Saturday, December 27, 2008


Friday, December 26, 2008


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pirates in the News, November 2008 part 3


Now that my epic task of recounting things that are directly pirate related in the news, it's on to tangential and simply entertaining news.
If you haven't yet caught Animal Planet's Whale Wars, you may very well be entertained. Following the Sea Shepard's Whale-saving ship the Steve Irwin. You can see pirates where profit is not the motive. Next year, Daryl Hannah will be joining the crew. I think the show speaks for itself, and you will either find it hilarious or appalling or triumphant as is your nature.

Warner Brothers has hired a writer for their slated remake of Captain Blood.
The US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Navy in a dispute over Sonar's affect on whales.

The court, in its first decision of the term, voted to allow the Navy to conduct realistic training exercises to respond to potential threats by enemy submarines.

Environmental groups had persuaded lower federal courts in California to impose restrictions on sonar use in submarine-hunting exercises to protect whales and other marine mammals. Environmentalists link sonar to beached whales, internal bleeding around marine mammals' brains and ears, and other damage.

I like to think that they scrawled "Suck it, Whales!" in the margin of their opinions, but they probably didn't, they probably typed them.

I also would like to pretend the next story is related.

David Sheridan was riding his board at Valla Beach on the northern coast of New South Wales state on Oct. 26 when he noticed a large shadow in the water in front of him.

"At first I thought it was the shadow from my kite. But I quickly realized it was a whale," said Sheridan, a 42-year-old high school teacher. He commented to The Associated Press by e-mail.

"The whale kept coming up. ... I did not know what to expect and I went over its back just past its fin," he said. "Next thing I felt was its tail come up and hit me on the back of the head."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Funny Stuff

So, in my quest to bring you the most thorough coverage of the jerks of the sea possible, I googled them, and found this fellow: The Buttsack. A young fisheries biologist by day, comedian by night.

Some of his articles are rather funny, I suggest: Sea Otters, Furry Perverts of the Sea, and Manatees: The Selfish Jerk of the Ocean, which was apparently also posted by

Note: NSFW language

Monday, December 15, 2008

This Pirate Will Teach You Marketing

So.... yeah. It IS a pirate, in media. The skill at which this informational youtube video is created is best left to the experts. The pirate puppet is cute though, as is his sidekick, parrot.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pirate Potluck

from Wired:


1 1/2 lb chopped beef
1 tin anchovies
1/2 onion, chopped
chopped cabbage or lettuce
sliced celery
sliced green banana
2 apples
raisins, chopped
dried mango, chopped
fresh sage, oregano, parsley
powdered ginger
garlic salt
freshly ground black pepper

Brown meat in butter in cast iron pan. Add remaining ingredients and braise, seasoning to taste. Cover for 5-10 minutes.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Somalia's Fishermen

A Prelude to Piracy: Somalia's Poor Fishermen

The outcry, addressed to the United Nations and the international community, was loud and bitter. "Help us solve the problem," said professional fisherman Muhammed Hussein from the coastal city of Marka, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the Somali capital Mogadishu. "What is happening here is economic terrorism."

Jeylani Shaykh Abdi, another Somali fisherman, added: "They are not just robbing us of our fish. They are ramming our boats and taking our nets -- including the catch."

It wasn't long ago that Somali fisherman were loudly complaining about the poor state of their lives and livelihoods. About 700 ships from other countries, they said, were casting their nets along Somalia's roughly 3,300 kilometers (2,050 miles) of coastline, using practices that showed little consideration for the fish stocks or local fishermen. None of the trawlers, the Somali fishermen claimed, had a license or an agreement with the government in Mogadishu. Of course, that government has wielded practically no influence over the past 15 years.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

US decides that it could use another warfront

The Bush Administration, because it has such a great record in its multinational military forays, has decided it wants to send troops into Somali to take on pirates, head on.

There are all sorts of reasons why this is a great idea, not the least of which was fictionalized and starred Eric Bana, Ewin McGregor and Josh Hartnett.

While I could totally see more academy award winners coming out of a US anti-pirate Somalia Invasion, it would be nice if the US would at least wait and get some other countries involved.

In the meantime, World War II style convoys are being employed to protect aid efforts going through the region.

File under WTF

Now, I'm going to be the first person to tell you that if you want to swim with Great White Sharks, you should be prepared to be eaten. Not that it's dangerous all the time, plenty of people get into a cage, chum the water near them, then get to observe an increasingly pissed off shark try to get at them while taking pictures and gushing about cheating death.

This is why this story doesn't suprise me at all. Because when it comes down to it, the reason people do these things is to CHEAT DEATH, and that's pointless if death isn't pretty close, and bitey.

There's video:
"But according to the diver who posted the video online, this dopey maneating Great White went wild by MISTAKE."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pirates in the News, November 2008 part 2

I know what you're thinking, part 2 of the monthly pirate digest this early in the month? No, I haven't lost my job, there's just a lot of pirate news, and dagnabit I intend to link it to you.

Pirates freed 17 Filipino sailors from the captured MV Captain Stefanos.

The hostage crew of the MV Faina attempted to overtake their captors only to have their rebellion squished.

Apparently it's still news that the E. U. is launching forces against pirates, the thrust of their operations began early last week in earnest. The multi country force is codenamed Operation: Atalanta, which seems to imply (if you know your mythology) that they're going to throw golden apples at the problem.

Cruise lines that travel along the coast of Somalia are reacting to a recent decision to evacuate passengers in the face of pirate threats by considering chartering planes to simply bypass the embattled area on future trips.

Meanwhile, Shipowners are freaking out, and so are Lawyers.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Monday, December 8, 2008

Pirates in the News, November 2008

The prize for single most exaggerated headline since the last time I wrote a digest of pirate news unquestionably goes to Fox News. Kudos, solid Fnord.

The most publicised recent pirate attack is the capture of the Sirius Star a Saudi owned Oil Tanker. For those of you raised in caves or only recently arriving in the modern era people are touchy about oil, the ownership of it, the transport of it, and Saudi Arabia, a country whose main export and source of political clout is oil, is not exactly pleased to have 3 rafts of destitute pirates capture their ship without firing so much as a shot. The pirates on the other hand, have their eyes on the fat ransom this ship will undoubtedly bring them, and fairly accustomed to constant and unceasing strife in their homeland where the most profitable career is either pirate or leader of a militia, and there being a substantially larger number of job openings for pirates are not scared of a little saber rattling, or some actual saber slashing when you get right down to it.

Time has a nice slide show of Somali pirates
, Slate on Washington has a pirate correspondent now, and other news sources are taking notice of this issue and covering it in depth. Pirate attacks are up! Up! UP! but if you've read this blog you know that. Various E.U. countries continue to vie for the top spot in the international armadas patrolling the trade corridor. Shipping in the Gulf of Aden is getting more and more protected. Sailors are getting increased pay incentives to work there. Somalialand, a breakaway enclave seeing independence from Somalia (which is at best described as anarchic) has offered port to anti-pirate efforts. Even the local paper of my landlocked, Sonoran Desert hometown has seen fit to weigh in on the international goings on.

Here are some pirate news stories that are less glamorous than the Sirius star:
Cameroon has fired two military officers who failed to prevent a pirate attack.
Russian and British ships foiled a pirate attack, a British Ship captures a pirate skiff. Two British Sailors jumped off their hijacked ship and were rescued by helicopter.

But as if these stories weren't juicy enough, India destroyed a pirate ship,

The INS Tabar opened fire on a pirate ship after it came under attack Tuesday evening, leaving the burning ship to sink. There was no mention of rescuing or capturing its crew.

oh wait, India sank a Thai Trawler fishing in Somalian waters. Ooops.

Well, maybe it had just then been taken by pirates...

But it turns out now that the “mother ship” may not have been in pirate hands very long. According to the CNN report, the ship was the trawler Ekawat Nava 5, which had been headed from Oman to Yemen to deliver fishing equipment when it was attacked by pirates off the Horn of Africa, according to Wicharn Sirichaiekawat, owner of the Ekawat Nava 5. The pirates were still taking control of the ship when the Tabar moved in, he said.

Mr. Sirichaiekawat learned of his ship’s fate when a Cambodian crewman was found alive by a passing ship after he had been adrift in the gulf for six days. He had survived the gunfire from the Indian Navy and the sinking of the ship, and was taken to a hospital in Yemen, where he is recovering. Fourteen other sailors from the trawler were still missing and one was confirmed dead, the owner said.

The trawler may have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time but there's certainly enough in this story to make it interesting.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Why Somalia Matters...

From Vanity Fair:

The “Black Hawk Down” battle of 1993 didn’t end U.S. involvement in Somalia. Far from it. In recent years, America has quietly fought a proxy war there in the name of anti-terrorism. The results have been dismal: insurgency, bloodshed, pirates.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Photo Exhibit!

Here's the photo of me from Alexandria Diracles' Photo Exhibit, if you're in NYC and don't head down to 721 Broadway to check it out you are missing out. It's a really neat series.

How to pay a pirate ransom

From the BBC:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Who gets the money?

From Time Magazine:
"[One of the reasons negotiating a ransom takes so long is that there are] large number of people involved who expect to get a cut from any hijacking, ranging from pirate commanders to leaders of the embattled U.S.-backed transitional government of Somalia as well as its nemesis, the Islamist Shabab militia. Lowest in the pecking order, it seems, are the gunmen who actually captured the ships. (See pictures of Somalia's brazen pirates

"There is a share payment not only for the Shabab, but also others, including some big bosses of the government, both federal and regional, so that we can operate without harassment," said Gel-Qonaf, who said he had helped organize the capture of the Faina. "Before the ship is released, all these parties have to agree about the money.""

Pirates interviewed by TIME claimed that while the Shabab had declared that all taxable means of earning money in Somalia violate Islamic law by propping up a government they have declared un-Islamic, piracy had been exempted because it isn't taxed. A pirate named Abdenasser told TIME he had once done good business recruiting young men from his home town of Bossaso for the industry, with one of his best pitch lines being that it didn't violate Islamic law. But these days, he said, the Islamists have taken such a big piece of the pie that the pirates and their recruiters no longer see much of the money.

"I am really sorry that this made a lot money for these organizations," Abdenasser said. "The pirates and us get such little money from it now."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pirate Photo!

Hey all!

If you're in the New York area and enjoy photography, check out Alexandria Diracles' photo exhibit at the Tisch School of the Arts at 721 Broadway starting on Friday. It features me! The Pirateologist General and my trusty First Mate in a charming piratical context.

Pirates on

For those of you who aren't familiar, is a comedy website; today they covered 7 Historical Figures who were absurdly hard to Kill.

Not surprisingly, Blackbeard made this list, for those of you who don't know, check out the article, he definitely deserves the mention

For those of you who don't cousin to profanity or lewdness, don't click the link.