Like many people, I recently thoroughly enjoyed that rather silly movie romp, Pirates of the Caribbean, full of English toffs in redcoats, ghostly pirates with bad teeth, not to mention luscious wenches relying on the dubious chivalry and charm of Johnny Depp. However, lest we think piracy belongs to the era of men in wigs with parrots on their shoulders, I have news to report.
Seaborne piracy is rising fast in many parts of the world. It is particularly virulent in parts of Southeast Asia, for example in and around the coastlands of the vast stretch of islands making up Indonesia. Today’s Caribbean and the Indian Ocean are also dangerous. A while back, while I was spending a wonderful day ogling at unattainably expensive sailing yachts at the London International Boatshow, I grabbed hold of a book warning amateur sailors about the perils of being held to ransom by pirates in oceans all over the world. At the very least, you would be nuts to embark on a long passage without carrying at least two workeable firearms.
But as the report I link to makes clear, there is increasingly an ideological slant to modern piracy. In Indonesia, it appears that Islamic militants, like terrorists the world over, are mixing their religious fervour with the juicy temptations of crime.
I am frankly surprised that there has not been more written on how easy it would be for a terrorist group to get hold of even a small sized motor boat, fill it chockfull of explosives, sail it up the Thames, the Rhine or any other major river you can think of, and blow it up. As an aside, I continue to be amazed at how relatively easy it is to sail into a marina without necessarily having to immediately declare any ID. On a recent trip to France by yacht I never once was required to show so much as a passport.