Elizabeth Swann is equipped a laser cannon and taser stun system to ward off
inquisitive intruders. She is also equipped with the world's most powerful onboard AI,
artificially intelligent supercomputer system, as part of the management of
her energy and navigation integration.
scripts for Kulo-Luna and
Cleopatra The Mummy are published with
development for 2024 release. The three films could be shot back to back -
as a franchise - to
make the most of the Elizabeth Swann. Screenplays available in Final Draft
format for Studio executives, producers & directors.
is a pulsed laser cannon,
even capable of shooting down incoming missiles. Or,
piercing the hull of pirate ships. 'Modern' Piracy being particularly
prevalent around the Horn of Africa (Somalia), Gulf of Guinea, Strait of
Malacca, and Sulu and Celebes Sea. It's a dangerous world we live in. Where
social inequality drives desperate men to capture and kidnap unwary sea
captains. Modern pirates
look to capture luxury yachts and commercial ships like tankers, where the
owners might pay a handsome price, to get their vessels and loved ones back.
and aft laser cannons can deliver powerful strikes, or warning shots.
Should pirates persist, or somehow manage to clamber onboard, they will
receive verbal warnings, and then a mild taser shock. If that does not dissuade
them from further aggression, the intruders get a full stun shock, typically
incapacitating them. But this would only be used in a potentially life
is the Elizabeth Swann's, precision, long range detection and targeting system.
Together, these weapons they make a formidable combination. The system is
named after the King
AND DAN DISCOVER THE LASER CANNON
330 20’S, 1520 E – Nelson’s Bay, and a cove on the Australian East Coast. The Elizabeth Swann glided silently through the giant roll up doorway. She had completed her maiden voyage with flying colours. John expertly piloted the vessel into the wet hangar with Dan watching every move interestedly. He applied reverse thrust to bring the boat to a halt. The two men had grins from ear to ear. The boat was full of surprises, but there was much to learn. The two colleagues exited the command module along the under-deck walkway, then down the port wing walkway, and excitedly tied up
Elizabeth fore and aft, eager to compare notes and grab some tucker. “I could eat a horse” said Dan, “adventuring is a hungry business!” “Watch this,” said John as he pulled a small key fob sized transmitter from his trouser pocket. He pressed one of the buttons, and all the hatches closed and locked. “She’s now alarmed.” Impressed, Dan raised his eyebrows and nodded, even though it was he who mostly wired up the boat.
Without wasting any time, Dan prodded the kick start lever on his trusty Honda dirt bike. The 600cc four stroke engine sprang into life.
“Back in a jiffy skip,” he shouted donning a helmet, as he headed for the exit and Raymond Terrace.
“The usual?” “You beauty,” acknowledged John, exaggerating his slight Aussie accent, and with that the Honda blazed a dust trail, along the wharf, front wheel grabbing air, amid a purposeful whaaa, whaaa and some well timed gear shifting.
“Kids,” mooted John, thinking back to his hey days on two wheels, wistfully.
Thirty minutes later, the two men sat munching on ½ pound burgers with everything, French fries, and sucked milk shakes through a twirl straw, just like a couple of students. The light was dim in the hangar with the fluorescents off and the outer doors closed.
“I’ve always hankered after the perfect burger.”
“Me too,” said Dan, “super size me.”
“Nah, I’m into quality. A balanced meal nutritionally. Protein, roughage and salad. It’s gotta be a custom deal. In fact, I’ve never found a perfect burger, not even in any high-class restaurants. Come close to the perfect desert though, at a place in
Sussex. Ever heard of Banoffi pie.” They ate their fill at record pace.
“Naughty,” both men said at the same time, wiping the flour
and licking their lips.
The Swann gently bobbed as a large MFV passed by the jetty outside, catching the captain’s attention. John’s eyebrows arched, his eyes narrowed, quizzically. He’d noticed again there was a round plate below the nose of the command module. He squinted, concentrating on the panel. Something important should fill that void? Was it just forward planning, or was something missing. He’d left the detail stuff to Dan, but didn’t like question marks. It was odds on that something was missing. It bothered him, Dan too.
“Let’s have a tidy up,” said John, leaping up.
He collected all the burger packaging and deposited that in large wheelie bin. They didn’t know where to start? There were empty boxes everywhere. In fact, a big pile had accumulated to one side of the hangar as boxed parts had been taken off the racks of shelving, the parts fitted and the boxes discarded. John opened the side door to a stream of light flickering on dust particles. He motioned outside, and started carrying flattened cardboard outside.
“We’ll take this to recycling tomorrow first thing.” Both men then raced each other, to load a
VW camper van and a trailer. Finally, the hangar was cleared ready for sweeping.
“What’s in this crate?” said Dan, brushing a heap of accumulated dust onto the floor, from a canvas covered pine crate 1 metre by 1.5 metres by 2 metres, with rope handles at either end.
Somehow this box had been overlooked, tucked away in the corner, covered in a natural beige tarpaulin. John came over carrying a canvas toolbag that had seen a lot of wear. The duo pulled off the tarp, amid more dust clouds, emerging with mucky faces, somewhat bemused.
“No time like the present,” said John, pulling a gorilla bar from his bag. He carefully inserted the sharp chiselled end under one corner, pushing hard. The corner lifted twenty millimetres, allowing him to apply more leverage. Then fifty millimetres. Working his way along, one whole side lifted enough to prize the lid off completely.
Inside the crate was compartmentalised, which in itself seemed unusual. All the parts were wrapped in a soft cloth, with a metal film coated plastic foam wrapping underneath. Obviously, sensitive electrical components.
“Hold on,” said Dan. “We’d better take precautions.” He turned on the fluorescent lights and laid out a clean dust cloth of the type used by decorators, over a metal framed worktop. He earthed himself, then unwrapped the components one by one, laying them on the cloth.
“This looks like some kind of advanced cannon,” said John.
Dan was thinking the same, nodding in agreement. The two men stood silently staring at the gleaming array of precision engineered parts, a gimballed, motorised mechanism, some kind of telescopic aimer and a satin matt black tubular assembly with giant heat sink fins. There was also a good deal of cabling and some black control boxes. Finally, there was a beautifully bound A5 instruction booklet.
“Ah, ha”, Dan leapt on the manual.
OUTING OF THE LASER CANNON: SOMALI PIRATES
90,30’N, 520 E – A bright orange sun slowly rose above the gently lapping waters of the
Ocean, climbing high into the eastern sky. The air was warm and dry and an offshore breeze carried with it a hint of dry grass. The ripples reflected the giant orb, turning dark grey to blue. It was going to be another beautiful African day.
Somaliland, the horn of Africa, is a vast natural expanse of untrained flora and arid dunes. Four silhouettes stirred from slumber, breaking camp and dousing their fire. In a dawn raid a small untidy red and yellow pirate boat was being pushed down the beach at Bender Beila, on the west coast. The sun climbed higher revealing four lithe dark men in loose clothing purposefully rolling their boat, nicknamed ‘Dollars,’ into the sea in typical beach launched fashion on logs. Once into the surf, all the men quickly boarded the boat. The last man started the boat’s large V6 Mercury engine. ‘Dollars’ then quickly sped off from the shore out to sea amid the changing pitch of it’s outboard and considerable sea spray, as the propeller reached its efficiency range.
The pirates were heavily armed with a deck-gun and each crew member bore automatic weapons, and one of the group a portable missile launcher and a huge toothy smile. The pirates had been camped on watch, on a tip off, waiting for an unusual looking ship. They’d been offered a handsome payment to capture the database on board. When the
Swann hove into view; at first, it seemed a rather daunting target for the
pirates, for its unusual design. But, they quickly decided that it was small and easy to overpower, and potentially rich pickings. With a customer already in the wings it seemed easy cash. The remainder of the craft and it’s crew, were icing on the cake, to be ransomed in the usual way.
As the pirates came to within 1000 metres, their boat, triggered an automatic proximity alarm on the
Swann’s radar system. Coming in closer from behind and on a direct bearing, their approach raised the alarm bleep level many decibels, waking a slumbering John Storm who was slouched in the command chair half asleep, unshaven, with his hat over his eyes. John tilted his hat up at the front to scan the ships radar with one eye and noticed a fast moving blip on the radar screen, heading straight for his ship, represented as the centre of the screen. He reached out to the console, and tapped a few buttons on a small computer style pad, which brought up a picture of the pirate vessel on a separate large flat-screen display, which he zoomed into and locked onto as a target, simply by tapping a dedicated target button. Oh hell, he thought to himself, shaking himself to regain full composure, just when I thought it was safe to grab a few winks.
The Elizabeth Swann had an excellent autopilot system in Hal,
that lulled the crew into a state of reliance, which many yachtsmen succumb to, especially when short handed. No point in having a dog and barking yourself, say some, but keeping an alert deck watch habit, is a sailor’s must.
John and his techie buddy, Dan Hawk, had sailed from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where they’d enjoyed meeting a distinguished group of archaeologists who were on an anthropological field trip in the famous rift valley, the cradle of modern man. They wanted access to the
‘Ark’, the now famous onboard
DNA archive, which John had spent many years developing as a student. In exchange, John had been given some more rare samples to increase his database, a sort of intellectual swaps. The last thing that John or Dan wanted when on such a mission, was any complications, and certainly nothing that might threaten the safety of the
Elizabeth Swann, which was itself a technological showpiece. However, the Ark it would seem, was in high demand. They were heading to El Iskandariya, formerly
Alexandria, via the Red
John reached for a mike and spoke into it quietly. “Dan, are you there buddy, over.” He flipped the switch to receive. He knew Dan was in his bunk, probably fast asleep. While waiting for a reply, John flipped open a plain flap on the command console, almost impossible to see, if you didn’t know it was there. Inside, was a sunken joystick, which he moved, and immediately green cross-hairs appeared on the screen. At the same time an external panel on the nose of the
Swann opened to reveal a compact and harmless looking matt black tube with fins along the barrel, only just visible, which was guided remotely from inside the ship with incredible accuracy. John moved the joystick, tracking the boat with the green sights, which turned red as the vessel came into sight of the weapon. The pirate boat had now slowed somewhat to gain attention from the rear helm, which was unmanned. So they accelerated to get ahead of the
Swann and lurched to pass on the port side of the ship just ahead, as they noticed the gleaming windshields, in preparation for what looked like their attack. They were completely unaware that they’d been spotted and tracked for the last 700 metres.
John armed the ships laser cutter, 'Excalibur,' switching to pulse mode, when powerful releases of energy had the same effect as a cannon, except that the firing was near silent. John hit the record button on another pad on the console. He wanted this on a hard-drive, just in case of recriminations from any of the neighbouring authorities, who frequently patrolled this stretch of ocean. Thankfully, the ships cameras recorded in hi resolution, similar to broadcast quality, to capture every detail.
Large capacitors stored up to 2000 kilowatts of energy for an instant burst release, not unlike that from a CDI spark plug ignition system, only much beefier discharge, which the ships batteries could not deliver without damage to their electrodes. Unaware of the danger his crew were in, the leader of the pirates, a tall lean man, wearing a dirty grey sweatshirt and baggy blue trousers, lifted a hailer to his mouth. He
signaled to a mate carrying a rusty big bore rifle, to fire a warning shot at
Swann's hull. “Dan, are you about old chum,” said John into his handheld microphone. Before any reply came, a shot thumped into the
Swann’s 5083 alloy hull, just below the front port windshield. “That’s done it,” said John involuntarily, as he instinctively pressed the fire button. John would have to repair that hole, and the culprits would pay.
The Somali’s didn’t feel the strike, which vaporised their thin aluminium stern plating
at the water line with just a squeal of steam, as the waves splashed about their hull and they waved their weapons at the
Swann, as if their favourite football team had just scored a goal, in premature victory salute. A hole about seventy millimetres in diameter had opened up thirty centimetres
underwater as their boat bobbed. The pirate captain clicked the button to shout his demands at the
Swann's crew, through his loud hailer, then felt something was wrong as his boat had stopped bobbing quite so much and was lower in the water. He looked back at his mate on the tiller, who looked forward, equally puzzled and shrugged.
Seawater was gushing into the pirate boat sucking it down at the rate of ten millimetres a second. As the pirates struggled to come to terms with the sinking of their boat, they looked at one another accusingly, wondering if they should fire another shot at the strange ship, while looking for clues about the boat. The pirate captain was silent in confusion. Twenty seconds later and they were ankle deep in water, at which point they knew their boat was doomed. Hastily, one pirate unpacked an inflatable canister, and pulled the cord to inflate it. Another pirate rushed to help, and they launched it over the side, throwing
their weapons into it. They just managed to jump into the water alongside, before their boat slid gently under the waves, amid a flurry of froth and flotsam, the deck gun the last part to disappear.
John slowed Elizabeth such as to keep the pirates ahead. “Dan, Dan, where are you?.” A voice came from behind him. “Here skip.” John whirled to see Dan yawning, bleary eyed, hair
disheveled. “Better give him another blast skip, said Dan looking out the windscreen.” John turned back to see the pirates scrambling aboard and reaching for their weapons. They weren’t about to give in without a fight. John reduced the laser’s output, and fired another burst at the bow of the partly inflated life-raft, at which point all the pirates efforts to aim their guns at the
Swann, turned to dust. Now, they were struggling just to stand up as the inflatable’s nose melted.
“Ever had that sinking feeling” John couldn’t help himself. “It’s like trying to stand up in a hammock,” retorted Dan, as they watched the pirates struggle to get out from the sinking dinghy. The pirates tried to stay afloat and carry their weapons, a difficult task as a short training exercise. Near impossible, for very long. John ended any thoughts of further resistance using the ships loud hailer. “Gentlemen, I suggest that you let go your weapons, or I’ll be forced to fire again, this time at you. Keeping hold of your guns will be taken as a hostile act.” The pirates looked at each other, only two spoke English, Hence, a few seconds of rapid translation followed, after which they all dropped their guns into the
sea, never to be seen again.
John radioed for help using the international emergency frequency. “Hello, this is the
Elizabeth Swann calling coastguard services off the east cost of Somalia. Our position is 90,30’N, 520 E, over.” He repeated the message again and again, stopping to give Dan instructions. Dan went aft and returned with a hand gun from the ships emergency cupboard and a tazer, sporting a huge smile. Suddenly, the radio came to life. “Ahoy
Elizabeth, this is HMS Surefire. We’re at 90,’N, 520 E, what can we do for you? over. Batteries dead?” Cheek, thought John, grinning at Dan. “Hello Surefire, we’ve captured four Somali pirates, can you help?” “Help? That’s why we’re patrolling. How did you manage that - I mean, nobody’s captured so many pirates before.”
John told Dan to throw a couple of lifejackets to the pirates, and keep an eye on them. He also had them on screen, but it seemed unfair to keep
Excalibur aimed at them - overkill. The pirates looked up at the Swann with a new respect. They could see Dan had sidearms and were not sure how their boat disappeared beneath them, without a shot fired. It all seemed like magic and voodoo,
something Africans take very seriously. They would cause no more problems.
“Surefire, just get here as soon as possible and we’ll explain, over.”
“Elizabeth, that’s affirmative, ETA about 30 minutes. The skipper’s name is Hawkins. He sends his regards. Over and out.”
The 'Surefire' arrived in 23 minutes. Fifteen minutes after that, and a helicopter was hovering overhead with a gaggle of reporters filming the recovery of the hapless pirates.
“So much for our quiet little excursion, skip.”
John looked at Dan. “It doesn’t rain ….”
“But it pours,” said Dan.
The pirates scrambled aboard HMS Surefire, keeping their distance from
the Swann. A warship held few mysteries. Far safer.
Elizabeth Swann, am I speaking to John Storm.”
“Hello Surefire, is that Captain Hawkins?” said John.
“It is indeed, and I’d like that explanation. The pirates are behaving like lambs.” “Come aboard, why don’t you. Teas are on us. Over and out.”
John cradled the mike and went topsides to welcome his visitor. “Dan, put on a brew, if you please.” Dan said nothing. He was parched.
The two ships slowly maneuvered alongside, when ropes were thrown down from the Surefire, and they tied up. Captain Hawkins nimbly scaled a rope ladder, down to the right outrigger of the
Swann, then onto the walkway. Tea was eventually served, for real, by which time the Captain had been sworn to secrecy as to the method of sinking.
“No wonder they’re so subdued. Who wouldn’t be.”
The two men parted friends with grins from ear to ear. Captain Hawkins took much of the credit of the capture, with the grateful thanks of John and
Dan, who resumed their journey into the Red
Sea, heading for the Suez Canal on their way to El Iskandariya.
In the forward module, John slumped into the comfortable command seat. Dan was standing behind admiring the view, when John turned and winked.
“Perhaps now I can get some shut eye.” He pulled his cap down over his face.
Dan grinned, as he headed to the rear module. He was going back to his bunk. The remainder of the journey was thankfully uneventful.
The US Army were developing a similar system through 2021 into 2022, though much larger. Fired at a drone or missile, the EMP blast destroys the guidance and other control systems of the target, typically rendering the enemy weapons useless.
The Tactical Ultrashort Pulsed Laser (UPSL) platform will be different from the current laser systems, as it will emit short pulses that rely on low energy. In contrast, current lasers typically emit continuous beams.
The new system is being designed to reach a terawatt for a short 200 femtoseconds — or one quadrillionth of a second. In that time, the UPSL would be able to vaporize a drone. On top of that, the hope is that it'll also be able to disrupt electronic systems in its vicinity, turning it also into a functional electromagnetic pulse (EMP).
The concept note of the system states that the USPL will neutralize threats in three distinct ways, unlike current systems which destroy targets with a beam of focused energy.
The new system will be capable of scorching the target; blinding the target system’s sensors “through broadband supercontinuum generation in the air, and the generation of a localized electronic interference used to overload a threat’s internal electronics,” as stated in the brief.
The new system will emit a terawatt (equivalent to a million megawatt) of energy in a brief burst of 200 femtoseconds (one quadrillionth of a second), compared to the High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance, or HELIOS, that features a laser of around 60 kilowatts (one megawatt is equivalent to 1,000 kilowatts) of power.
Unlike current systems which diffract energy, the intensity of the USPL causes a “non-linear effect in air resulting in a self-focusing filament.”
These filaments of energy don’t diffract or disperse, making them far more lethal than those emitted by present laser systems.
Developers have been trying to build “femtosecond lasers” for the last two decades but have faced hurdles in logistics and infrastructure, the solicitation brief added.
However, continuous-wave laser developers have made their systems much more durable thanks to the emergence of diode and fiber laser technology, allowing them to be integrated onto ground and sea platforms.
Piracy has been around for as long as maritime trade. Although the technology pirates use has changed considerably since people first sailed the seas, the essence of piracy has remained the same to this day. Typically, pirates try to board the vessels under attack, steal money and valuables from the ship’s crew, or steal the ship’s cargo. In some cases, pirates take the crew hostage and demand ransom. To carry out attacks, pirates use a variety of weapons - ranging from firearms to knives – that are used to threaten and sometimes even kill seafarers. Fortunately, in 2020, no crew members were killed during pirate attacks but nine were injured.
Pirates often operate in international waters, posing a challenge for governments to effectively combat it. Besides laws that outlaw piracy and punish convicted pirates, countries deploy armed ships to patrol important maritime chokepoints, guard private ships and if need be, fend off pirate ships.
MOST PIRATE INFESTED WATERS
Piracy is an international phenomenon, not bound to any particular region. There are, however, factors that make piracy flourish in certain parts of the world. Poor coastal areas with few economic opportunities, low literacy rates, weak governments, and the rule of law, as well as easy access to weapons and proximity to busy shipping lanes give rise to more pirate activity than other areas. A prime example of such an area is Somalia, which was considered a piracy hotspot between the 1990s and 2010s. It was only after a concerted international effort led by the UN to combat Somali piracy that the number of piracy attacks off of the Somali coast dropped dramatically in the late 2010s.
Nowadays, most pirate attacks are committed in the Gulf of Guinea and the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. In the last five years, between 36 and 48 attacks were carried out annually against ships in the Nigerian waters, and between 26 and 49 piracy attacks were committed in the Indonesian waters in the same period. Although piracy can be carried out by people to secure livelihood, more often than not it is a way for militant groups and criminal gangs to raise money for their activities.
UPTAKE IN PIRACY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
After peaking in 2010 and 2011, global attempted and actual attacks reached a record low in 2019. However, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led to a rise in pirate activity in 2020. The global number of actual and attempted piracy attacks increased by 20 percent in 2020, from 162 piracy incidents in 2019 to 195 incidents in 2020. Not only have been presumably more people left with fewer opportunities to secure a living but weak economic conditions have left governments with fewer resources to battle piracy.
TEN MOST DANGEROUS AREAS
1. Malacca Straits:
Located in the Indian Ocean, the Strait of Malacca has been a very prominent area affected by marine piracy. Since the Strait forms a commercial getaway for the Suez Canal, Egypt and Europe, in addition to being one of the most important Indo-Sino marine
navigation routes; the area is susceptible to high incidences of maritime piracy.
However collaborated efforts amongst the Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean authorities are being carried out to reduce the piracy incidents in this part of the world.
2. South China
Mostly Malaysians or Indonesians, the marine pirates in the South China Sea are regarded to be amongst the most dangerous pirates who ply their nefarious activities. The South China Sea piracy occurs in the Malaysian water area leading to a cause of concern for authorities in the country.
3. Gulf of Aden:
The entrance to the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden is another affected piracy sea area. The Gulf forms an important trading route leading into the Suez Canal and is geographically well-positioned with anarchic Somalia.
The Somali sea pirates wreak havoc in this navigational route causing a lot of problems for authorities and shipping conglomerates across the world.
4. Gulf of Guinea:
An emerging area of piracy activities, the Gulf of Guinea spans a major portion of North-Western and Southern Africa (Angola). It is a very important trade route for crude oil tankers to the European and American continents, making it an appropriate target for the wrongdoers.
As per the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) statistics, so far there have been reported 27 attacks, though in the absence of a proper definition of the term ‘piracy’, it has been speculated that many attacks may go unreported.
Benin in Africa is yet another geographic area infested with marine pirates. The area has been listed as one of the high-risk areas in terms of marine shipping. The
IMO has taken various steps to counter maritime piracy in this piracy affected area, though positive results are yet to be seen.
Nigeria in the Western part of Africa is regarded to be a hive of piracy activities. The threat of piracy is so high in the region that it has been rated as being one of the riskiest areas for marine cargo transportation. The factor of the security cover provided by the Nigerian naval authorities is also lacking, leading to an increase in sea piracy in this area.
It has also been reported that due to extensive piracy threat, shipping through the entire marine belt of West Africa requires a heavy high insurance cover for the goods thus being transported.
One of the major points of distinction between the incidents of marine piracy occurring in the Western part of Africa and Somalia is that the pirates operating in West Africa operate at a much lower level when compared to their Somali counterparts.
The main reason for marine piracy occurring at mammoth proportions in Somalia is because of extreme poverty in the region caused due to civil war, government ineffectuality and vast dumps of marine wastes – toxic in nature – existing in the Somali sea-waters. Because of piracy, there have been other problems in the form of fast-increasing premium rates for insurance policies.
Maritime piracy in Somalia is a cause of international concern as the people of the country have come to believe that piracy is the only option available to them to ward off poverty and other constraints plaguing them.
Indonesia is also amongst the highly affected piracy areas in the world. Some of the areas that are targeted by the sea pirates are the Anambas, Natuna and the Merundung Islands, where pirates have been reported to attack ships during nighttime as opposed to in the daylight. The Indonesian authorities’ punitive response to the captured pirates in the country is also very lackadaisical raising major concerns across the world.
9. Arabian Sea:
The Gulf of Oman is one of the areas in the
Arabian Sea which has been targeted repeatedly by sea pirates. However, international organisations and authorities have downplayed the extent of security cover to be provided by them in these areas, as compared to the ones offered in piracy infested areas like the Gulf of Aden and the Somali coasts.
This is mainly because of limitations in the available naval resources to act as an effective cover and because of the position of the area geographically.
10. Indian Ocean:
The waters of the Indian Ocean are also falling prey to the acts of sea pirates. These pirates hail from the ravaged nation of Somalia and have been causing problems to Indians as well as ships hailing from other countries. The Indian Ocean is an unavoidable marine navigation route, thereby highlighting the nature of the problem far more starkly.
Marine piracy is a crime that needs to be addressed without any delay. The international maritime committees and organisations are doing their share of shouldering the responsibility, but in the absence of a positive and responsible internal government, executing justice becomes quite difficult.
This leads to a greater spread of piracy sea activities. In the best interests of not just the trading community but also of the lives involved – both the crew as well as the circumstance-turned-pirates – proactive action needs to be taken.
ICC 14 APRIL 2021 - GULF OF GUINE REMAINS WORLD'S PIRACY HOTSPOT IN 2021, ACCORDING TO IMB'S LATEST FIGURES
The Gulf of Guinea accounted for nearly half (43%) of all reported piracy incidents in the first three months of 2021, according to the latest figures from the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
IMB’s latest global piracy report records 38 incidents since the start of 2021 – compared with 47 incidents during the same period last year. In the first three months of 2021, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported 33 vessels boarded, two attempted attacks, two vessels fired upon, and one vessel hijacked.
Despite a drop in the number of reported piracy incidents for Q1 2021, violence against crew is on the rise in comparison to previous years. Since the start of 2021, 40 crew have been kidnapped compared to 22 crew in Q1 2020. A crew member was also killed in Q1 2021.
Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea continues to be particularly dangerous for seafarers with 43% of all reported piracy incidents occurring in the region. In addition, the region accounted for all 40 kidnapped crew incidents, as well as the sole crew fatality, according to IMB.
“Pirates operating within the Gulf of Guinea are well-equipped to attack further away from shorelines and are unafraid to take violent action against innocent crews” warns IMB Director Michael Howlett. “It’s critical that seafarers remain cautious and vigilant when travelling in nearby waters and report all incidents to the Regional Authorities and the IMB PRC. Only improved knowledge sharing channels and increased collaboration between maritime response authorities will reduce the risk to seafarers in the region.”
The furthest recorded kidnapping occurred on 11 March 2021 when pirates kidnapped 15 crew from a Maltese flagged Chemical Tanker, 212nm south of Cotonou, Benin. In another incident, a fishing vessel hijacked on 8 February 2021 was used by pirates as a mother vessel to facilitate other attacks.
The IMB PRC commends the Coastal response agencies and independent international navies tasked in the Region for actively responding to reported incidents and encourages their continued efforts in making the GoG waters safer for the seafarers.
Gulf of Aden
During the first three months of 2021, there was only one incident of reported piracy around Somalia. A bulk carrier reported a skiff with armed persons and a ladder approaching it while underway in the Gulf of Aden. The onboard armed security team fired warning shots resulting in the skiff moving away.
Despite the decline of piracy incidents around Somalia and neighbouring waters, the IMB PRC encourages vessels to implement BMP5 recommended practices while transiting these waters as Somali pirates continue to possess the capacity to carry out attacks.
“Seafarers are in many respects the unsung heroes of our global economy,” said ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO. “Governments, businesses, and maritime response agencies must take appropriate measures to protect the lives and livelihoods of crew, so that we can ensure the uninterrupted free flow of goods throughout international supply chains.”
The Singapore Straits recorded six piracy incidents in Q1 2021 compared to five during the same period last year. Although these incidents are opportunistic in nature, the IMB PRC warns that the perpetrators were armed with knives in some cases and that seafarers should remain vigilant when travelling through the region.
The information-sharing cooperation between the Indonesian Marine Police and the IMB PRC continues to produce positive results. During the first three months of 2021, only two anchored vessels were reported, in comparison to five in the same period last year.
There has been an uptick of reported piracy incidents in Callao Anchorage, Peru with five incidents occurring in the first three months of 2021 compared to just three in Q1 2020. Meanwhile, container vessels are the target of attacks while underway or at anchor in Colombian waters. Perpetrators have been known to open containers and steal cargoes even while vessels are under pilotage, according to the IMB PRC. Masters are encouraged to report all incidents in these waters.
IMB Reporting Centre
Since its founding in 1991, IMB PRC remains a single point of contact to report all crimes of maritime piracy and armed robbery, 24 hours a day. Their prompt forwarding of reports, and liaison with response agencies, broadcasts to shipping via GMDSS Safety Net Services, and email alerts to CSOs, all provided free of cost, help the response against piracy and armed robbery and the security of seafarers, globally.
NBC NEWS 17 MAY 2013 - CRIME AT SEA: THE WORLD'S MOST PIRATE-INFESTED WATERS
Like the Caribbean of old, the waters near Somalia used to be the most heavily pirated in the world. Now there's a new king of the pirates that's quickly become a headache for governments, shipping companies, cruise lines, energy firms, global conglomerates and—perhaps most immediately—for sailors trying to ply trade.
When CNBC first examined the world’s most dangerous waters in 2008, Somalian pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden and coastal Somalia easily dominated as the globe’s most prolific, according to data compiled by the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre. Somalia and the Gulf of Aden still have treacherous waters, but no longer the worst: Over the last five quarters, examined here, a new country’s national waters have become the most heavily pirated on earth.
Also changed are the tactics used to combat piracy. National navies have become much more active in the fight against piracy, and commercial tankers and cargo vessels increasingly employ armed security—a concept that was rare and even discouraged in many maritime circles as recently as 2008.
As greater arms have come to bear against the pirates, the maritime brigands have honed their tactics and beefed up their armament as well. Below are the world’s most pirate-infested waters, and an individual attack from each place.
Indonesia (43 Pirate Attacks)
Indonesia’s 17,500 islands and their surrounding waters now take the title as the world’s most heavily pirated. Shortly before 11 p.m. at Belawan Anchorage, the docked Rudolf Schulte, was boarded by six pirates who climbed aboard using a long bamboo pole topped with a metal hook. A sailor on duty spotted the men, who were armed with guns and knives. The pirates noticed the sailor as well, and attacked him as he tried to contact the ship’s bridge on a handheld radio. The robbers swiped his walkie-talkie, thrust him to the deck and bound him. They then turned to the ship’s stores and began to plunder. The raiding may have distracted the pirates, however, as the sailor managed to free himself and take off on foot toward the bridge. He raised a general alarm. The sound frightened the pirates, who fled. Indonesian authorities were informed, but as is often the case, their efforts were too little, too late. The six pirates, with their contraband, escaped into the night, free to attack again.
Somalia (31 Pirate Attacks)
omalian piracy isn’t as widespread as it was five years ago, but it’s still a serious problem. The mostly Ukrainian crew of MSC Jasmine was underway in broad daylight when six pirates in a skiff began chasing their ship. Shortly afterward, the attackers opened fire with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. The master of MSC Jasmine raised an alert, sent most of his sailors to the ship’s citadel, and ordered his security team to return fire. The pirates retreated, but didn’t get far. Two warships responding to MSC Jasmine’s distress signal, the American USS Halyburton and French FS Surcouf, intercepted the skiff and caught its mother ship to boot. Twelve pirates were taken into custody.
Nigeria (22 Pirate Attacks)
PM Salem was underway about 25 nautical miles southwest of Bayelsa, Nigeria, when pirates in a boat approached quickly from the rear of the vessel. The interlopers were armed with machine guns, and began firing on PM Salem, pictured, as they chased the Honduran vessel. The ship’s master opened up his throttle, fired off a distress message and ordered all crew except for himself and the onboard security team to a safe room. The security team took positions on PM Salem’s stern and returned fire. A vicious fight ensued and went on for 20 minutes before the security team finally drove off the attackers. Their successful efforts came at a horrific price, however: Three security team members were shot, one of them losing his life.
Gulf of Aden (10 Pirate Attacks)
Sometimes, the pirates shoot back. Crewmembers aboard the North Sea were already on alert after spotting a suspicious
dhow - a wooden sailing vessel that pirates sometimes use as a “mother
ship” - in the vicinity. Shortly after, the men saw a small skiff about 1.5 nautical miles away and closing in at 20 knots. The ship’s master sent a distress signal to the UK Maritime Trade Operation, a Royal Navy fleet that runs anti-pirate patrols in the Gulf of Aden. The British, though far distant, replied that they would immediately dispatch a military helicopter. The skiff drew closer, and security personnel aboard the North Sea saw that the pirates were armed with AK-47 assault rifles. Security fired warning shots, and the pirates immediately fired back. A ship-to-ship firefight broke out, with the pirates reeling off more than 50 rounds. Finally, they broke off the attack. Despite an extensive aerial search, the pirates were never located.
India (7 Pirate Attacks)
It doesn’t take a speed boat to steal from a ship that’s sitting still. The six pirates who attacked the Maersk Visual, seen here, arrived at the anchored tanker just before 7 a.m. in a long, wooden boat with a sail and oars. The Maersk Visual’s officer of the watch spotted the boat alongside and ordered a sailor to investigate. The sailor spotted two strange men hauling ship property across the deck and gave chase. The pirates jumped into their wooden boat and started rowing. Crewmembers on Maersk Visual raised an alarm and called Visakhapatnam Anchorage port control, but amazingly, the back-to-basics pirates got away with their booty.
Red Sea (7 Pirate Attacks)
A white skiff that appeared to have two men on board rushed the Pacific Galaxy, seen here, in the early morning hours. Two outboard motors pushed the skiff at more than 25 knots. As it closed in, crew members warily watching the small craft saw five more men rise up from where they had been lying flat on the floor of the vessel. The master of the Panamanian tanker gave his armed, on-board security team permission to fire warning shots. Other crew members retreated to a secure
“citadel” - a fortified, secure room on board the ship. The security team let loose with a volley of bullets. The pirates promptly called off the attack. About an hour and a half later, however, pirates returned, this time in two skiffs. When the pirates drew within 200 meters, the security team opened up with rifle fire and shot rocket flares. The pirates
retreated - this time for good.
Bangladesh (7 Pirate Attacks)
Five men armed with long knives scrambled up the anchor chain of the Diana Bolten, seen here, at 3 a.m. as she sat docked in Chittagong Anchorage. The vessel’s second mate noticed movement near the top of the chain and asked the deck watchman to investigate. Three of the pirates threatened the watchman as he approached through the darkness, and the second mate directed a spotlight onto the men. The pirates fled back down the anchor chain, taking as much ship property as they could carry with them. Calls went out to port control authorities and the Bangladeshi coast guard, which scoured the area in search of the robbers. It was too late: They escaped.
Ivory Coast (6 Pirate Attacks)
The Gascogne, pictured, was underway 70 nautical miles south of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, when 12 pirates with firearms boarded the French-owned tanker just before 7 a.m. They overpowered Gascogne’s 17 crew members, injuring two, and took control. The pirates sailed the hijacked ship to Nigeria, where they siphoned off its cargo of crude oil. After stealing the crew’s personal belongings, the pirates released the men and the Gascogne. At the time, the attack on the Gascogne was the third attack in Ivorian waters in just five days.
Peru (4 Pirate Attacks)
Pirate attacks are actually much more common when vessels are docked than when they’re at sea. The stealthy pirates who attacked Overseas Pearlmar, seen here, provide a good example. The ship was berthed at Talara Port, Peru, when the crew noticed that some of the vessel’s stores were missing. They inspected the ship, and found physical clues that told the story: Pirates had dismantled a metal guard on the anchor chain near water level and then climbed up the chain. Taking the deck, they forced their way into the forecastle store by breaking the hinge on a padlocked door. They took what they wanted and escaped unseen.
Singapore Straits (4 Pirate Attacks)
De Hui was steaming with its barge, Haiyangshiyou, under tow in the Singapore Straits, seen here, when she was approached by a speed boat just after 5 p.m. Six pirates on the much swifter craft pulled alongside Haiyangshiyou, boarded her, grabbed various goods from the deck and quickly made their escape. But it wasn’t over for De Hui. After night fell, another speedboat came alongside the tug itself. Two pirates in camouflage leaped aboard, overpowered De Hui’s boatswain, threw him to the deck and held him at knifepoint. The ship’s master, seeing the commotion, raised a general alarm. De Hui’s crew mustered and the pirates, seeing the men gathering against them, released the boatswain and fled. They managed to steal nothing.
ISLAND - CAST
Sir (Captain) Henry Morgan
Privateer & Governor of Jamaica
The world's largest,
most comprehensive interactive DNA
digital communication interface for the human brain
Edward Teach, privateer turned pirate,
tortured & murdered
onboard computer system
good friend of John Storm
world's smallest, fastest and most powerful nano supercomputer
Electronics & computer wizard,
member Elizabeth Swann
Blue Shield, Newcastle University, England
ship & floating laboratory
Pendragon & Merlin
Anti piracy weapon
& ship security system
Legal and intelligence trust
The onboard AI supercomputer ship manager
Senior BBC news world service anchor
amateur anthropologist, & marine archaeologist
The ships cat and lucky mascot
John Storm's uncle,
of Elizabeth Swann
Jacques Pierre Daccord
UNESCO sunken realms
BBC & Sky freelance investigative reporter Caribbean
hunting professional & ships captain
ocean conservationist and historian
Sir Rodney Baskerville
Maritime History & oceanographer
friend of Charley Temple
admirer of John's work
always looking for an exclusive
Cleopatra's call sign to protect her royal identity
(disgruntled) Governor of Virginia
(Bones) One Eye
deadly marksman ex
Long's pet parrot, pieces of eight
James William Maynard
Royal Navy, MOD, Antiquities & Acquisitions, Special Ops
Arctic survey vessel
Pirate computer expert hacker
Empire colonial slave trader, commissioner of privateers
African Company, slave trader, colonial bloody triangle
British naval officer, HMS Pearl,
who tortured Blackbeard
British Geographical Society
Pirate leader, bare knuckle fighter
with silvery tongue
Cashiered US Navy Captain,
snitch & mastermind
this adventure, Hal helps to fool the mutinous pirate crew of Lord
Huntington's ship Hispaniola. It helps that the AI can communicate with the
crew, without speaking conventionally. The Swann's weapons systems proves
invaluable, in thwarting the modern day pirates plan to make off with Henry