Pirates – Past, Present and Yes, Future
by Matthew D. Shaffer on July 30, 2012
According to, Tom Oertling, a Texas A&M University at Galveston professor, pirates that have plagued this earth for the last 3,000 years will continue to do so, and be quite successful at it. The number of incidents has actually increased in the last couple of decades. Looking at numbers from the International Chamber of Commerce, there have been over 1,500 attacks since 2008. Almost 450 of those attacks took place in 2010 and only a little more than halfway through this year there have already been at least 160.
There are three big differences between pirates of the past and present. First, the types of weapons they use - instead of muskets they use automatic guns. Second, the amount of money they demand - instead of pieces of silver, they demand millions of dollars and last - they don’t use a rowboat, but high speed boats that can easily catch up to any ship.
It is also very difficult to arrest and prosecute a pirate. For one, the companies they go after find it easier to pay the ransom rather than involve the authorities. Paying 2-3 million dollars is easier and safer for their ship and employees and does very little to their bottom line. Second, the pirates share the money they get and are looked at as local heroes and finally, the pirates sometimes go after companies that are corrupt and will give up the money without a fight to keep things quiet.
Modern day pirates are here to stay until something changes, either the price gets too high or they have to deal with consequences, like jail time.
The maritime lawyers of Schechter McElwee Shaffer & Harris L.L.P. have had success in dealing with cases of maritime piracy. Call today to get the help you need in filing a claim.