Less than two week's into the New Year, the overview of global piracy is bleaker than it was twelve months ago. Worldwide, official tallies of pirate attacks are up some ten percent from the previous year, with a noted increase in the use of violence by assailants. You can see the data on the International Maritime Bureau's website but should keep in mind what my own investigations into this issue have discovered: you can easily double or triple the official figures because of unreported incidents.
At the EagleSpeak blog (see the link to it on the right), there are some relevant observations and his own links to recent events, including the bizarre threat posed by Iranian powerboats in the Strait of Hormuz a few days ago. No matter what your feelings may be about American military, or naval, influence abroad may be, it is important to remember that in this case their vessels were merely transiting a known international sea lane. The actions of these Iranian naval units can only be considered a rogue action.
But, then, wasn't Sir Francis Drake a "rogue element" when he set off from England to traverse the globe in the 1570s? It is a reminder that one man's pirate is another man's naval hero.
All of this should be a reminder that we are in the midst of a global war that receives scant attention. It is a low-level conflict in which pirates have killed hundreds of mariners over the last few years, taken hostage many and threatened world economies.
What will it take to address this? That is the prime issues piracy forces on all of us.