Special Report

As pirate attacks grow, shipowners take arms

By Peter Apps, Political Risk Correspondent

POOLE, England | Tue May 3

(Reuters) – Upstairs in a public house on the English south coast, 18 men are preparing to take on the pirates of the Indian Ocean.

Around antique polished wooden tables scattered with laminated charts, handouts and smartphones, they sit in attentive silence as teachers in jeans and T-shirts discuss pirate tactics and the hazards of the law. Almost to a man, the students — their haircuts short, their arms muscled and tattooed — have military experience: some on well-paid, dangerous private security contracts in Iraq or Afghanistan.

It almost feels as if history is repeating itself. The Blue Boar pub is in a building that dates back to the 18th century, when Poole was one of England’s busiest trading ports [continue reading article]

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