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The Golden Age of Piracy revolved around sailing ships with black flags bearing the skull & crossbones, muskets, pistols, cutlasses and canons. 17th-century swashbuckling buccaneers, swordplay, plank-walking, and treasure. A stunning sight by all accounts. Terrifying to those being attacked, and a scourge to seafaring nations reliant on trade.


Famous pirates like Henry Morgan and Blackbeard were also privateers working for English kings and queens. They routinely captured whole ships as prizes, boarding them wholesale, and stealing all their cargoes. Other nations had their own arrangements, seeking to profit from trade at sea. But, that was yesteryear.


Contemporary pirates are active in a number of areas, particularly the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, off the coast of Somalia, and the Strait of Malacca. They are often armed with AK-47s and RPGs and typically use high-speed skiffs to capture large merchant ships, yachts, and other vessels, often taking hostages and demanding ransom. The problem of modern piracy is a serious one, with millions of dollars of goods being stolen as well as numerous murders and abductions every year.


Desperate Africans and Asians, take to the sea every year, with the intention of boarding a larger vessel, capturing the ship or yacht, and kidnapping the crew. They can earn big money from capturing oil tankers, or other cargo, so temptation is high. Imagine if they captured a warship. Indeed, that is the plot of one of the John Storm adventures. But, we don't want Hollywood bootlegging that notion. Our lips are sealed for now.


Piracy is not bound to any particular region, social and political factors do though make piracy flourish in certain parts of the world. Poor coastal areas with few economic opportunities, low literacy rates, weak governments, and law enforcement, as well as easy access to weapons and proximity to busy shipping lanes give rise to more pirate activity than other areas. A prime example of such an area is Somalia, which was considered a piracy hotspot between the 1990s and 2010s. It was only after a concerted international effort led by the UN to combat Somali piracy that the number of piracy attacks off of the Somali coast dropped dramatically in the late 2010s.

The latest pirate hot spots are in the Gulf of Guinea and Singapore. In the last five years, between 36 and 48 attacks were carried out annually against ships in Nigerian waters, and between 26 and 49 piracy attacks were committed in Indonesian waters in the same period. Although piracy may be carried out by cutthroats  to secure a livelihood, more often than not it is a way for militant groups and criminal gangs to raise money for their activities. Hence, if you capture those pirates, you reduce militancy.


What then to do? Load a ship with firearms, machine pistols, shotguns, revolvers. Not for us.


With a healthy electrical supply, and modern technology, it is possible to booby trap a vessel for the unwary. And, before that, disarm pirates, or even sink a pirate boat, if they persist on a course that can only mean they intend boarding. 


Generally, pirates would not be familiar with lasers or tasers, to the less well informed - being in the realm of science fiction - and presently unheard of on shipping. The specification for the Swann being unique, a booby trapped vessel, with the capability of tracking and sinking small ships, and blinding, or rendering human invaders unconscious. We hasten to add, as a last resort against aggressors.


Either way, pirates faced with these obstacles, are likely to desist. Or face total ruin and capture.







LARGE MILITARY USP LASER - The US Army were developing a similar system through 2021 into 2022, though much larger. Fired at a drone or missile, the EMP blast destroys the guidance and other control systems of the target, typically rendering the enemy weapons useless.

The Tactical Ultrashort Pulsed Laser (USPL) platform will be different from the current laser systems, as it will emit short pulses that rely on low energy. In contrast, current lasers typically emit continuous high energy beams.

The new system is being designed to reach a terawatt for a short 200 femtoseconds — or one quadrillionth of a second. In that time, the UPSL would be able to vaporize a drone. On top of that, the hope is that it'll also be able to disrupt electronic systems in its vicinity, turning it also into a functional Electro-Magnetic-Pulse (EMP).

The concept note of the system states that the USPL will neutralize threats in three distinct ways, unlike current systems which destroy targets with a beam of focused energy.

The new system will be capable of scorching the target; blinding the target system’s sensors “through broadband supercontinuum generation in the air, and the generation of a localized electronic interference used to overload a threat’s internal electronics,” as stated in the brief.

The new system will emit a terawatt (equivalent to a million megawatt) of energy in a brief burst of 200 femtoseconds (one quadrillionth of a second), compared to the High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance, or HELIOS, that features a laser of around 60 kilowatts (one megawatt is equivalent to 1,000 kilowatts) of power.

Unlike current systems which diffract energy, the intensity of the USPL causes a “non-linear effect in air resulting in a self-focusing filament.”

These filaments of energy don’t diffract or disperse, making them far more lethal than those emitted by present laser systems.

Developers have been trying to build “femtosecond lasers” for the last two decades but have faced hurdles in logistics and infrastructure, the solicitation brief added.

However, continuous-wave laser developers have made their systems much more durable thanks to the emergence of diode and fiber laser technology, allowing them to be integrated onto ground and sea platforms.


As part of a comprehensive system to ward pirate attacks, the Elizabeth Swann is to be armed with three weapons, controlled by an AI controlled, detection tracking, ranging and firing system.

Merlin - Wizard AI alarm, detection, recording and tracking - management system


Excalibur - Ultra Short Pulsed Laser (USPL) 500-1000 kilowatts


Pendragon - Integrated onboard Taser shock immobilization system


Lancelot - Green laser temporary blindness, optical deterrent


Galahad - Vessel immobilizer and distress beacon

Merlin is an AI alarm, the eyes of system, able to detect incoming threats, analyze patterns of approach, target, provide audible communications as warnings, and finally fire 'Lancelot' or 'Excalibur.' Depending on the situation.


Should pirates still manage to scramble onboard, then 'Pendragon' will electroshock the unwelcome guests, with increasing intensity, to overcome physical force, finally rendering the boarders unconscious. When they will be zip tied. Ready to be officially arrested and detained. They could of course be thrown overboard, back into the sea. But care should be taken, not to extinguish life from hypothermia or drowning, from prolonged immersion and exhaustion. The crew of the Elizabeth Swann are after all life protectors, and human rights observers. Every life is precious, and there is the capacity for good in everyone.


Meanwhile, SOS messages will be sent, requesting assistance from naval authorities.






Elizabeth Swann



ZEWT ALORS - The hydrogen and solar assisted 'Elizabeth Swann' is to feature solar collectors and fuel tanks for ammonia and methanol.







The Autonomous AI solar and wind powered ship Elizabeth Swann



PIRATE FREE SHIP - In the quest for safe transits and reduced insurance cover, we are building in an array of self defence weapons and alarms, that we hope will make the crew of this advanced hydrogen powered trimaran, feel happy to navigate waters that other sailors fear to travel.


Some of the most infamous modern pirate attacks are:

The Quest - 2011

Maersk Alabama Hijacking (Captain Phillips) - 2009


Seabourn Spirit cruise liner (Somalia) - 2005


Seamaster (Sir Peter Blake) - 2001


Hye Mieko merchant ship & Chinese Coast Guard Cutter - 1995










Erria Inge 1990













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