In 2003, ship owners reported 445 attacks, in which 92 seafarers were killed or reported missing and 359 were assaulted and taken hostage. (Ships were hijacked in 19 of these cases and boarded in 311.) From 2002 to 2003, the number of those killed and taken hostage in attacks nearly doubled. Pirates have also increased their tactical sophistication, often surrounding a target ship with several boats and firing machine guns and antitank missiles to force it to stop. Pirates and Islamist terrorist groups have long operated in the same areas, including the Arabian Sea, the South China Sea, and in waters off the coast of western Africa. Now, in the face of massive international efforts to freeze their finances, terrorist groups have come to view piracy as a potentially rich source of funding.

Whereas land targets are relatively well protected, the super-extended energy umbilical cord that extends by sea to connect the West and the Asian economies with the Middle East is more vulnerable than ever. Sixty percent of the world's oil is shipped by approximately 4,000 slow and cumbersome tankers. These vessels have little protection, and when attacked, they have nowhere to hide. (Except on Russian and Israeli ships, the only weapons crewmembers have today to ward off attackers are high-powered fire hoses and spotlights.)


"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."     - Helen Keller  (1880-1968)


  "The warrior's approach is to say 'yes' to life: 'yea' to it all."

 - Joseph Campbell.  Author, Editor, Philosopher and Teacher, (1904-1987)

" When a fighter pilot dwells upon his mortality, he becomes a victim waiting to be shot down.  A fighter pilot must keep his focus upon his mission and his expertise. Yes, a man has got to know his limitations; but,  it is folly to gauge our limitations via the opinion of others. Every limitation is an invitation to overcome, to grow and to experience an authentic life.  In so doing, we awaken the tiger that sleeps within us. " 

  Arlington Splendor

  "Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely
   so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light."

- Joseph Pulitzer. Hungarian born American newspaper Editor and Publisher.