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Maritime Safety Security and Piracy

CHAPTER 7 SHIP PIRACY: SHIP TYPE AND FLAG SHIP PIRACY: SHIP TYPE AND FLAG 1 1. INTRODUCTION Piracy in its various forms is undoubtedly the oldest threat to maritime security. Ancient accounts record piracy as having been a menace to the security and efficiency of the flourishing Minoan maritime commerce in the eastern Mediterranean as early as 4,000 years ago (Sestier, 1880; Dubner, 1980; Ormerod, 1997; Rubin, 1998; Sundberg, 1999). The most popular image of pirates, however, comes from a relatively more recent past. Mention of the word pirate to the non-maritime person evokes colourful images of swashbucklers from the eighteenth and nineteenth century Caribbean. This is a notion that regrettably endures due to a literary and cinematic tradition that portrays pirates as romantic and rebellious, if extinct, adventurers of a bygone era. Indeed, by the end of the nineteenth century, the global and regional threats of piracy were virtually eradicated “as a result of strong punitive action by legitimate users of the sea”. (Brittin, 1986, p. 116). Unfortunately, this proved to be merely a short-lived respite. In the 1970s, less than a century after piracy’s supposed demise, a steady rise in the number of attacks ushered in the present phenomenon of modern piracy.

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