Paremesawa, his chest swollen with love, watched his wife feed his daughter, Ratna. He looked around the dirt floor of his thatched hut, sad that her future would be the same as his.
“Wah, wah!” Ratna’s quivering hungry cry moved Paremesawa. They had little food, even his wife’s milk was decreasing. He had no choice. Their village, upstream on the river’s edge was hidden in the constellation of islands and reefs, which dotted the Malacca Straits.
Their long knives held ready, assault rifles loaded, the pirates boarded the oil tanker, killing the crew. Paremsawa smiled, Ratna wouldn’t go hungry.
In 2005 Lloyds Insurance Agency of London declared the Malacca Straits as a war zone. With over 70,000 ships per year (approx 1/3rd of the world’s commercial shipping), not to mention smaller craft including fishing vessels and sailing boats) pass through the Malacca Strait. The pickings are high. Recently with increased vigilance between a number of governments the Malacca Straits has been downgraded as piracy has increased off Somalia and the Horn of Africa.
Bo Jiang from the University of Maryland has done an interesting study titled Maritime Piracy in Malacca Strait and South China Sea: Testing the deterrence and reactance models. The full paper can be found here. He writes: “The results also reveal the presence of strain/anomie effects at work in piracy when higher Misery Index leads to greater hazard of being attack and more successful attacks. With the lack of legal employment opportunities and widespread poverty in some communities escalating especially in the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, illegal activities are an alternative way to earn a living. As fish stock depletes in the region, some of the more desperate fishers turn to piracy as a source of income in a time of need, while more opportunistic fishers may use it to 27 earn extra cash or to supplement low catches. Unemployed and desperate fishers are also, in some cases, recruited by organized crime gangs to attack or hijack merchant vessels or tugs. For jobless and impoverished fishers, “employment” as a pirate by an organized gang may, therefore, be one of the few options left to earn an income.”
Although it doesn’t make it right, there are always two sides to every story. Knowing those sides should allow the problem to be dealt with in an effective way.
In response to Charli’s prompt:
December 2, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a pirate story. It can be about pirates or piracy; modern or of yore. Swashbuckling, parrots and rum can be involved or maybe you’ll invent details beyond standard pirates.
Respond by December 8, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!