Need a pirate expert?

That’s a subject line you don’t read every day: “Pirate expert available.”

It showed up on a press release I received in my email today, where a PR firm offered me an interview with a person who has expertise in modern piracy in the wake of another ship takeover off the coast of Somali. I doubt this guy talks like pirate, though.

Dear Producer:

Recent headlines prove the power of the pirate is evident. From a hijacked Saudi Arabian supertanker to the boomtown of Somalian pirate port, pirates are raiding, looting, and raking in millions.

How are they taking these huge ships? How do they plan? What do they want? Is there any way to punish them, catch them, stop them?  How are piracy and terrorism connected – and how should they be dealt with under international law?

Doug Burgess, one of the world’s foremost authorities on piracy, contents that piracy and terrorism are historically and psychologically connected, and one can be used to define the other legally. Fear is a tactic and a vital part of the message pirates wish to send through deliberately violent acts.

Burgess holds a law degree from Cornell University and a Master’s Degree in International Law and is completing a doctorate in Atlantic world history with a concentration in high-seas piracy. His writings on piracy have appeared in the journal Legal Affairs and he has been quoted in The New York Times.

He is the author of the recent book THE PIRATE’S PACT: The Secret Alliances Between Histor’ys Most Notorious Buccaneers and Colonial America.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen