The history of piracybegan with maritime piracy. Traditionally, piracy is thought of as taking place on boats at sea. In fact, maritime piracy is still very common even today. Any ship that attempts to commit a crime against another ship in a major body of water, or even when docked, is committing the crime of piracy. Activity between ships during acts of war, are not considered to be included under the international laws of maritime piracy.
The earliest documented cases of maritime piracy were in the 13th century BC. Many times, the crime included the kidnapping of individuals to be used as slaves. One of the most famous kidnappings was that of Julius Cesar. In fact, he remained happy and polite during his time on the ship. However, after the ransom had been payed to gain his release, he sought the pirates and eventually had them put to death. Today, pirates utilize sophisticated technology to track other ships. In fact, it is quite simple for them to learn what type of cargo is contained on target ships.
In early times, piracy was punishable by death. Often, pirates were hanged in a public display. On some occasions, the bodies were left to rot in public, adding to the humiliation of being caught. In those days, public executions were seen as entertainment and entire villages often tuned out to witness the display. Currently, maritime piracy is said to cost companies about sixteen billion dollars a a year in lost cargo and damages.
The coasts of Somalia and Singapore are said to be the most dangerous for crossing ships. The highest incidents of maritime piracy happen there. The incidences of piracy are increasing by large numbers every year.
It is widely believed that corrupt government officials of many countries are involved in the attacks. Often, the ships are brought into ports, repainted and sold in the absence of proper paperwork. This would not occur if government officials were not compliant in the crime.
Piracy remains a problem for ships, even today. Although technology can be helpful in protecting ships from pirates, it can also help pirates in committing their crimes. Most of the time, the crew on a ships is able to be released unharmed. However, in some cases, the pirates hold crew members for ransom. In addition, pirates have sometimes boarded luxury vessels and held the owners for ransom.
Still, in most cases, people are released alive. It is true, however, that some people are murdered as a result of maritime piracy. Many in the international community have begun to work together in order to keep the waters safe.