictable routes have long created opportunities for piracy, as well as for privateering and commerce raiding. Historic examples include the waters of Gibraltar, the Strait of Malacca, Madagascar, the Gulf of Aden, and the English Channel, whose geographic structures facilitated pirate attacks. Today, pirates armed with automatic weapons, such as assault rifles, and machine guns, grenades and rocket propelled grenades use small motorboats to attack and board ships, a tactic that takes advantage of the small number of crew members on modern cargo vessels and transport ships. They also use larger vessels, known as “mother ships”, to supply the smaller motorboats. The international community is facing many challenges in bringing modern pirates to justice, as these attacks often occur in international waters. Some nations have used their naval forces to protect private ships from pirate attacks and to pursue pirates, and some private vessels use armed security guards, high-pressure water cannons, or sound cannons to repel boarders, and use radar to avoid potential threats.
Modern definitions of piracy include the following acts:
- Boarding without permission.
- Hostage taking
- kidnapping of people for ransom
- Cargo theft
- Robbery and seizure of items or the ship
- Sabotage resulting in the ship subsequently sinking
- Shipwrecking done intentionally to a ship
Piracy Prevention Measure/Protection against Somalia Based Piracy
- Search the ship before leaving port to make sure no one is on board without authorization.
- Avoid discussing a ship’s route or cargo while in port.
- Keep constant watch in areas prone to piracy.
- Avoid bottlenecks in shipping lanes.
- All access points are to be well secured & locked.
- Only one access to be used.
- Strict anti-piracy watch on the bridge by radar and look out.
- Hawse pipe and Spurling pipes are to be well secured.
- Nothing is to be hanging out on the ship side.
- Place proper look out with night vision binocular.
- Look outs are to be vigilant all around the ship.