Benerson Little

“The trident of Neptune is the scepter of the world.”*

USS Banbridge taking the Maersk Alabama lifeboat in tow after Navy SEALs rescued Capt. Philips. The lifeboat is now in the Navy SEAL Museum in Ft. Pierce, Florida.

I often link articles relating to modern piracy and anti-piracy operations, as well as to historical pirate hunting, on the Facebook page above.

“They are always as vagabonds, and in continual exile, without any rest; agitated by the Winds, Rain, Hail, Snow, at the mercy of Pyrats and Rovers, Rocks and Tempests, in continual hazard of being intomb’d in the bellies of fishes...” —Jeremias Heraclitus Christianus, writing of the merchant seaman in The Man of Sorrow, 1677.

“Some the Sea swallowes, but that which most grieves, Some turne Sea-monsters, Pirates, roaving theeves...” —John Taylor, An Apologie for Sea-men, 1615.

(Tags and archives are listed at the foot of the page in this column.)

US Navy VBSS party holding pirates at bay after an attack on the tanker Nordic Apollo. (US Navy)

Captured pirates. (Spanish military)

Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. (Spanish military/AFP)

Pirate skiff sunk by fire from an EUNAVFOR warship. (EUNAVFOR photograph.)

Somali pirates in a skiff. At the bow is a ladder for boarding, and a pirate armed with an RPG. (EUNAVFOR photograph.)

Somali pirate "mother boat" with fuel and supplies, and a pirate skiff. (NATO photograph.)

Typical Somali pirate arms: assault rifles and RPGs. (NATO photograph.)

Americans held hostage aboard the sailing vessel Quest. All four Americans were murdered by the pirates before Navy SEALs boarded the vessel, killed several of the pirates, and captured the remainder.

Dutch marines capturing suspected Somali pirates on April 4, 2011. (AP photo.)

Royal Malaysian Navy commandos, known as PASKAL, aboard the MT Bunga Laurel with pirate prisoners. (January 22, 2011. Royal Malaysian Navy photo.)

Republic of Korea UDT/SEALs aboard the Samho Jewelry, recaptured from pirates who held her. All of her crew was rescued, with only one injury among them. The ROK SEALs incurred no serious injuries. Eight pirates were killed, and five captured. (January 21, 2011)

USMC maritime assault team prepares to board the Magellan Star in September 2010. The marines re-captured the ship from the pirates who held it. (Department of the Navy)

Boarding party from the USS McFaul aboard pirate mothership Faize Osamani, a captured Indian dhow, on April 5, 2010. (US Department of Defense photograph)

USS Farragut sinking a captured Somali pirate "mother ship" in April, 2010. (US Navy photograph)

Dutch marines from the HNMLSTromp fastrope onto the MV Taipan and capture it from pirates on April 5, 2010. (Dutch Navy photograph)

French pirate hunting frigate Nivose, a "frégate de surveillance." (French navy photograph)

Pirates captured by the French naval vessel Somme in October 2009. (EU NAVFOR Somalia photo)

Boarding team from the frigate HMS Portland captures suspected Somali pirates in June 2009. (Royal Navy photograph)

Dutch commandos capture seven pirates and free twenty fishermen who had been forced to work the mother ship. Unfortunately, the pirates were soon themselves freed due to constraints of Dutch law and of NATO. (Royal Navy photograph)

Small pirate "mother ship" (bateau mère) intercepted by French frigate Nivôse in April 2009. The vessel was loaded with fuel. (French Ministry of Defense photograph)

7.62 mm exit holes in the stern of the Maersk Alabama lifeboat. The holes were plugged with silicone. (Author's photo, taken at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, Ft. Pierce, Florida.)

Captain Richard Phillips (on right) aboard the USS Bainbridge after being rescued from pirates by the US Navy. His captors were shot dead by Navy SEAL snipers. (US Navy photograph)

French commandos aboard the yacht Tanit. (AFP)

Liberation of the yacht Tanit by the French Navy, including members of the Commando Hubert. (French Ministry of Defense photograph)

USS Vella Gulf captures Somali pirates in February 2009. (US Navy photograph)

Captured Somali pirates. (US Navy photograph)

MV Sirius Star ransomed by air drop. (US Navy photograph)

A few of the pirates who captured the arms ship MV Faina. (US Navy photograph)

Thai fishing trawler destroyed by Indian frigate INS Tabar. The trawler was under attack by pirates. The frigate, which came under fire from pirates aboard the trawler, believed the vessel was a pirate "mother ship." (India Defense Ministry photograph)

French commandos capture several of the pirates who held the luxury yacht Le Ponant for ransom. (French Ministry of Defense photograph)

Pirate skiff destroyed by the USS Porter in 2007. (US Navy photograph)

* By Antoine Marin Lemierre, from his poem "Commerce." (Le trident de Neptune est le sceptre du monde.)

Book Links:
Descriptions & Reviews

Historical Fiction
The sequel to Fortune's Whelp: stay tuned!
Maritime adventure and historical intrigue set amidst the attempted assassination of King William III.
Narrative Maritime History
The truth behind the great pirate myths and legends. In print!
Maritime History

A colorful and detailed description of how pirates and privateers practiced their trade.

To really understand what the pirate's world was like: how buccaneers lived, fought, and died.


Piracy News & Commentary

Piracy News

January 19, 2010

Tags: Somali piracy

Somali pirates who captured the Maran Centaurus actually asked for EU Navfor assistance to protect them against a rival pirate gang, just prior to the release of the vessel. The request was denied. The vessel was ransomed for a record $6 million. (Source: Lloyd's List)

The Yemen Navy is offering anti-piracy (more…)

One Benefit to Somali Piracy

January 12, 2010

Tags: Somali piracy

An AP article forwarded to me by Elana Langer, "Kenya Fishermen See Upside to Pirates: More Fish," points out that the threat of pirate attack has forced many foreign illegal fishing trawlers to seek other waters out (more…)

More Piracy News Tidbits

January 7, 2010

Tags: Somali piracy

The Turkish ambassador to the UN has sent a letter suggesting that the UN oversee trials of accused Somali pirates. To date, the issue of arguments and questions over venue has been the most significant factor in preventing the trial of many accused Somali pirates. In many cases, some naval authorities have simply released captured Somali pirates. ( (more…)

Recent Piracy News

January 4, 2010

Tags: Somali piracy

Rear Adm. Terence "Terry" McKnight (USN, Ret.), past commander of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) and veteran of joint anti-piracy operations, has criticized the media for dramatizing piracy at the expense of other world-wide naval operations, including those associated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He further suggests, correctly, (more…)

The Arctic Sea Mystery

January 3, 2010

Tags: Arctic Sea

I’ve been meaning to post something on the mystery of the Arctic Sea, a cargo ship which was variously reported as missing, pirated, and perhaps secretly transporting Russian missiles off the coast of Europe last year. The story has all the trappings of a good spy novel, including cover stories, Russian (more…)

Somali Pirate Stock Exchange

January 2, 2010

Tags: Somali piracy

Recommended reading: Reuters article on a pirate cooperative in Haradheere, which functions as a sort of stock exchange for funding acts of piracy. As many as seventy-two “maritime companies” now exist in the city; ten have so far had successful returns. My thanks (more…)