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Dangerous Waters: Modern Piracy and Terror on the High Seas Paperback – September 30, 2003


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Dangerous Waters: Modern Piracy and Terror on the High Seas + The History of Piracy (Dover Maritime) + Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (September 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452284139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452284135
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,391,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For many, the word "pirate" only conjures up kitschy images of mustachioed villains with eye patches and gold hoop earrings. But as Burnett, a freelance journalist and former United Press International reporter, shows in this original and intriguing work, piracy is alive and well. A firsthand experience with pirates-in which his private sloop was attacked near Borneo-inspired Burnett to explore the modern world of thievery at sea. He hitches rides on two ships, a British carrier transporting crude oil from the Middle East to Western and Asian refineries, and a tanker carrying jet fuel and diesel oil to Vietnam. He describes some hair-raising close calls and shares his research along the way. Pirates, he explains, are often "gangs of poverty-stricken young men" (or sometimes women) employed by warlords, organized crime syndicates and terrorists. They attack mostly cargo ships, but anything might be fair game. The most likely spots for attacks are off the coasts of Malaysia and Indonesia. He also "dramatizes" some recent, extremely brutal real-life examples of piracy. As Burnett shows, the most terrifying scenario is that of a major terrorist attack on the seas. The USS Cole incident suggests that big ships are really quite vulnerable-especially since much of the world's sea cargo is oil. Burnett's well-researched investigation is spiked with plenty of seafaring action.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Maritime piracy, once confined to the history books and long romanticized by storytellers and would-be adventurous youth, experienced a surprisingly rapid resurgence in the last decade. Shipping routes around Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa have seen frequent pirate attacks. Today's pirates, however, have advantages their predecessors never dreamed of, such as modern weapons, radar, and tangles of red tape complicating law enforcement in international waters. Journalist and sailor Burnett joins up with an oil tanker to investigate. He details the antipiracy measures set up by shipping companies, captains, and crews and even tells how, during a pirate drill, one crew member was able to breach security despite the precautions. Throughout the book, Burnett writes of his shipmates' previous encounters with pirates as well as the experiences of other interviewees. If "fascinating" can ever be used to describe such a grave and terrible subject, Burnett's account is a prime example. Both chilling and gripping, Burnett's book will not be confined to the niches of pirate lore or sea adventure, but will attract readers of all interests. Gavin Quinn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Mr. Burnett has written a book that provides a rich and rare insight into life at sea today.
m.zandstra
All of which makes for a very interesting and eminently credible book, which I recommend without hesitation to anyone who wants to learn more about the subject.
AcornMan
I heard this author on the radio, and was so capitivated by the subject matter that I later bought this book.
"sandjumper73"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Tim F. Martin on March 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
_Dangerous Waters_ is an excellent book by John S. Burnett, a revelatory work that showed me a whole new world I had little idea existed, the world of modern pirates. Pirates are unfortunately thought of as dashing romantic figures of the earlier centuries, perhaps a threat during the age of sail or suitable for a Hollywood movie, but not a threat today. Burnett contradicts this stereotype, showing that pirates are alive and well in the 21st century, a threat to everything from the lives of sailors at sea to quite possibly international security, with 335 assaults worldwide and 241 seafarers killed, held hostage, or wounded in 2001. Indeed attacks are up 400 percent since 1992, with over 2000 sailors having been taken hostage in the ten years from 1992-2002.
The pirates today are a mixed bunch and can be found all over the world and can be anyone from a highly trained guerilla warrior to a rogue military unit (such as in Indonesia) to part of an international criminal gang or cartel. Pirates might also be part of international terrorist organizations (particularly Abu Sayaf out of the Philippines, which has strong links to Al-Qaeda as well as Asian crime syndicates and the heroin trade) or even simply local down-and-out fishermen who see a rich prize steaming by and can't resist (he states that poverty has driven many to piracy in the Caribbean, in Nigeria, Bangladesh, and elsewhere). Burnett writes that pirate weapons can vary from knives and machetes to modern assault rifles and grenade launchers. Pirates have even been known to have an insider in the crew of a ship, planted there to assist in a plan act of piracy.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "sandjumper73" on May 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is extremely well-writen and contains both first and second hand accounts of piracy. More important than the individual tales that Burnett weaves together is the overall theme. Virtually no ship is completely safe from piracy and piracy has been increasing at alarming rates.
I heard this author on the radio, and was so capitivated by the subject matter that I later bought this book. I was not disappointed. Burnet opens with his tale of pirates boarding his sale boat. He later travels on two large commerical ships. While traveling on these boats, he blends firsthand accounts of piracy prevention and secondhand accounts of attacks on commericial ships.
That these pirates have success while using very primitive tools and methods is very alarming.
As for shotcomings, I would have preferred more information on piracy in the caribbean. The book focuses on the biggest hotspot, the Malacca Straights near Singapore.
For those who doubt the authenticity of the subject matter, I suggest you type "piracy report" into google and check out the weekly reports provided by the International Chamber of Commerce. The link was provided by the author.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a "must read" for anyone who sails any size boat or ship. It's also a crucial contribution to the ongoing discussion over homeland security measures. But even landlubbers safe in their LaZ Boys will enjoy the well-written, frightening tales of viscious knife-wielding criminals.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on October 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
John S. Burnett's "Dangerous Waters" sounds a warning about the global rise in crimes on the high seas. What he's talking about in his investigation is not, for the most part, large pirate vessles sailing the oceans in search of booty. Instead, he describes (mostly) small scale acts of robbery punctuated by the occasional dramatic act of violence. As Burnett points out, most pirarcy today occurs between Africa and the Pacific Ocean, and indeed Burnett spends most of his investigation in and around Indonesia, which has become modern pirarcy's largest hotbed.
Burnett had a harrowing personal experience with pirates in 1992 when he was robbed while sailing his small boat off the coast on Indonesia. This was the genesis for his investigation, though he did not begin his travels in search of pirates until nearly ten years later. Along the way, he talks to several victims of pirates, some law enforcement types out to stop it and also takes a journey aboard an oil tanker through pirate infested waters.
Burnett does a good job sounding a warning about modern piracy and the potential for a major economic or environmental disaster if, for example, an oil supertanker is hijacked for ransom or crashes while being the crew is being attacked. On the downside, Burnett's approach is haphazard and not well organized. He jumps from topic to topic randomly and has the annoying habit of repeating himself. The book also lacks one central compelling event to give it added punch.
Overall, an informative book with a few flaws.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By kevnm VINE VOICE on December 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is primarily a wake-up call to the world about a real and growing problem. Modern day piracy is no joke, and the author is convincing in his argument that a major incident is not far from landing on the front pages. The line between pirates and terrorists is a fine one, and security on the high seas is almost nonexistant. I found the book's structure and writing to be adequate to its message, but not too much more. Less seriously, I was amused by the author's references to exercise and his physical condition and wondered who he was trying to convince. The reader? A younger wife? Nevertheless, a serious book, and one with appeal to readers interested in crime, international affairs and all things maritime.
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