Real pirates are nothing like the Johnny Depp/Captain Jack Sparrow character from the movies. Pirates hijack ships, fishing boats and yachts with the aim of taking the crew and cargo hostage to demand massive ransoms.
A new and unusual adventure holiday being offered is Pirate Hunting Cruises – stump up 6,000 USD a day and you can go in search of real pirates on board a luxury yacht kitted out with machine guns, grenades and rocket launchers!
Check out these pirate hotspots – yo ho ho and a bottle of rum and all that:
Gulf Of Aden – The number one pirate hotspot in the world, the Gulf of Aden, is also known as ‘Pirate Alley’ and is in the Arabian Sea between Yemen and Somalia. Pirates here are using automatic weapons and RPGs to hijack vessels and with the use of mother vessels, have struck as far as 500 miles off the coast of Somalia. Somali hijackers attacked more than 130 merchant ships off the coast of Somalia last year, which is a rise of more than 200 percent on 2007.
Malaysia – With nine pirate attacks so far this year alone, Malaysia is a hotspot to watch, where container ships and tankers are regularly attacked. Areas to avoid include off Tioman Island, in the South China Sea and the dangerous pirate area of the Strait of Malacca.
India – Ships have come under attack in the waters around India and as the traditional Indian wooden dhows prepare to take to the seas after the monsoons, piracy is a serious concern. There have been 6 attacks in India in the first six months of 2009.
Bangladesh – The number of attacks has fallen around Bangladesh but the area is still a high-risk area with pirates targeting ships preparing to anchor, especially around the Chittagong anchorages and approaches.
Nigeria – With 13 pirate attacks in the first six months of 2009, the areas of Lagos and the Bonny River in Nigeria are prime pirate targets. Vessels have been robbed and crews kidnapped along the coasts, rivers, ports and surrounding waters.
Venezuela – At least one ship and four yachts were attacked by pirates off the coast of Venezuela last year.
Ecuador – Again another pirate hotspot is Ecuador where a ship and yacht were victims of piracy during 2008 with many more attacks suspected of going unreported.
Brazil – There has been pirate activity around Santos in Brazil, where a ship was targeted. A yacht was also attacked last year and a catamaran has been robbed so far in 2009.
Pirate attacks worldwide have more than doubled in the first half of 2009 with 240 attacks between January and June, which is up from 114 incidents during the same period a year ago. The numbers of attacks are monitored by the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.