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Modern piracy, mapped

Posted by Christopher Shea  November 24, 2008 07:02 AM

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Pirates! Shipping companies begrudge them the name, considering them thugs. On the other hand, the officials charged with dealing with the piratical thugs offer up a kind of grudging admiration. They can capture vessels like the Sirius Star, 300 yards long and carrying oil worth $100 million -- one quarter of Saudi Arabia's output for a day. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, professes himself "stunned" by the range and ambition of the attacks.

The "Live Piracy Map 2008,", created by the International Chamber of Commerce gives you a sense of what shipping companies are dealing with. Zoom in the Gulf of Aden, for example, adjacent to lawless Somalia, and see why some lines are pretending the Suez Canal never existed, and diverting their vessels around the Cape of Good Hope.

piracysomalia.jpg

You can click on the icons indicating attacks to read incident reports filed with the International Maritime Bureau. As BLDGBLG points out, these could provide grist for some future Patrick O'Brian: "Two white hull boats with several persons onboard approached aggressively a chemical tanker underway with intent to board. Master raised alarm, increased speed, took evasive manoeuvres and contacted coalition forces … crew mustered."

(Screengrab via BLDGBLG.)

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