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How not to be killed by pirates? The best way is to avoid them. If you have a 150′ gin palace, it’s probably wise not to go for a leisure cruise off Somalia, or in the Straits of Malacca, or certain bits of the Caribbean. That way you won’t meet any pirates, and the chances of getting killed by them are reduced to zero.

But you may have a bit of a devil-may-care attitude, and decide to risk an encounter, in which case you need to know how to cope. Now to run into some pirates, you’re going to need a boat. Something substantial; these are deep and dangerous waters you’re going to be sailing. If you don’t have and can’t afford a boat of your own, you’re going to have to steal one, I’m afraid. Yes, you’re going to have to suffer for your art.

I am not advocating stealing boats as a practice, but as a fully qualified urban warrior, you’ll be aware that all property is theft, so really it doesn’t matter if you steal it back, does it? Now as it happens I do know someone who has stolen a 40’ yacht. Bloody hell this is a top story. As far as I am aware, it is bona fide. If the person who told me this reads my blog, and I have got some details wrong, I do apologise. You can get a bit stroppy about this stuff, I know, and I was having trouble concentrating between laughing hysterically and saying ‘You did what?’

An acquaintance of mine was travelling in Indonesia with a partner. They discovered that a certain someone else had been arrested and extradited to his native Australia on some pretty serious charges that, if he were found guilty, would lead to a lengthy jail sentence. As it was he was in chokey pending trial. A pleasingly surreal aspect is that he was originally Austrian. Maybe it’s just me. That can happen.

Anyway, as you do, they decided to steal the boat he owned. I can see how that thought process could happen. I can. It might seem a very good idea indeed after some beers and a few tokes. I myself have always stopped with unattended supermarket trolleys, but it’s just a matter of degree if you think about it.

They did a really professional job on things. They paid good money to a local forger to fake a signature on a deed of transfer. It all looked very legal indeed, and since the real owner was in clink in Oz, it looked pretty foolproof.

One thing they had not factored in was that the boat was under scrutiny for drug running. That was highly negligent. Indonesian authorities do not take kindly to drugs. They’d barely cleared the harbour before they were surrounded by gunboats laden with a lot of men with powerful weaponry, bad attitudes, and short fuses. They got boarded, arrested, taken back to port, and thrown in the slammer. An Indonesian slammer. Not good. Not when your passport has been seized.

Now things get truly bizarre. The staff from the British Embassy turned up trumps. You may be unaware of this, but if you think you have a British passport, you don’t. You may have it in your possession, but it actually belongs to the Queen. It does, really. Read the small print. If it gets seized, then strictly whoever seizes it is stealing from the Crown. Neat eh? It worked as a ruse, and after some lengthy prevarication, including an eight hour wait in a corridor with no chairs, and still dressed only in swimming costumes, they were released. Hot damn.

Erm, no. They got back to ‘their’ boat to find it still swarming with cops and a party of people from the United Nations for some unclear reason. By the end of the day they’d removed some very dodgy DVDs, a couple of guns, you know, all the things you expect to find on a boat that you’ve technically stolen.

Free at last, the couple sailed off into the sunset. How idyllic. Until the engine threw a bearing in the middle of nowhere. They hailed a passing fishing boat, which came to their aid but rather cackhandedly rammed them when manoeuvring, and sustained some quite considerable damage. When they got towed back to port, not their home port I might add, they had to fork out a lot of money for the damage to the fishing boat/pirate’s vessel to be repaired. It could have been a lot worse. The captain of the fishing boat could have demanded ‘their’ boat as salvage. In maritime law this is completely legitimate. If somebody throws you a line and you catch it, technically your vessel has been salvaged and belongs to the salvager. Most folks pass this one up, but bear it in mind.

Of course, seeing as how it wasn’t their boat at all, they moored up, headed to the airport, and got the first flight they could to somewhere else. Anywhere else.

So if you don’t want to be killed by pirates, go to Ayia Napa, or Ibiza. Frinton maybe.

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