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

Unions Support Arming Ships Against Pirates

March 18, 2010

Tags: Somali piracy, piracy

According to Lloyd's List, seafarer unions now support the arming of merchant vessels with armed military personnel when transiting piracy-prone areas. The unions still oppose arming seafarers themselves.

Pirates Sentenced

March 14, 2010

Tags: Somali piracy

Lloyd's List has reported that twenty pirates were recently tried in Kenya and sentenced to twenty years apiece. An estimated four hundred suspected pirates are being held worldwide for trial.

Hardcore Anglo-Saxon Pirate Hunting

March 12, 2010

Tags: Medieval piracy

The fifty-one decapitated skeletons discovered recently in a mass grave in Dorset, England and dating from 910 to 1030 A.D., are probably those of Vikings, according to anthropologists who have analyzed the skeletons. All were young males in their teens and twenties, with a few in their thirties, and were almost certainly killed in a (more…)

Bravo Zulu

March 8, 2010

Tags: Somali piracy

A BZ to European Union navies, in particular to the French frigate Nivose and her crew, who, along with the Italian support ship Etna, two naval helicopters, and Spanish maritime patrol aircraft, captured thirty-five suspected Somali pirates, four mother ships, and six skiffs in two days this weekend. Warning (more…)

Piracy Update

March 4, 2010

Tags: Somali piracy

Briefly updating, Lloyd's List reports intelligence sources indicating a likely upsurge in pirate attacks over the next three weeks during the inter-monsoon season. Pirates at the four major pirate ports--Hardare, Eyl, Garacad, and Hobyo--are preparing for sea.

The journal also reports that many shipping companies are threatening to avoid the Gulf of (more…)

Banditry, Not Piracy

March 2, 2010

Tags: Somali piracy

A few observers are already comparing news that Somali pirates in Eyl have captured and are holding for ransom three UN food aid trucks and their drivers to attacks on shore targets by pirates of the past. However, unless the Somali pirates are attacking from the sea, their theft and hostage taking ashore is (more…)

Nemesis 5000

March 2, 2010

Tags: piracy, anti-piracy, Somali piracy

The Nemesis 5000 is another anti-piracy technology intended as a non-lethal means of preventing pirates from boarding. It may be used in conjunction with other non-lethal means, or in conjunction with armed force (although the manufacturer does not advertise it this way). The system, intended as a cost effective alternative to expensive security teams, works (more…)