Terrorism in the 21st century is not confined to hot spots in the middle east or attacks on urban centers elsewhere. The upsurge in piracy in waters off Africa and Malaysia can be seen as another form of terrorism, but one that is driven by economic pressures rather than ideological concerns.
The pirates of east Africa, many of them former fishermen who have lost their traditional livelihood, almost always seek ransom for the ships they commandeer. But history professor Richard Kirk, who has made a special study of piracy over the past nine years, notes that the fate of captured vessels in the South China Sea is often much more dire.
It’s quite rare for passenger ships to be targeted by pirates, but Kirk knows of at least one instance in which a modestly sized cruise ship came under attack.
The original swashbuckling buccaneers of the 16th century are the basis for the romanticized image that has endured, and Kirk says their era lasted almost two centuries.
Pirate attacks in 2007
Pirate Attacks in 2008