Piracy has exploded in the waters near Somalia, where this past week United States warships have fired on two pirate skiffs, and are currently in pursuit of a hijacked Japanese-owned vessel. At least four other ships in the region remain under pirate control, and the problem appears to be going global: The International Maritime Bureau is tracking a 14-percent increase in worldwide pirate attacks this year.
And although modern-day pirates enjoy collecting their fare share of booty -- they have a soft spot for communications gear -- they're just as likely to ransom an entire ship. In one particularly sobering case, hijackers killed one crew member of a Taiwan-owned vessel each month until their demands were met.
For those of you who weren't paying attention, the quote above just noted that there are five pirate controlled ships at large at this very moment in the Red Sea, which isn't a very big body of water, notwithstanding the fact that it is teaming with NATO, Egyptian and Saudi Arabian warships.