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What does Jack Sparrow have to do with modern piracy?

Jack Sparrow, the arguably most famous pirate ever is back and casts a shadow on a current topic: “modern piracy”.

Jack Sparrow, the most famous pirate ever, is back. His huge success in theaters and on TV made him famous around the word. However, the story riddled with nautical romance, hidden treasures and a Jolly Roger blowing in the wind casts a shadow on a current topic: “modern piracy”.

If you think you can find good and bad pirates in the real world like they are portrayed in the movie you are mistaken, because when it comes to piracy most people only lose! The Cambridge Dictionary defines piracy as “the act of attacking ships in order to steal from them”.

Piracy is nothing new, because this kind of crime has been taking place for over 3000 years. Unlike in the past, modern piracy is categorized as organized crime. Modern pirates don’t carry cutlasses, swords or muskets but modern weapons, and they don’t hiss the Jolly Roger anymore either. They also don’t wear eyepatches or Turkish trousers but look like fisherman or even wear a uniform to deceive freighter crews. Their goals are also new. In the past it was mostly about the cargo, but today they often demand ransom.

In 2016, The IMB Piracy Reporting Center recorded 191 incidents of piracy across the globe, including 7 ship hijacks, 50% of which were carried out by armed pirates. The number of ransom demands for kidnapped sailors rose from 19 to 62 incidents. 8 crew members were injured during the attacks. The number of kidnapped crew members reached the highest level in 10 years.

Most incidents happen along important nautical routes at the African, South American and Asian coast, and near island groups.

Today, piracy is categorized into the following categories: organized crime, state-licensed piracy (the so-called privateering), and piracy because of personal distress.

The funny piracy shown in theaters doesn’t have anything to do with the real world. We love Jack Sparrow but it would nice if this kind of crime was only seen in movies, because these stories have a happy ending there, which is not always case in the real world. Of course, you have to consider the future prospects of most young men in developing countries that make a living being a pirate, and how they work towards our governments supporting them to have an alternative life.

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