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Piracy is a war-like act committed by private parties (not affiliated with any government) that engaged in acts of robbery and/or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the actor (e.g. one passenger stealing from others on the same vessel). The term has been used to refer to raids across land borders by non-state actors. Piracy should be distinguished from privateering, which was a legitimate form of war-like activity by non-state actors, authorized by their national authorities, until this form of commerce raiding was outlawed in the 19th century.

Definition

Maritime piracy, according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982, consists of any criminal acts of violence, detention, or depredation committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or aircraft that is directed on the high seas against another ship, aircraft, or against persons or property on board a ship or aircraft. Piracy can also be committed against a ship, aircraft, persons, or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any state, in fact piracy has been the first example of universal jurisdiction. Nevertheless today the international community is facing many problems in bringing pirates to justice.

Etymology

The English "pirate" is derived from the Latin term pirata and that from Greek πειρατής (peiratēs) "brigand", from πειράομαι (peiráomai) "attempt", from πεῖρα (peîra) "attempt, experience". The word is also cognate to peril.

History

Ancient origins

Pirates have been around as long as people have used the oceans as trade routes. The earliest documented instances of piracy are the exploits of the Sea Peoples who threatened the Aegean and Mediterraneanmarker in the 13th century BC. In Classical Antiquity, the Illyrians and Tyrrhenians were known as pirates, as well as Greeks and Romans. The island of Lemnosmarker long resisted Greek influence and remained a haven for Thracian pirates. During their voyages the Phoeniciansmarker seem to have sometimes resorted to piracy, and specialized in kidnapping boys and girls to be sold as slaves.

In the 3rd century BC, pirate attacks on Olymposmarker (city in Anatoliamarker) brought impoverishment. Among some of the most famous ancient pirateering peoples were the Illyrians, populating the western Balkan peninsula. Constantly raiding the Adriatic Seamarker, the Illyrians caused many conflicts with the Roman Republic. It was not until 68 BC when the Romans finally conquered Illyria, making it a province that ended their threat.

During the 1st century BC, there were pirate states along the Anatolianmarker coast, threaten the commerce of the Roman Empire in the eastern Mediterranean. On one voyage across the Aegean Seamarker in 75 BC, Julius Caesar was kidnapped by Cilician pirates and held prisoner in the Dodecanese islet of Pharmacusamarker. He maintained an attitude of superiority and good cheer throughout his captivity. When the pirates decided to demand a ransom of twenty talents of gold, Caesar is said to have insisted that he was worth at least fifty, and the pirates indeed raised the ransom to fifty talents. After the ransom was paid and Caesar was released, he raised a fleet, pursued and captured the pirates, and had them put to death.

The Senate finally invested Pompey with powers to deal with piracy in 67 BC (the Lex Gabinia), and Pompey after three months of naval warfare managed to suppress the threat.

As early as 258 AD, the Gothic-Herulic fleet ravaged towns on the coasts of the Black Seamarker and Sea of Marmaramarker. The Aegeanmarker coast suffered similar attacks a few years later. In 264, the Goths reached Galatia and Cappadociamarker, and Gothic pirates landed on Cyprusmarker and Cretemarker. In the process, the Goths seized enormous booty and took thousands into captivity.

In 286 AD, Carausius, a Roman military commander of Gaulish origins, was appointed to command the Classis Britannica, and given the responsibility of eliminating Frankish and Saxon pirates who had been raiding the coasts of Armorica and Belgic Gaul.

In the Roman province of Britannia, Saint Patrick was captured and enslaved by Irishmarker pirates.

Early Polynesian warriors attacked seaside and riverside villages. They used the sea for their hit-and-run tactics - a safe place to retreat to if the battle turned against them.

Middle Ages to 19th century

The most widely known and far reaching pirates in medieval Europe were the Vikings, warriors and looters from Scandinavia who raided from about 783 to 1066, during the Viking Age in the Early Middle Ages. They raided the coasts, rivers and inland cities of all Western Europe as far as Sevillemarker, attacked by the Norse in 844. Vikings even attacked coasts of North Africa and Italy. They also plundered all the coasts of the Baltic Seamarker, ascending the rivers of Eastern Europe as far as the Black Sea and Persia. The lack of centralized powers all over Europe during the Middle Ages favoured pirates all over the continent.

Meanwhile, Muslim pirates terrorized the Mediterranean Seamarker. Toward the end of the 9th century, Muslim pirate havens were established along the coast of southern Francemarker and northern Italymarker. In 846 Muslim raiders sacked Rome and damaged the Vatican. In 911, the bishop of Narbonnemarker was unable to return to France from Rome because the Muslims from Fraxinet controlled all the passes in the Alps. Muslim pirates operated out of the Balearic Islandsmarker in the 10th century. From 824 to 961 Arab pirates in Cretemarker raided the entire Mediterranean. In the 14th century, raids by Muslim pirates forced the Venetian Duke of Cretemarker to ask Venicemarker to keep its fleet on constant guard.

After the Slavic invasions of the Balkan peninsula in the 5th and 6th centuries, a Slavic tribe settled the land of Pagania between Dalmatia and Zachlumia in the first half of the 7th century. These Slavs revived the old Illyrian piratical habits and often raided the Adriatic Sea. By 642 they invaded southern Italy and assaulted Siponte in Beneventomarker. Their raids in the Adriatic increased rapidly, until the whole Sea was no longer safe for travel.

The "Narentines", as they were called, took more liberties in their raiding quests while the Venetianmarker Navy was abroad, as when it was campaigning in Sicilian waters in 827-82. As soon as the Venetian fleet would return to the Adriatic, the Narentines temporarily abandoned their habits again, even signing a Treaty in Venice and baptising their Slavic pagan leader into Christianity. In 834 or 835 they broke the treaty and again the Neretva pirates raided Venetian traders returning from Benevento, and all of Venice's military attempts to punish the Marians in 839 and 840 utterly failed. Later, they raided the Venetians more often, together with the Arabs. In 846 the Narentines broke through to Venice itself and raided its lagoon city of Kaorle. In the middle of March of 870 they kidnapped the Roman Bishop's emissaries that were returning from the Ecclesiastical Council in Constantinople. This caused a Byzantine military action against them that finally brought Christianity to them.

After the Arab raids on the Adriatic coastmarker c. 872 and the retreat of the Imperial Navy, the Narentines continued their raids of Venetian waters, causing new conflicts with the Italians in 887-888. The Venetians futilely continued to fight them throughout the 10th-11th centuries.

In 937, Irish pirates sided with the Scots, Vikings, Picts, and Welsh in their invasion of England. Athelstan drove them back.

The Slavic piracy in the Baltic Seamarker ended with the Danish conquest of the Rani stronghold of Arkonamarker in 1168. In the 12th century the coasts of western Scandinavia were plundered by Curonians and Oeselians from the eastern coast of the Baltic Seamarker. In the 13th and 14th century pirates threatened the Hanseatic routes and nearly brought sea trade to the brink of extinction. The Victual Brothers of Gotlandmarker were a companionship of privateers who later turned to piracy. Until about 1440, maritime trade in both the North Seamarker and the Baltic Sea was seriously in danger of attack by the pirates.

H. Thomas Milhorn mentions a certain Englishman named William Maurice, convicted of piracy in 1241, as the first person known to have been hanged, drawn and quartered, which would indicate that the then-ruling King Henry III took an especially severe view of this crime.

The ushkuiniks were Novgorodianmarker pirates who looted the cities on the Volga and Kama Rivers in the 14th century.

As early as Byzantine times, the Maniots - one of Greecemarker's toughest populations - were known as pirates. The Maniots considered piracy as a legitimate response to the fact that their land was poor and it became their main source of income. The main victims of Maniot pirates were the Ottomans but the Maniots also targeted ships of European countries.

The Haida and Tlingit tribes, who lived along the coast of southern Alaskamarker and on islands in northwest British Columbiamarker, were traditionally known as fierce warriors, pirates and slave-traders, raiding as far as Californiamarker.

On the Indian coast

Since the 14th century the Deccanmarker (Southern Peninsular region of India) was divided into two entities: on the one side stood the Muslim-ruled Bahmani Sultanate, and on the other stood the Hindu kings rallied around the Vijayanagara Empire. Continuous wars demanded frequent resupplies of fresh horses, which were imported through sea routes from Persia and Africa. This trade was subjected to frequent raids by thriving bands of pirates based in the coastal cities of Western India.

During the 16th and 17th centuries there was frequent European piracy against Mughal Indian vessels, especially those en route to Mecca for Hajj. The situation came to a head, when Portuguese attacked and captured the vessel Rahimi which belonged to Mariam Zamani the Mughal queen, which led to the Mughal seizure of the Portuguese town Daman. In the 18th century, the famous Maratha privateer Kanhoji Angre ruled the seas between Mumbai and Goa. The Marathas attacked British shipping and insisted that East India Company ships pay taxes if sailing through their waters.

At one stage, the pirate population of Madagascarmarker numbered close to 1000. The most famous pirate utopia is that of Captain Misson and his pirate crew, who allegedly founded the free colony of Libertatia in northern Madagascar in the late 17th century. In 1694, it was destroyed in a surprise attack by the island natives.

The southern coast of the Persian Gulfmarker became known as the Pirate Coast as raiders based there harassed foreign shipping. Early British expeditions to protect the Indian Ocean trade from raiders at Ras al-Khaimahmarker led to campaigns against that headquarters and other harbors along the coast in 1819.

In East Asia

From the 13th century, Wokou based in Japan made their debut in East Asia, initiating invasions that would persist for 300 years.

Piracy in South East Asia began with the retreating Mongol Yuanmarker fleet after the betrayal by their Javanese allies (who, incidentally, would found the empire of Majapahit after the Mongols left). They preferred the junk, a ship using a more robust sail layout. Marooned navy officers, consisting mostly of Cantonese and Hokkien tribesmen, set up their small gangs near river estuaries, mainly to protect themselves. They recruited locals as common foot-soldiers known as 'lang' (lanun) to set up their fortresses. They survived by utilizing their well trained pugilists, as well as marine and navigation skills, mostly along Sumatran and Javanese estuaries. Their strength and ferocity coincided with the impending trade growth of the maritime silk and spice routes.

However, the most powerful pirate fleets of East Asia were those of Chinese pirates during the mid-Qingmarker dynasty. Pirate fleets grew increasingly powerful throughout the early 19th century. The effects large-scale piracy had on the Chinese economy were immense. They preyed voraciously on China's junk trade, which flourished in Fujianmarker and Guangdongmarker and was a vital artery of Chinese commerce. Pirate fleets exercised hegemony over villages on the coast, collecting revenue by exacting tribute and running extortion rackets. In 1802, the menacing Zheng Yi inherited the fleet of his cousin, captain Zheng Qi, whose death provided Zheng Yi with considerably more influence in the world of piracy. Zheng Yi and his wife, Zheng Yi Sao (who would eventually inherit the leadership of his pirate confederacy) then formed a pirate coalition that, by 1804, consisted of over ten thousand men. Their military might alone was sufficient to combat the Qing navy. However, a combination of famine, Qing naval opposition, and internal rifts crippled piracy in China around the 1820s, and it has never again reached the same status.

The Buginese sailors of South Sulawesimarker were infamous as pirates who used to range as far west as Singaporemarker and as far north as the Philippinesmarker in search of targets for piracy. The Orang laut pirates controlled shipping in the Straits of Malacca and the waters around Singapore, and the Malay and Sea Dayak pirates preyed on maritime shipping in the waters between Singapore and Hong Kong from their haven in Borneomarker.

In Eastern Europe

One example of a pirate republic in Europe from the 16th through the 18th century was Zaporizhian Sich. Situated in the remote Steppe, it was populated with Ukrainian peasants that had run away from their feudal masters, outlaws of every sort, destitute gentry, run-away slaves from Turkish galleys, etc. The remoteness of the place and the rapids at the Dnepr river effectively guarded the place from invasions of vengeful powers. The main target of the inhabitants of Zaporizhian Sich who called themselves “Cossacks” were rich settlements at the Black Seamarker shores of Ottoman Empire and Crimean Khanate. By 1615 and 1625, Zaporozhian Cossacks had even managed to raze townships on the outskirts of Istanbulmarker, forcing the Ottoman Sultan to flee his palace. Don Cossacks under Stenka Razin even ravaged the Persianmarker coasts.

In North Africa

The Barbary pirates were pirates and privateers that operated from North African (the "Barbary coast") ports of Tunismarker, Tripolimarker, Algiersmarker, Salémarker and ports in Moroccomarker, preying on shipping in the western Mediterranean Seamarker from the time of the Crusades as well as on ships on their way to Asia around Africa until the early 19th century. The coastal villages and towns of Italymarker, Spainmarker and Mediterranean islands were frequently attacked by them and long stretches of the Italian and Spanish coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants; after 1600 Barbary pirates occasionally entered the Atlantic and struck as far north as Icelandmarker. According to Robert Davis between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by Barbary pirates and sold as slaves in North Africa and Ottoman Empire between the 16th and 19th centuries. The most famous corsairs were the Ottoman Hayreddin and his older brother Barbarossa (Redbeard), Turgut Reis (known as Dragut in the West), Kurtoğlu (known as Curtogoli in the West), Kemal Reis, Salih Reis and Koca Murat Reis. A few Barbary pirates, such as Jan Janszoon and John Ward [Yusuf Reis], were renegade English privateers who had converted to Islam.

According to recent legal analysis by the U.S.marker Supreme Courtmarker, the United States treated captured Barbary corsairs as prisoners of war, indicating that they were considered as legitimate privateers by at least some of their opponents, as well as by their home countries.

In the Caribbean



In 1523, Jean Fleury seized two Spanish treasure ships carrying Aztec treasuresfrom Mexico to Spain. The great or classic era of piracy in the Caribbeanmarker extends from around 1560 up until the mid 1720s. The period during which pirates were most successful was from 1700 until the 1730s. Many pirates came to the Caribbean after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. Many people stayed in the Caribbean and became pirates shortly after that. Others, the buccaneers, arrived in the mid-to-late 17th century and made attempts at earning a living by farming and hunting on Hispaniolamarker and nearby islands; pressed by Spanish raids and possibly failure of their means of making a living, they turned to a more lucrative occupation (not to mention more active and conducive to revenge). Caribbean piracy arose out of, and mirrored on a smaller scale, the conflicts over trade and colonization among the rival European powers of the time, including the empires of Britain, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and France. Most of these pirates were of Englishmarker, Dutch and French origin. Because Spain controlled most of the Caribbean, many of the attacked cities and ships belonged to the Spanish Empire and along the East coast of America and the West coast of Africa. Dutch ships captured about 500 Spanish and Portuguese ships between 1623 and 1638. Some of the best-known pirate bases were New Providence, in the Bahamas from 1715 to 1725, Tortugamarker established in the 1640s and Port Royalmarker after 1655. Among the most famous Caribbean pirates are Edward Teach or "Blackbeard" and Henry Morgan.

Popular Image

In the popular modern imagination, pirates of the classical period were rebellious, clever teams who operated outside the restricting bureaucracy of modern life. Pirates were also depicted as always raising their Jolly Roger flag when preparing to hijack a vessel. The Jolly Roger is the traditional name for the flags of European and American pirates and a symbol for piracy that has been adopted by film-makers and toy manufacturers.

Pirate Democracy

Unlike traditional Western societies of the time, many pirate crews operated as limited democracies. Pirate communities were some of the first to instate a system of checks and balances similar to the one used by the present-day United States and many other countries. The first record of such a government aboard a pirate sloop dates to the 1600s, a full century before the United States' and France's adoption of democracy in 1789, or Spain's move to democracy in 1812.

Both the captain and the quartermaster were elected by the crew; they, in turn, appointed the other ship's officers. The captain of a pirate ship was often a fierce fighter in whom the men could place their trust, rather than a more traditional authority figure sanctioned by an elite. However, when not in battle, the quartermaster usually had the real authority. Many groups of pirates shared in whatever they seized; pirates injured in battle might be afforded special compensation similar to medical or disability insurance.

There are contemporary records that many pirates placed a portion of any captured money into a central fund that was used to compensate the injuries sustained by the crew. Lists show standardised payments of 600 pieces of eight ($156,000 in modern currency) for the loss of a leg down to 100 pieces ($26,800) for loss of an eye. Often all of these terms were agreed upon and written down by the pirates, but these articles could also be used as incriminating proof that they were outlaws.

Pirates readily accepted outcasts from traditional societies, perhaps easily recognizing kindred spirits, and they were known to welcome them into the pirate fold. For example as many as 40% of the pirate vessels' crews were slaves liberated from captured slavers. Such practices within a pirate crew were tenuous, however, and did little to mitigate the brutality of the pirate's way of life.

Treasure

Even though pirates raided many ships, few, if any, buried their treasure. Often, the "treasure" that was stolen was food, water, alcohol, weapons, or clothing. Other things they stole were household items like bits of soap and gear like rope and anchors, or sometimes they would keep the ship they captured (either to sell off or because it was better than their ship). Such items were likely to be needed immediately, rather than saved for future trade. For this reason, there was no reason for the pirates to bury these goods. Pirates tended to kill few people aboard the ships they captured; oftentimes they would kill no one if the ship surrendered, because if it became known that pirates took no prisoners, their victims would fight to the last and make victory very difficult. Contrariwise, ships would quickly surrender if they knew they would be spared. In one well-documented case 300 heavily armed soldiers on a ship attacked by Thomas Tew surrendered after a brief battle with none of Tew's 40-man crew being injured.

Rewards of piracy

Pirates had a system of hierarchy on board their ships determining how captured money was distributed. However, pirates were more “egalitarian” than any other area of employment at the time. In fact pirate quartermasters were a counterbalance to the captain and had the power to veto his orders. The majority of plunder was in the form of cargo and ship's equipment with medicines the most highly prized. A vessel's doctor’s chest would be worth anywhere from £300 to £400, or around $470,000 in today’s values. Jewels were common plunder but not popular as they were hard to sell, and pirates, unlike the public of today, had little concept of their value. There is one case recorded where a pirate was given a large diamond worth a great deal more than the value of the handful of small diamonds given his crewmates as a share. He felt cheated and had it broken up to match what they received.

Spanish pieces of eight minted in Mexicomarker or Sevillemarker were the standard trade currency in the American colonies. However, every colony still used the monetary units of pounds, shillings and pence for bookkeeping while Spanish, German, French and Portuguese money were all standard mediums of exchange as British law prohibited the export of British silver coinage. Until the exchange rates were standardised in the late 1700s each colony legislated its own different exchange rates. In England, 1 piece of eight was worth 4s 3d while it was worth 8s in New Yorkmarker, 7s 6d in Pennsylvaniamarker and 6s 8d in Virginiamarker. One 18th century English shilling was worth around $58 in modern currency so a piece of eight could be worth anywhere from $246 to $465. As such, the value of pirate plunder could vary considerably depending on who recorded it and where.

Ordinary seamen received a part of the plunder at the captain's discretion but usually a single share. On average, a pirate could expect the equivalent of a year's wages as his share from each ship captured while the crew of the most successful pirates would often each receive a share valued at around £1,000 ($1.17 million) at least once in their career. One of the larger amounts taken from a single ship was that by captain Thomas Tew from an Indianmarker merchantman in 1692. Each ordinary seaman on his ship received a share worth £3,000 ($3.5 million) with officers receiving proportionally larger amounts as per the agreed shares with Tew himself receiving 2½ shares. It is known there were actions with multiple ships captured where a single share was worth almost double this.

By contrast, an ordinary seamen in the Royal Navy received 19s per month to be paid in a lump sum at the end of a tour of duty which was around half the rate paid in the Merchant Navy. However, corrupt officers would often “tax” their crews' wage to supplement their own and the Royal Navy of the day was infamous for its reluctance to pay. From this wage, 6d per month was deducted for the maintenance of Greenwich Hospital with similar amounts deducted for the Chatham Chest, the chaplain and surgeon. Six months' pay was withheld to discourage desertion. That this was insufficient incentive is revealed in a report on proposed changes to the RN Admiral Nelson wrote in 1803; he noted that since 1793 more than 42,000 sailors had deserted. Roughly half of all RN crews were pressganged and these not only received lower wages than volunteers but were shackled while the vessel was docked and were never permitted to go ashore until released from service.

Although the Royal Navy suffered from many morale issues, it answered the question of prize money via the 'Cruizers and Convoys' Act of 1708 which handed over the share previously gained by the Crown to the captors of the ship. Technically it was still possible for the Crown to get the money or a portion of it but this rarely happened. The process of condemnation of a captured vessel and its cargo and men was given to the High Court of the Admiralty and this was the process which remained in force with minor changes throughout the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

The share-out of prize-money is given below in its pre-1808 state.

(a) 1/8 Flag Officer(b) 2/8 Captain(s)(c) 1/8 Captains of Marines, Lieutenants, Masters, Surgeons(d) 1/8 Lieutenants of Marines, Secretary to Flag Officer, Principal Warrant Officers, Chaplains.(e) 1/8 Midshipmen, Inferior Warrant Officers, Principal Warrant Officer's Mates, Marine Sergeants(f) 2/8 The Rest.

After 1808 the regulations were changed to give the following:

(a) 1/3 of the Captain's share(b) 2/8(c) 1/8(d) 1/8(e) & (f) 4/8

Even the flag officer's share was not quite straightforward; he would only get the full one-eighth if he had no junior flag officer beneath him. If this was the case then he would get a third share. If he had more than one then he would take one half while the rest was shared out equally.

There was a great deal of money to be made in this way. The record breaker, admittedly before our wars, was the capture of the Spanish frigate the HERMIONE, which was carrying treasure in 1762. The value of this was so great that each individual seaman netted £485! The two captains responsible, Evans and Pownall, got just on £65,000 each. In January 1807 the frigate CAROLINE took the Spanish SAN RAFAEL which brought in £52,000 for her captain, Peter Rainier (who had been only a Midshipman some thirteen months before). All through the wars there are examples of this kind of luck falling on captains. Another famous 'capture' was that of the Spanish frigates THETIS and SANTA BRIGADA which were loaded with specie. They were taken by four British frigates who shared the money, each captain receiving £40,730. Each lieutenant got £5,091, the Warrant Officer group, £2,468, the midshipmen £791 and the individual seamen £182.

It should also be noted that it was usually only the frigates which took prizes; the ships of the line were far too ponderous to be able to chase and capture the smaller ships which generally carried treasure. Nelson always bemoaned that he had done badly out of prize money and even as a flag officer received little. This was not that he had a bad command of captains but rather that British mastery of the seas was so complete that few enemy ships dared to sail.[8152]

Comparison chart using the share distribution known for three pirates against the shares for a Privateer and wages as paid by the Royal Navy.
Rank Bartholomew Roberts George Lowther William Phillips Privateer

(Sir William Monson)
Royal Navy

Per Month
Captain 2 shares 2 shares 1½ shares 10 shares £8, 8s
Master 1½ shares 1½ shares 1¼ shares 7 or 8 shares £4
Boatswain 1½ shares 1¼ shares 1¼ shares 5 shares £2
Gunner 1½ shares 1¼ shares 1¼ shares 5 shares £2
Quartermaster 2 shares 4 shares £1, 6s
Carpenter 1¼ shares 5 shares £2
Mate 1¼ shares 5 shares £2, 2s
Doctor 1¼ shares 5 shares £5 +2d per man aboard
“Other Officers” 1¼ shares various rates various rates
Able Seamen (2 yrs experience)

Ordinary Seamen (some exp)

Landsmen (pressganged)


1 share


1 share


1 share
22s

19s

11s


Punishment

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, once pirates were caught, justice was meted out in a summary fashion, and many ended their lives by "dancing the hempen jig", or hanging at the end of a rope. Public execution was a form of entertainment at the time, and people came out to watch them as they would to a sporting event today. Newspapers were glad to report every detail, such as recording the condemned men's last words, the prayers said by the priests for their immortal souls, and their final agonising moments on the gallows. In England most of these executions took place at Execution Dock on the River Thames in London.

In the cases of more famous prisoners, usually captains, their punishments extended beyond death. Their bodies were enclosed in iron cages (for which they were measured before their execution) and left to swing in the air until the flesh rotted off them- a process that could take as long as two years. The bodies of captains such as William Kidd, Charles Vane, William Fly, and Jack Rackham were all treated this way.

Famous historical pirates/privateers





Privateers

A privateer or corsair used similar methods to a pirate, but acted while in possession of a commission or letter of marque from a government or monarch authorizing the capture of merchant ships belonging to an enemy nation. For example, the United States Constitution of 1787 specifically authorized Congress to issue letters of marque and reprisal. The letter of marque was recognized by international convention and meant that a privateer could not technically be charged with piracy while attacking the targets named in his commission. This nicety of law did not always save the individuals concerned, however, as whether one was considered a pirate or a legally operating privateer often depended on whose custody the individual found himself in—that of the country that had issued the commission, or that of the object of attack. Spanish authorities were known to execute foreign privateers with their letters of marque hung around their necks to emphasize Spain's rejection of such defenses. Furthermore, many privateers exceeded the bounds of their letters of marque by attacking nations with which their sovereign was at peace (Thomas Tew and William Kidd are notable examples), and thus made themselves liable to conviction for piracy. However, a letter of marque did provide some cover for such pirates, as plunder seized from neutral or friendly shipping could be passed off later as taken from enemy merchants.

The famous Barbary Corsairs of the Mediterraneanmarker were privateers, as were the Maltese Corsairs, who were authorized by the Knights of St. John, and the Dunkirkers in the service of the Spanish Empire. From 1609 to 1616, England lost 466 merchant ships to Barbary pirates. One famous privateer was Sir Francis Drake. His patron was Queen Elizabeth I, and their relationship ultimately proved to be quite profitable for Englandmarker.

Privateers were a large proportion of the total military force at sea during the 17th and 18th centuries. During the Nine Years War, the French adopted a policy of strongly encouraging privateers, including the famous Jean Bart, to attack English and Dutch shipping. England lost roughly 4,000 merchant ships during the war. In the following War of Spanish Succession, privateer attacks continued, Britain losing 3,250 merchant ships. During the War of Austrian Succession, the Britain lost 3,238 merchant ships and France lost 3,434 merchant ships to the British.

During King George's War, approximately 36,000 Americans served aboard privateers at one time or another. During the American Revolution, about 55,000 American seamen served aboard the privateers. The American privateers had almost 1,700 ships, and they captured 2,283 enemy ships. Between the end of the Revolutionary War and 1812, less than 30 years, Britain, France, Naples, the Barbary States, Spain, and the Netherlands seized approximately 2,500 American ships. Payments in ransom and tribute to the Barbary states amounted to 20% of United States government annual revenues in 1800. Throughout the American Civil War, Confederate privateers successfully harassed Union merchant ships.

Privateering lost international sanction under the Declaration of Paris in 1856.

Modern age

Overview



Seaborne piracy against transport vessels remains a significant issue (with estimated worldwide losses of US $13 to $16 billion per year), particularly in the waters between the Red sea and Indian Oceanmarker, off the Somalimarker coast, and also in the Strait of Malaccamarker and Singaporemarker, which are used by over 50,000 commercial ships a year. A recent surge in piracy off the Somali coast spurred a multi-national effort led by the United Statesmarker to patrol the waters near the Horn of Africa. While ships off the coasts of North Africa, Iranmarker and the Mediterranean Seamarker are still assailed by pirates, the United States Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard have nearly eradicated piracy in U.S. waters and in the Caribbean Seamarker.

Modern pirates favor small boats and taking advantage of the small number of crew members on modern cargo vessels. They also use large vessels to supply the smaller attack/boarding vessels. Modern pirates can be successful because a large amount of international commerce occurs via shipping. Major shipping routes take cargo ships through narrow bodies of water (such as the Gulf of Adenmarker and the Strait of Malaccamarker) making them vulnerable to be overtaken and boarded by small motorboats. Other active areas include the South China Seamarker and the Niger Deltamarker. As usage increases, many of these ships have to lower cruising speeds to allow for navigation and traffic control, making them prime targets for piracy. Small ships are also capable of disguising themselves as fishing vessels or cargo vessels when not carrying out piracy in order to avoid or deceive inspectors.

Also, pirates often operate in regions of developing or struggling countries with smaller navies and large trade routes. Pirates sometimes evade capture by sailing into waters controlled by their pursuer's enemies. With the end of the Cold War, navies have decreased size and patrol, and trade has increased, making organized piracy far easier. Modern pirates are sometimes linked with organized-crime syndicates, but often are parts of small individual groups. Pirate attack crews may consist of 4 to 10 sailors for going after a ship's safe (raiding) or up to 70 (depending entirely on the ships and the ships crew size) if the plan is to seize the whole vessel.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) maintains statistics regarding pirate attacks dating back to 1995. Their records indicate hostage-taking overwhelmingly dominates the types of violence against seafarers. For example in 2006, there were 239 attacks, 77 crew members were kidnapped and 188 taken hostage but only 15 of the pirate attacks resulted in murder. In 2007 the attacks rose by 10% to 263 attacks. There was a 35% increase on reported attacks involving guns. Crew members that were injured numbered 64 compared to just 17 in 2006. ICC Commercial Crime Services: IBM Piracy Report 2007 Accessed on January 22, 2008. That number does not include hostages/kidnapping where they were not injured.

The number of attacks within the first nine months of 2009 have already surpassed last year’s due to the increased pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia. Between January and September the number of attacks rose to 306 from 293. The pirates boarded the vessels in 114 cases and hijacked 34 of them so far in 2009. Gun use in pirate attacks has gone up to 176 cases from 76 last year.

In some cases, modern pirates are not interested in the cargo and are mainly interested in taking the personal belongings of the crew and the contents of the ship's safe, which might contain large amounts of cash needed for payroll and port fees. In other cases, the pirates force the crew off the ship and then sail it to a port to be repainted and given a new identity through false papers often purchased from corrupt or complicit officials.

Modern piracy can also take place in conditions of political unrest. For example, following the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnammarker, Thai piracy was aimed at the many Vietnamese who took to boats to escape. Further, following the disintegration of the government of Somaliamarker, warlords in the region have attacked ships delivering UN food aid.
Environmental action groups such as Sea Shepherd have been accused of engaging in piracy and terrorism when they sink ships by scuttling them, or ram them and throw butyric acid (rancid butter) on their decks, and in one instance illegally boarding a Japanese whaling vessel. While only non-lethal weapons are used by the Sea Shepherd ships, their tactics and methods are considered acts of piracy.

The attack against the U.S. cruise ship the Seabourn Spirit offshore of Somalia in November 2005 is an example of the sophisticated pirates mariners face. The pirates carried out their attack more than offshore with speedboats launched from a larger mother ship. The attackers were armed with automatic firearms and an RPG.

Many nations forbid ships to enter their territorial waters or ports if the crew of the ships are armed in an effort to restrict possible piracy. Shipping companies sometimes hire private armed security guards.

Modern definitions of piracy include the following acts:

In modern times, ships and airplanes are hijacked for political reasons as well. The perpetrators of these acts could be described as pirates (for instance, the French for "plane hijacker" is pirate de l'air, literally "air pirate"), but in English are usually termed "hijackers". An example is the hijacking of the Italianmarker civilian passenger ship Achille Lauro, which is generally regarded as an act of piracy.

Modern pirates also use a great deal of technology. It has been reported that crimes of piracy have involved the use of mobile phones, Satellite phones, GPS, Sonar systems, modern speedboats, Machetes, Combat knifes, assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, mounted machine guns, and even RPGs and grenade launchers.

Recent incidents

Map of contemporary pirate activity
  • During the Troubles in Northern Irelandmarker, two coaster ships were hijacked and sunk by the IRA in the span of one year, between February 1981 and February 1982.
  • In October 1985, the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked off the coast of Egypt by terrorists from the Palestine Liberation Organization. The terrorists demanded the release of PLO operatives imprisoned in Israel. Following the Israelis' refusal, the terrorists shot and killed disabled Jewish American tourist Leon Klinghoffer and dumped his body overboard.
  • A collision between the container ship Ocean Blessing and the hijacked tanker Nagasaki Spirit occurred in the Malacca Straitsmarker at about 23:20 on 19 September 1992. Pirates had boarded the Nagasaki Spirit, removed its captain from command, set the ship on autopilot and left with the ship's master for a ransom. The ship was left going at full speed with no one at the wheel. The collision and resulting fire took the lives of all the sailors of Ocean Blessing; from Nagasaki Spirit there were only 2 survivors. The fire on the Nagasaki Spirit lasted for six days; the fire aboard the Ocean Blessing burned for six weeks.
  • A Dutch motor tanker attacked outside the port of All Saints Bay in Brazil in November 1998. Multiple injuries.
  • The cargo ship Chang Song boarded and taken over by pirates posing as customs officials in the South China Sea in 1998. Entire crew of 23 was killed and their bodies thrown overboard. Six bodies were eventually recovered in fishing nets. A crackdown by the Chinese government resulted in the arrest of 38 pirates and the group's leader, a corrupt customs official, and 11 other pirates who were then executed.
  • The New Zealand environmentalist, yachtsman and public figure Sir Peter Blake was killed by Brazilian pirates in 2001.
  • Pirates boarded the supertanker Dewi Madrim in March 2003 in the Malacca Straitmarker. Articles like those written by the Economist indicate the pirates did not focus on robbing the crew or cargo, but instead focused on learning how to steer the ship and stole only manuals and technical information. However, the original incident report submitted to the IMO by the IMB would indicate these articles are incorrect and misleading. See also: Letter to the Editor of Foreign Affairs.
  • The American luxury liner The Seabourn Spirit was attacked by pirates in November 2005 off the Somalian coast. There was one injury to a crewmember; he was hit by shrapnel.
  • Pirates boarded the Danish bulk carrier Danica White in June 2007 near the coast of Somalia. USS Carter Hall tried to rescue the crew by firing several warning shots but wasn’t able to follow the ship into Somali waters.[8153]
  • In April 2008 pirates seized control of the French luxury yacht Le Ponant carrying 30 crew members off the coast of Somalia. The captives were released on payment of a ransom. The French military later captured some of the pirates, with the support of the provisional Somali government. On June 2, 2008, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution enabling the patrolling of Somali waters following this and other incidents. The Security Council resolution provided permission for six months to states cooperating with Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to enter the country's territorial waters and use "all necessary means" to stop "piracy and armed robbery at sea, in a manner consistent with international law."
  • Several more piracy incidents have occurred in 2008 including an Ukrainianmarker ship, the MV Faina, containing an arms consignment for Kenyamarker, including tanks and other heavy weapons, which was possibly heading towards an area of Somalia controlled by the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) after its hijacking by pirates before anchoring off the Somali coast. The Somali pirates—in a standoff with US missile destroyer the USS Howard—asked for a $20 million ransom for the 20 crew members it held; shots were heard from the ship, supposedly because of a dispute between pirates who wanted to surrender and those who didn't. In a separate incident, occurring near the same time (late September to early October), an Iranian cargo ship, MV Iran Deyanatship, departing from China, was boarded by pirates off Somalia. The ship's cargo was a matter of dispute, though some pirates have apparently been sickened, lost hair, suffered burns, and even died while on the ship. Speculations of chemical or even radioactive contents have been made.
  • On November 15, 2008, Somali pirates seized the supertanker MV Sirius Starmarker, 450 miles off the coast of Kenyamarker. The ship was carrying around $100 million worth of oil and had a 25-man crew. This marked the largest tonnage vessel ever seized by pirates.
  • On April 8, 2009, Somali pirates briefly captured the MV Maersk Alabama, a 17,000-ton cargo ship containing emergency relief supplies destined for Kenya. It was the latest in a week-long series of attacks along the Somali coast, and the first of these attacks to target a U.S.-flagged vessel. The crew took back control of the ship although the Captain was taken by the escaping pirates to a lifeboat . On Sunday, April 12, 2009, Capt. Richard Phillips was rescued, reportedly in good condition, from his pirate captors who were shot and killed by US Navy SEAL snipers. Vice Admiral William E. Gortney reported the rescue began when Commander Frank Castellano, captain of the Bainbridge, determined that Phillips' life was in imminent danger and ordered the action.
  • In July 2009 Finnishmarker-owned ship MV Arctic Sea sailing under Maltesemarker flag was allegedly hijacked in the territorial waters of Swedenmarker by a group of eight to ten pirates disguised as policemen. According to some sources, the pirates held the ship for 12 hours, went through the cargo and later released the ship and the crew. However, an investigation into the incident is underway amidst speculation regarding the ship's actual cargo, allegations of cover-up by Russian authorities and Israelimarker involvement.


Authorities estimate that only between 50% to as low as 10% of pirate attacks are actually reported (so as not to increase insurance premiums).

Successful attempts against piracy

International ships equipped with helicopters patrol the waters where pirate activity has been reported, but the area is very large. Some ships are equipped with anti-piracy weaponry such as a sonic device that sends a sonic wave out to a directed target, creating a sound so powerful that it bursts the eardrums and shocks pirates, causing them to become disoriented enough to drop their weapons, while the vessel being pursued increases speed and engages in evasive maneuvering.



Legal authority

There are legal barriers to prosecuting individuals captured in international waters. Countries are struggling to apply existing maritime law, international law, and their own laws, which limits them to having jurisdiction over their own citizens. According to piracy experts, the goal is to "deter and disrupt" pirate activity, and pirates are often detained, interrogated, disarmed, and released. With millions of dollars at stake, pirates have little incentive to stop.

Prosecutions are rare for several reasons. Modern laws against piracy are almost non-existent. For example, the Dutch are using a 17th-century law against "sea robbery" to prosecute. Warships that capture pirates have no jurisdiction to try them, and NATO does not have a detention policy in place. Prosecutors have a hard time assembling witnesses and finding translators, and countries are reluctant to imprison pirates because they would be saddled with them upon their release.

Commerce raiders

A wartime activity similar to piracy involves disguised warships called commerce raiders or merchant raiders, which attack enemy shipping commerce, approaching by stealth and then opening fire. Commerce raiders operated successfully during the American Revolution. During the American Civil War, the Confederacy sent out several commerce raiders, the most famous of which was the CSS Alabamamarker. During World War I and World War II, Germanymarker also made use of these tactics, both in the Atlanticmarker and Indian Oceansmarker. Since commissioned naval vessels were openly used, these commerce raiders should not be considered even privateers, much less pirates—although the opposing combatants were vocal in denouncing them as such.

In international law

Effects on international boundaries

During the 18th century, the Britishmarker and the Dutchmarker controlled opposite sides of the Straits of Malaccamarker. Some pirates carried on activities similar to armed rebellion with the aim of resisting the colonisers . In order to put a stop to this, the British and the Dutch drew a line separating the Straits into two halves. The agreement was that each party would be responsible for combating piracy in their respective half. Eventually this line became the border between Malaysiamarker and Indonesiamarker in the Straits.

Law of nations

Piracy is of note in international law as it is commonly held to represent the earliest invocation of the concept of universal jurisdiction. The crime of piracy is considered a breach of jus cogens, a conventional peremptory international norm that states must uphold. Those committing thefts on the high seas, inhibiting trade, and endangering maritime communication are considered by sovereign states to be hostis humani generis (enemies of humanity).

For a different opinion on Pirates as Hostis Humani Generis see Caninas, Osvaldo Peçanha. Modern Maritime Piracy: History, Present Situation and Challenges to International Law. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISA - ABRI JOINT INTERNATIONAL MEETING, Pontifical Catholic University, Rio de Janeiro Campus (PUC-Rio), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 22, 2009

In the United States, criminal prosecution of piracy is authorized in the U.S. Constitution, Art. I Sec. 8 cl. 10:

The Congress shall have Power ... To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;


In English admiralty law, piracy was defined as petit treason during the medieval period, and offenders were accordingly liable to be drawn and quartered on conviction. Piracy was redefined as a felony during the reign of Henry VIII. In either case, piracy cases were cognizable in the courts of the Lord High Admiral. English admiralty vice-admiralty judges emphasized that "neither Faith nor Oath is to be kept" with pirates; i.e. contracts with pirates and oaths sworn to them were not legally binding. Pirates were legally subject to summary execution by their captors if captured in battle. In practice, instances of summary justice and annulment of oaths and contracts involving pirates do not appear to have been common.

Since piracy often takes place outside the territorial waters of any state, the prosecution of pirates by sovereign states represents a complex legal situation. The prosecution of pirates on the high seas contravenes the conventional freedom of the high seas. However, because of universal jurisdiction, action can be taken against pirates without objection from the flag state of the pirate vessel. This represents an exception to the principle extra territorium jus dicenti impune non paretur (the judgment of one who is exceeding his territorial jurisdiction may be disobeyed with impunity).

In 2008 the British Foreign Officemarker advised the Royal Navy not to detain pirates of certain nationalities as they might be able to claim asylum in Britain under British human rights legislation, if their national laws included execution, or mutilation as a judicial punishment for crimes committed as pirates.

International conventions

UNCLOS Article 101: Definition

In the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982, "maritime piracy" consists of:
(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:
:(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;
:(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;
(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;
(c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).


IMB Definition

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) defines piracy as:
the act of boarding any vessel with an intent to commit theft or any other crime, and with an intent or capacity to use force in furtherance of that act.


In popular culture

"Mic the Scallywag" of the Pirates of Emerson Haunted Adventure Fremont, CA.


Pirates are a frequent topic in fiction and are associated with certain stereotypical manners of speaking and dress, some of them wholly fictional: "nearly all our notions of their behavior come from the golden age of fictional piracy, which reached its zenith in 1881 with the appearance of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island." Some inventions of pirate culture such as "walking the plank" were popularized by J. M. Barrie's novel, Peter Pan, where Captain Hook's pirates helped define the fictional pirate archetype. Robert Newton's portrayal of Long John Silver in Disney's 1950 film adaptation of Treasure Island also helped define the modern rendition of a pirate, including the stereotypical "pirate" accent. Other influences include Sinbad the Sailor, and the recent Pirates of the Caribbean films have helped kindle modern interest in piracy and have succeeded quite handsomely in box office grosses.

The classic Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance focuses on The Pirate King and his hopeless band of pirates on the South coast of England. The Pirate King is often believed to be inspiration for Jack Sparrow. One of the stereotypical features of a pirate, the eye patch, dates back to the Arab pirate Rahmah ibn Jabir al-Jalahimah who wore it after losing an eye in battle in the 18th century .

Pirates are also common mascots and names of sports teams.

See also



References

Bibliography





Further reading

  • I Sailed With Chinese Pirates by Aleko Lilius, Oxford University Press, USA, October 17, 1991,ISBN 0195852974.
  • Contemporary Maritime Piracy in Southeast Asia. By: Chalk, Peter. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, January-March 1998, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p87, 26p, 1 chart; (AN 286864).
  • Dangerous Waters, Modern Piracy and Terror on the High Seas, by John S. Burnett. Dutton, 2003, Plume, 2003-2004, New York. (ISBN 0-452-28413-9).
  • Japanese Anti-Piracy Initiatives in Southeast Asia. By: Bradford, John. Contemporary Southeast Asia, December 2004, Vol. 26 Issue 3, p480-505, 26p; (AN 15709264).
  • Maritime Piracy and Anti-Piracy Measures. By: Herrmann, Wilfried. Naval Forces, 2004, Vol. 25 Issue 2, p18-25, 6p; (AN 13193917).
  • Maritime Piracy in Southeast Asia. By: Liss, Carolin. Southeast Asian Affairs, 2003, p52, 17p; (AN 10637324).
  • Modern Piracy. Naval Forces, 2005, Vol. 26 Issue 5, p20-31, 7p; (AN 18506590).
  • Terror on the High Seas. By: Koknar, Ali. Security Management, June 2004, Vol. 48 Issue 6, p75-81, 6p; (AN 13443749)
  • Goodman, Timothy H. 'Leaving the Corsair's name to other times:' How to enforce the law of sea piracy in the 21st century through regional international agreements / Timothy H. Goodman In: Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, vol.31 (Winter 1999) nr.1, P.: 139-168.
  • Piracy:Out of Sight, Out of Mind?, Goorangai, RANR Occasional Papers, August (2006) Royal Australian Navy
  • Modern Maritime Piracy: History, Present Situation and Challenges to International Law, Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISA - ABRI Joint Internation Meeting, Pontifical Catholic University, Rio de Janeiro Campus (PUC-Rio), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 22, 2009. All Academic Inc.


Notes

  1. Peirates, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, "A Greek-English Lexicon", at Perseus.
  2. Peira, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, "A Greek-English Lexicon", at Perseus.
  3. The Pirates Hold - Piracy Timeline.
  4. Phoenician Economy and Trade.
  5. Again, according to Suetonius's chronology (Julius 4). Plutarch (Caesar 1.8-2) says this happened earlier, on his return from Nicomedes's court. Velleius Paterculus (Roman History 2:41.3-42 says merely that it happened when he was a young man.
  6. Plutarch, Caesar 1-2.
  7. The Pirates of St. Tropez.
  8. Piracy on Crete, Creta News.
  9. H Thomas Milhorn, Crime: Computer Viruses to Twin Towers, Universal Publishers, 2004. ISBN 1-58112-489-9.
  10. Findly, Elison B (April - June 1988). "The Capture of Maryam-uz-Zamānī's Ship: Mughal Women and European Traders," Journal of the American Oriental Society, 108 (2): 227-238.
  11. Gemma Pitcher,Patricia C. Wright. " Madagascar & Comoros " p.178.
  12. " Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800". Robert Davis (2004) ISBN 1403945519
  13. Leeson, Peter T. “An-arrghchy: The Law and Economics of Pirate Organization.” Journal of Political Economy 115, no. 6 (2007): 1049-1094. pg 1066 University of Chicago
  14. Piratesofamerica.com
  15. The Hudson River Valley Institute
  16. University of Notre Dame
  17. p. 251.
  18. p. 16.
  19. p. 157.
  20. Pirates by John Matthews
  21. Rees Davies, British Slaves on the Barbary Coast, BBC, July 1, 2003.
  22. Kelsey, Harry, Sir Francis Drake; The Queen's Pirate, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1998, ISBN 0-300-07182-5.
  23. Privateering and the Private Production of Naval Power, Gary M. Anderson and Adam Gifford Jr.
  24. Brewer, John. The Sinews of Power: War, Money, and the English State, 1688-1783. New York.: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989. p. 197.
  25. Privateers or Merchant Mariners help win the Revolutionary War.
  26. Privateers.
  27. US Navy Fleet List War of 1812.
  28. The Confederate Privateers.
  29. BBC Piracy documentary.
  30. Piracy at Somalian coasts.
  31. Security Management:Piracy on the high seas Accessed on October 23, 2007.
  32. World pirate attacks surge in 2009 due to Somalia
  33. "Anarchy at Sea" Atlantic Monthly. September, 2003.
  34. "Piracy is still troubling the shipping industry: report; Industry fears revival of attacks though current situation has improved," The Business Times Singapore. August 14, 2006.
  35. Maritimesecurity.com article, Guns On Board.
  36. Latitude 38, the West's Leading Sailing and Marine Magazine]
  37. Shooting reported on pirate ship surrounded by U.S. destroyer Doug Stanglin, USA Today blog, September 30, 2008.
  38. Mysterious Cargo Aboard Iranian Ship Seized by Pirates Raises WMD Concerns Joseph Abrams, September 30, 2008. Quotation by "Jonathan Tucker, a senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies": "It's baffling. I'm not aware of any chemical agent that produces loss of hair within a few days. That's more suggestive of high levels of radioactive waste."
  39. US cargo ship evades Somali pirate attack. Associated Press
  40. Pirates attack tanker; NATO frees 20 fishermen. Associated Press, April 18, 2009
  41. Black's Law Dictionary.
  42. Adams, C. "The Straight Dope", October 12, 2007 The Straight Dope - Fighting Ignorance Since 1973


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