Lets hit the BARRRR.
Horrible joke, I'm sorry, but pirate jokes are just too easy. And the joke was meant to set the stage for this post. No, this post isn't going to be as lame as that joke, but I'm writing tonight to express my feelings of joy that pirates have re-emerged onto the world scene, and not a moment too late. According to Newsweek, somali pirates have attacked 120 ships in the past year. I know, I know, this isn't very awesome news for the ships who were attacked by said pirates. But we as a society have found ourselves embroiled in a contradiction of sea-monster proportions surrounding the issue of pirates. As the "Pirates of the Carribbean" trilogy rose to become one of the most successful series of movies to date, the world had fallen in love with pirates. Everywhere from Baton Rouge to Bali to Batswana sung the praises of a gypsily (not a word) clad Jack Sparrow.
Naturally after seeing the kind of love and affection these cutthroat pirates of the big screen were getting, some entrepreneurial Somalis wisely jumped on board. I'm sure being the common thieves they were before coming pirates was an occupation that hadn't gotten any love since the Aladdin sequels- how many are there again?- beating to death the idea of thievery being taken romantically. Faced with a dwindling amount job appreciation, these somali thieves probably hit up one last bazaar, and used the proceeds to buy a boat, and some skull-and-crossbones flags. Then later that night when they were probably drinking rum to get the pirate blood pumping through their veins, they drew straws to see who would have to lose an eyeball or a leg in order to fulfill the lovable pirate stereotype.
I'm positive the last thing these greenhorn pirates expected was to be met with naval force. After all, in POTC, the navy would never FULLY commit to going after the pirates. They merely launched a few cannonballs at the Black Pearl, and then cursed it as it disappeared into the mist. If the British navy as portrayed in POTC had actually used their force, there would have been frigates and Men O'war all over the pirates. Pirate movies fail to take into account that unlike man-to-man combat, if you have more ships, you are the winner. And while a pirate ship may outgun a British frigate temporarily, said British Frigate is backed by the Royal Navy. If you don't believe me, watch Master and Commander. After watching mincemeat made out of a French ship that both outmanned, outgunned, and outpowered the British ship, I had nightmares of waking up to Russel Crowe's steely demeanor at the foot of my bed making my feet uncomfortably chilly.
Another thing these modern Somali pirates probably didn't take into account was how to go about making that darned mist appear. Up to this point, the only disappearing trick they have been able to pull is being left in the wake of a cruise ship. That's right, a 684 foot ship with 30,000 people on board successfully outran a small pirate's skiff. Imagine the humiliation of 30,000 vacationers laughing at you and your fellow cutthroats and all you can do is take potshots at the driving range on the poop deck with your ak-47.
Well, Allow me to eat my words, as while writing this I'm periodically stopping to find more articles on pirates. You thought this was well researched? I do this shit as I go along, got it? As I have just discovered, the pirates have actually performed a disappearing act, and a damn good one at that. An Indian warship received word that there were pirates in the nearby waters. Sure enough, the gunners on the warship looked through their sights to find a shitty, tattered ship with a bunch of banditos waving their arms wildly on the deck. Pirates, clearly. Probably all hopped-up on rum and jonesing to board a cruise ship and snatch some booty (haha). Nevermind the fact that the boat in the gun sights was an Indian Fishing Vessel, and the 16 crew members were waving their arms madly to prevent the Indian warship from blowing them out of the water. In a stunning display of Military might, the pirate mothership, I mean fishing vessel was sent sailing on down to davy jones locker. As a skiff of machine-gun weilding marauders motored slowly by the wreckage, looking for anything of value to pop up, the Indian Navy uttered a collective "shitballs".
Ok, on a serious note, Pirates do pose a serious threat to shipping and cruise lines. But is this any different from the past? In a way, it is. If our modern pirates were like the pirates of old, they would be sailing around in cutting edge warships that could stand a chance against modern naval vessels with the help of radar, sonar, torpedos, long range weaponry, and cruise missiles. Instead, todays pirates trundle around in seaworthy rowboats, going about half the speed of jetski, with a quarter of the range. My advice to cruise ships and tankers: arm yourselves with oranges, because when the pirates run out of fuel after chasing your boat for half a mile, at least they will have a viable source of Vitamin C until someone can rescue them.
Lets hit the BARRRR.