Saturday, April 18, 2009

Piracy: Old Crime in New Century

17 Apr 2009 20:04 Africa/Lagos

Piracy: Old Crime in New Century

World's Leading Authority on Piracy Offers Insight

NEW YORK, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The capture and rescue of Maersk Alabama's Captain Richard Phillips and the continued brazen hijacking spree by Somali pirates has riveted the world. For Angus Konstam, one of the world's leading authorities on piracy, the drama was an old tale in new clothing. In his recent book, Piracy: The Complete History (Osprey), Konstam connects the dots between the colorful age of piracy popularized by "Pirates of the Caribbean" and modern piracy. Konstam, who has written over 50 books on naval warfare and piracy, reminds readers that despite their romantic image, pirates were always dangerous and disruptive. He explains, "I enjoyed the Jack Sparrow movies as much as the next person, but they're pure fiction. You see how it took the full force of the U.S. government and its navy to ward off this current threat. Such has it always been in the war against piracy and pirates."

In Piracy: A Complete History, Konstam reveals how this is not the first time pirates have plagued shipping in the Indian Ocean. He writes, "Much like today, in the late 1690s through the 1720s, the Indian Ocean was the most lucrative pirate destination in the world. They found a pirate's dream--rich and poorly protected prizes, a range of suitable hideaways to evade pursuers, and a collection of European trading companies too busy fighting each other to worry about the threat of pirates."

Konstam cites several successful campaigns against piracy giving clues on to how to attack the current problem. "Modern-day pirates now enjoy all the advantages of technology--radios, radar, satellite navigation, automatic weapons and high-performance boats. As in the past, there is a lack of regulation on the high seas due to a shortage of interest, international goodwill and resources. A concerted international effort will be required to rid the world of this scourge." Konstam adds, "Just as today, successful pirates have always been a daunting threat."

Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Konstam, who studied at the Universities of Aberdeen and St. Andrews, is a former naval officer, an underwater archeologist and museum curator. He advised the archeologists excavating Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge, appears nationally on TV and is featured on PBS's "Secrets of the Dead: Blackbeard's Lost Ship," April 22, 2009.

Available Topic Expert: For information on the listed expert, click appropriate link.

Angus Konstam

Source: Angus Konstam

CONTACT: Katharine Carroll, Osprey Publishing, New York,
+1-914-788-1005, or mobile, +1-914-715-4777,

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