Piracy Today: Fighting Villainy on the High Seas

Overview

Modern piracy is a billion-dollar business that takes advantage of inadequate international law, lax enforcement and under-staffed ships. Gangs armed with AK-47s and small rocket launchers have been emboldened by recent successes and are demanding--and often receiving six-figure ransoms. Theft of cargo and rocketing insurance premiums means the cost of transporting goods is rising, not to mention the increased physical danger to mariners in all corners of the globe.

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Overview

Modern piracy is a billion-dollar business that takes advantage of inadequate international law, lax enforcement and under-staffed ships. Gangs armed with AK-47s and small rocket launchers have been emboldened by recent successes and are demanding--and often receiving six-figure ransoms. Theft of cargo and rocketing insurance premiums means the cost of transporting goods is rising, not to mention the increased physical danger to mariners in all corners of the globe.

In this eye-opening account, respected author and seaman John C. Payne lift the veil on modern piracy, detailing hundreds of very real and frightening accounts up until now. The recent hijacking of the MAERSK ALABAMA by Somali pirates merely brought worldwide attention to an issue that has been simmering for years.

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Editorial Reviews

The Wall Street Journal
Pirates are an age-old menace. They are also a useful index of the advance and decline of civilization. Sea-roving brigands infested the waters of the ancient world until the Roman Empire stamped them out. With the fall of Rome and the onset of the Dark Ages the pirates returned. They thrived for centuries with the connivance of England's Queen Elizabeth I and other monarchs who were willing to tolerate a level of disorder and barbarism if it meant that hired privateers like Francis Drake would cut them in on the loot. Then in the 1800s the British Royal Navy, with help from the Americans, shut down piracy's perennial havens, including the Barbary Coast, the Horn of Africa and the Malacca Straits. For almost 100 years pirates survived only in children's literature and the movies. Now pirates are back, driving speed boats and armed with cellphones and AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. These modern Blackbeards are the detritus of Third World failed states, empowered by a declining U.S. Navy presence since the Cold War and an international community that has lost interest in enforcing the laws of the civilized sea. Today, as in medieval times, travelers and businessmen and especially cargo ships are learning that after they set sail they'd better watch their backs. John C. Payne's Piracy Today ... will help them chart a safe course and remind them of what happens if they don't. Mr. Payne's comprehensive survey looks at piracy as an international phenomenon that includes places such as Nigeria and Brazil little covered by the media.
Midwest Book Review
Piracy Today: Fighting Villainy on the High Seas provides a powerful account of modern piracy: a billion-dollar business that takes advantage of inadequate international law and under-staffed ships to make a profit. Gangs armed with AK-47s and small rocket launchers have been demanding - and receiving - big ransoms and stealing valuable cargo: Piracy Today documents the problem and comes from a seaman who offers accounts from real life. Nautical collections need this!
Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal
While pirates in adventure tales are often daring and heroic, modern-day piracy is a very grave matter. Piracy Today by John C. Payne gives a no-holds-barred look at very real and frightening accounts of modern attacks, such as the April 2009 hijacking of the container ship Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates. There was a second unsuccessful hijacking attempt of the same vessel in November of the same year.
Payne details how these pirates are armed with AK-47s and small rocket launchers, and how they take advantage of international law, lax enforcement and understaffed ships. The hardcover book includes maps and black-and-white photos of notable pirate attacks, as well as a final discussion on what can be done to stop this threat to every sailor.
Payne is a professional marine electrical engineer who has spent 35 years afloat on merchant ships and offshore oil industry vessels. He is a qualified maritime safety auditor and marine surveyor as well as a pleasure cruiser, and is currently working in Asia and the Middle East on various professional maritime and offshore projects. He has published more than a dozen books, including The Marine Electrical and Electronics Bible...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574092912
  • Publisher: Sheridan House, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/15/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,386,681
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

John C. Payne is a cruising sailor and professional marine electrical engineer and surveyor with a 28-year career in merchant shipping and the offshore oil industry. His unique combination of technical know-how and practical experience at sea has made him a much sought-after authority.
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