You say this cruise is bungled. Ah! by gum, if you could understand how bad it's bungled, you would see! We're that near the gibbet that my neck's stiff with thinking on it. You've seen 'em, maybe, hanged in chains, birds about 'em, seamen p'inting 'em out as as they go down with the tide. 'Who's that?' says one. That! Why, that's John Silver. I knowed him well,' says another. And you can hear the chains a-jangle as you go about and reach for the other buoy ...
Twenty-first century :
The Royal Navy, once the scourge of brigands on the high seas, has been told by the Foreign Office not to detain pirates because doing so may breach their human rights.
Warships patrolling pirate-infested waters, such as those off Somalia, have been warned that there is also a risk that captured pirates could claim asylum in Britain.
The Foreign Office has advised that pirates sent back to Somalia could have their human rights breached because, under Islamic law, they face beheading for murder or having a hand chopped off for theft.
In 2005 there were almost 40 attacks by pirates and 16 vessels were hijacked and held for ransom. Employing high-tech weaponry, they kill, steal and hold ships’ crews to ransom. This year alone pirates killed three people near the Philippines.
Britain is part of a coalition force that patrols piracy stricken areas and the guidance has troubled navy officers who believe they should have more freedom to intervene.
The guidance was sharply criticised by Julian Brazier MP, the Conservative shipping spokesman, who said: “These people commit horrendous offences. The solution is not to turn a blind eye but to turn them over to the local authorities. The convention on human rights quite rightly doesn’t cover the high seas. It’s a pathetic indictment of what our legal system has come to.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “There are issues about human rights and what might happen in these circumstances. The main thing is to ensure any incident is resolved peacefully.”
The guidance is the latest blow to the robust image of the navy. Last year 15 of its sailors were taken prisoner by the Iranians and publicly humiliated.
In the 19th century, British warships largely eradicated piracy when they policed the oceans. The death penalty for piracy on the high seas remained on the statute books until 1998. Modern piracy ranges from maritime mugging to stealing from merchant ships with the crew held at gunpoint.
(via the Dumb One)