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The Law Applicable to Captured Pirates Introduction Sea piracy is a major international problem, it is responsible for about $16 billion in damage to international shipping each year. Hundreds of people are held hostage by pirates each year; some are assaulted, and a few are killed. Today’s pirates are considerably more sophisticated than their counterparts of yesteryear: they often carry satellite phones, global positioning systems, automatic weapons, antitank missiles and so on. Many have mundane motivations: cash, cargo, and ransom. Some are involved in organized crime. Others are linked with Islamist terrorist and separatist groups. Modern piracy peaked globally in 2003, but reported attacks rose by about ten percent between 2006 and 2007. The most reported pirate attacks in 2007 occurred in Indonesian waters. Most recently East Africa emerged as a piracy hot spot, due to the collapse of the Somali state. But still, in the first quarter of 2008, the m