Question asked by Neal:

My dad says that pirate still exist. Is that true? asked by Mitchell

Answer Laura Mirabella:

Your father is correct that pirates still exist. Just recently Somali pirates took hostage a vessel owned by the Saudi Arabians. The vessel, named Sirius Star, is a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) carrying two million barrels of crude oil, and the pirates attacked it 450 miles off the coast of Kenya. As I write this answer the vessel, cargo and crew are being held for ransom for 25 million dollars.
Right now, Somali pirates are holding hostage a total of 14 ships and 280 people. Millions of dollars in ransom are being paid to the pirates, and this allows the pirates to upgrade the vessels and weapons they use to attack other vessels.
Piracy has been around since people began using the ocean to trade. Years ago, a ship crew would carry firearms to defend themselves. Today, modern crew members are not trained or authorized to carry guns to fight back against the pirates. This emboldens pirates. Also, policing the world’s waters is impossible because the oceans are so large.
Piracy impact is great. Hiring a crew is difficult because many people do not want to put themselves at risk. Also, it is becoming more expensive to insure cargo vessels, and this can impact the price of goods that we buy at the store.