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Piracy in the 21st century

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Title: Piracy in the 21st century  
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Piracy in the 21st century

Type of dhow used by modern pirates

Piracy in the 21st century is most often associated with the actions of Somali pirates, especially since 2005. During the second phase of the Somali Civil War, acts of piracy in the region have risen dramatically.

2001-2004

Since the late 20th century, piracy has been on the rise. Between 2001 and 2005, the main piracy hotspots included the coasts of India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and West Africa.

In 2001, the South China Sea, 14 in the Malacca Strait, 13 in the Indian Ocean, four off the coast of West Africa and one in the Philippines. On New Year's Day alone, five fishing vessels were raided by a small group of pirates off the coast of Patharghata, Bangladesh; and later that day, the same group raided ships off Manderbaria, Bangladesh. In March, the crew of the Actuaria held off three boarding attempts while docked in Chittagong, Bangladesh. On 6 December, Sir Peter Blake, prominent New Zealand yachtsman and winner of the America's Cup in 1995 and 2000, was shot and killed while defending against pirates attempting to board his 119-ft. schooner Seamaster at the mouth of the Amazon River.

In 2002, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and India were ranked as the top three countries with reported acts of piracy numbering 102, 32 and 18 attacks respectively. In 2003, 334 acts of piracy are reported in the first nine months of the year, an increase from 271 during the previous year. 2004 saw about 325 acts of piracy, including 93 attacks in Indonesia and 39 in Nigeria. 30 deaths were reported in association with these acts.

Notable raids

Image Flag (owner) Name (class) Crew (cargo) Status Date of attack Coordinates
Date of release Ransom demanded
 Bangladesh Dilruba
(Fishing)
unknown
(unknown)
Attacked February 2001 unknown
n/a n/a
Boarded off Patharghata. In a gun fight leaving one crew member wounded, the pirates stole supplies worth $139,373.
 Panama Jasper
(Cargo)
unknown
(unknown)
March 9, 2001 unknown
n/a n/a
Looted of $11,000 off the coast of Kosichang, Thailand by what was suspected to be members of a Thailand organized crime organization.
 Indonesia Inabukwa
(Cargo)
unknown
(unknown)
Attacked March 15, 2001 unknown
(2 weeks later) n/a
Boarded off the coast of Malaysia and, after marooning the crew on a nearby uninhabited island, the pirates escaped with the ship's cargo of tin ingots and pepper valued at $2,170,000. The ship was recovered by Filipino authorities two weeks later, following the arrest of the pirates.
 Panama Marine Universal
(Cargo)
unknown
(unknown)
Attacked May 2001 unknown
n/a n/a
Boarded by four pirates while at an anchorage in Lagos Harbor, Nigeria. Armed with long knives, they took one sailor hostage, and later threw him overboard.
 Thailand unknown
(Commercial Fishing Boat)
unknown
(unknown)
Hijacked 2010 unknown
n/a n/a
The attack took place closer to India; however, the pirates took the boats and fisherman back to Somalia. The pirates held them for ransom until they received what they had asked for.
 Italy unknown
(Cruise Ship)
unknown
(unknown)
Attacked 2009 unknown
n/a n/a
About 500 miles off the coast of Somalia, pirates tried to attack an Italian cruise ship carrying nearly 1,500 people in 2009. An Israeli security team had been contracted to protect the cruise liner. Security personnel returned fire when the pirates started firing at the ship. The presence of a security team caused the pirates to turn around and abandon the attack.
 United States unknown
(Sail Boat)
unknown
(unknown)
Hijacked 2011 unknown
n/a n/a
In 2011 Somali pirates killed four American hostages. The pirates had hijacked a sail boat from the Arabian Sea and taken the people aboard hostage, a retired couple from California. When the US Navy got too close, the pirates panicked and shot the hostages. The Navy spokesperson said they did not understand why the hostages would be killed, when the pirates' motive is to hold hostages for ransom.

2005-2010: Somali piracy

Collage of Somali pirates

2005 saw a dramatic rise in piracy off the coast of Somalia, coinciding with the second phase of that country's civil war. Pirates effectively cut the UN supply lines bringing food into the country during part of the year, hijacking at least 33 vessels.

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