The Piracy Portal

Introduction

The traditional "Jolly Roger" of piracy
The traditional "Jolly Roger" of piracy

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 goods. Those who conduct acts of piracy are called pirates, while the dedicated ships that pirates use are called pirate ships. 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. A land-based parallel is the ambushing of travelers by bandits and brigands in highways and mountain passes. Privateering uses similar methods to piracy, but the captain acts under orders of the state authorizing the capture of merchant ships belonging to an enemy nation, making it a legitimate form of war-like activity by non-state actors.

While the term can include acts committed in the air, on land (especially across national borders or in connection with taking over and robbing a car or train), or in other major bodies of water or on a shore, in cyberspace, as well as the fictional possibility of space piracy, it generally refers to maritime piracy. It does not normally include crimes committed against people traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator (e.g. one passenger stealing from others on the same vessel). Piracy or pirating is the name of a specific crime under customary international law and also the name of a number of crimes under the municipal law of a number of states. In the early 21st century, seaborne piracy against transport vessels remains a significant issue (with estimated worldwide losses of US$16 billion per year in 2004), particularly in the waters between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, off the Somali coast, and also in the Strait of Malacca and Singapore.

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. (Full article...)

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Rusla, also known as the "Red Woman" from Middle Irish Ingean Ruagh, was a legendary Norwegian shield-maiden mentioned in the Gesta Danorum or "History of the Danes" of Saxo Grammaticus and in the Irish annals. According to Saxo, Rusla was the daughter of a 5th or 6th century king of Telemark called Rieg, and sister of Tesandus (Thrond), who was dispossessed of his throne by a Danish king named Omund. Rusla formed a pirate fleet to attack all Danish ships as revenge for the affront to her brother. Rusla was always accompanied by another woman (some sources cite her as sister) Stikla, who was her deputy in all raids. Stikla turned to piracy to avoid marriage, and her name is the origin of the Norwegian city Stiklestad. (Full article...)
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Pirates of the Caribbean is a series of fantasy swashbuckler films produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and based on Walt Disney's theme park attraction of the same name. The film series serves as a major component of the eponymous media franchise.

Directors of the series include Gore Verbinski (films 1–3), Rob Marshall (4), Joachim Rønning (5–6), and Espen Sandberg (5). The series is primarily written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (1–4); other writers include Stuart Beattie (1), Jay Wolpert (1), Jeff Nathanson (5), and Craig Mazin (6). The stories follow the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). Characters such as Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally) follow Jack, Will and Elizabeth in the course of the films. The fourth film features Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and Angelica (Penélope Cruz), while the fifth film features Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem), Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario). The films take place in a fictionalized version of the Golden Age of Piracy, and are set primarily in the Caribbean. (Full article...)
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Did you know?

  • ... that in 2011, pirates were reported as raiding along the Danube River in the center of Europe?
  • ... that in the Golden Age of Piracy, the word "pirate" was often spelled "pyrate" or "pyrat"?
  • ... that, unlike traditional Western societies of the time, many pirate clans operated as limited democracies, demanding the right to elect and replace their leaders?

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