Thought that pirates disappeared after the 18th century? Think again! Modern pirates are a real threat to sea vessels operating all over the world and can even result in the death of victims at sea. And although they no longer fly jolly rogers or force their victims to walk the plank, they are no less dangerous. Check out these unsettling facts about modern pirates and where in the world you’ll find them.

Modern Pirates Use Advanced Technology, Including Night-Vision Goggles And Rocket Launchers

The days of pirates wielding swords are long gone but that doesn’t mean that modern pirates don’t carry weapons. In fact, piracy hasn’t changed in regard to pirates being heavily armed. The weapons they brandish have always been what makes pirates so fearsome and that’s especially true today, with modern pirates using everything from night-vision goggles to rocket launchers to rob ships.


These days, pirates use AK-47s and heavy machine guns to instill fear in their victims, while rocket launchers allow them to target ships from a long way away. They use night-vision goggles and advanced GPS devices to help with navigation and locating other ships at night.

Pirates Still Assault And Maroon People

While pirates from the Golden Age used to live their lives at sea, modern pirates typically base themselves on the shore and attack via speedboats. Their methods have changed, with guns being much more common among pirates these days than swords. But their goal is the same: to intimidate and rob crew members on other ships, sometimes assaulting and marooning them in the process. Pirates from the Golden Age often marooned members of their own crew who turned on them, while these days they leave their victims marooned and take off with their ships.

Modern pirates have even been known to take hostages for ransom. In some cases, those who have been kidnapped by pirates have even died at the hands of their captors.

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They Attack Cruise Ships

This fact is definitely unsettling for anybody who likes cruising! Modern pirates typically target cargo vessels but they have also been known to attack private yachts and cruise ships, robing the personal belongings of crew members and passengers rather than targeting a ship’s cargo.

In 2005, the luxury liner Seaborne Spirit was off the coast of Somalia having departed from Alexandria. Three boats of heavily armed pirates assaulted the ship for two hours, slamming grenades and bullets into the side of the ship. The passengers were all ordered to congregate in the ship’s main ballroom. Thankfully, the crew was able to ward off the pirates by using an L-RAD device that emitted a loud, piercing sound. There were no casualties and the cruise was able to finish their voyage on schedule.

It’s not as common for pirates to attack cruise ships. But it’s not unheard of or impossible.

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Pirate Attacks Are Actually On The Rise

Most people think of piracy as something that belongs in the 17thand 18thcenturies. But it has been estimated that modern piracy is actually on the rise, having increased 75% in the last decade alone. International losses due to piracy are estimated to be at around $13-16 billion a year.

In 2010, there were nearly 490 reports of piracy and armed robbery against ships, a figure which had risen 20% from the previous year. Although there’s currently no plan in place to eliminate modern piracy, raising awareness of the issue is a promising starting point.

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These Are The Places You’ll Find Modern Pirates

Of course, thousands of people travel by cruise ship or by boat every year and don’t come face to face with pirates. In some areas of the world, piracy is still essentially non-existent, while in others, it’s rampant. One of the most notorious places that you’ll find modern pirates is off the Somali Coast, between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean in the Gulf of Aden.

Other piracy hot spots include East Africa, the South China Sea, certain coastlines off South America, and in the Caribbean. There have also been reports of pirate attacks on the Danube River, particularly through the Serbian and Romanian stretches.

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