Software piracy, movie piracy and even music piracy comes to mind in modern times, besides a few areas around the world where real pirates still lurk. But just why did they wear gold earrings? And were pirates any different to modern day pirates or thieves of today?
In reality, pirates are usually the lowest of the low of peoples. Common thieves grouped together on a boat. Similar to gangs of car thieves of today who operate in groups to work together to get something for free off the back of someone else’s hard work.
Interestingly, pirates used to wear gold earrings to pay for a decent funeral. Jewels plundered were in fact not so popular to target as they were harder to sell than gold. In fact, there is a story of one pirate who felt let down when he was given a large sized diamond in contrast to smaller diamonds given to his crew mates. So he had it broken into smaller diamonds inline with his fellow pirates booty. Even though this larger diamond would have been worth more, it would have been a headache to sell.
A plundered ship could be worth a year’s salary and there was always the chance of landing a huge booty from a plundered ship that just happened to be carrying a plentiful cargo. One of the largest amounts of money made on a single plunder of a ship was after the capture of the Spanish frigate named ‘Herminoe’ in 1762. Each pirate would have come away with around $1.5 million dollars in today’s money.
As for punishment if you were caught as a pirate in the past? In the 17th and 18th centuries death was usually dealt in the form of a public hanging, which was considered hearty entertainment back in those days, maybe even as popular as ‘Eastenders’ is in England. This show drains so much electricity that some electricity is actually borrowed from France. It also drains my life force when I am forced to watch it around someone’s house, but that’s another story and nothing to do with pirates 😉
If it were a more infamous pirate than normal, an iron cage would be measured to fit the prisoner, then they would be hoisted up and left to swing to and fro for up to 2 years – until the flesh of the prisoner would be completely rotted or picked clean. Â And that’s not a nice thought you want popping into your head as you bite into a delicious Zinger burger.
Privateers were commissioned pirates, given written permission to attack enemy ships of that nation. This way the pirates could not be arrested for acts of piracy, as long as they were attacking enemy ships.
Modern day piracy is still a problem in modern times, particularly in the span of ocean between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean near the Somali coastline. These pirates are armed and target smaller boats with fewer crew members so that they can overpower the vessel. Modern day pirates prefer to operate off the coasts of developing countries with small navy fleets and a slower emergency response time. Some modern day pirates are more interested in robbing the crew of their personal possessions and then disposing of the crew, so that they can respray the boat and obtain false ownership papers, then sell the boat.
The number of modern day pirates is actually increasing. Modern day Somali pirates can earn up to 150 times more than the average national wage.
So, how do you protect yourself from pirates in this modern age? Well, based on the facts that we’ve looked at . . .
1) Option 1: If you happen to be in an unarmed boat off the Somali coastline, hide all your valuables and pretend you’ve been robbed already. Throw some fish blood over the deck and ask a few friends to lay Â down as if fatally wounded.
2) Option 2: If approached by pirates, make out you’re attacking the boat too, say you have disposed of the crew and share your booty with them. Say that you and your fellow pirates (who were really only passengers) are preparing for a big job and ask them if they want in. Then, stick around with them long enough to make it to shore and then do a runner.
3) Option 3: Douse the boat in petrol before they reach you, then ram it straight into them. NB: Remember to jump overboard with a floatation device after radioing for help however.
4) Don’t even get into a boat off the Somali coastline in the first place !?! Do something else, like hiring a camper van to travel around instead. Or just book a plane ticket. Or just stay at home and crack open a few beers. If it’s a company moving goods, use FedEx or a plane, it’s quicker too.
Article by Kevin Baker
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