I was looking at international long distance rates on Vonage, which are quite good (like 10 cents a minute to China), but was shocked to see that Inmarsat satellite calls are over $12 a minute! For fun, I did a search on Inmarsat and found this article about Inmarsat eavesdropping. Apparently, real pirates like to do this.
Pirates are the heroes of age-old adventure stories, but most of us forget that whole regions still depend on modern pirates. The coast around Malacca in Malaysia is such a spot, together with the Bay of Thailand and the Southern Chinese Sea. In South America the coast of Northern Brazil is another centre of pirate activity. On average every other day sees an attack, and whenever pirates strike they leave good manners at home. Typically all people on board of a ship are killed, unless they manage to escape with a rescue boat. Most pirates know in advance if the ship and its cargo is worth an attack, because they use state of the art equipment to monitor Inmarsat communications and even fax transmissions listing every single cargo item. Quite a substantial portion of Inmarsat reception units that are being sold in Germany or the United States are channelled to those regions where they are of invaluable service to modern age pirates. French journalist Eric Paquier managed to interview one pirate recently and when asked what pirates do with their victims he got the following response: 'We hang them upside down on one of the masts, then burn them alive and later eat their ears for dessert."
When is there going to be a movie about modern-day pirates? Link
UPDATE: Bill Berry sez: "That's a good idea: a movie about modern-day pirates. I'd see it.
I don't know if you remember the old 60s Hanna-Barbera show The Banana Splits, but they had a segment on the show that featured modern-day (er, 60s) pirates. If I remember correctly, they had modern boats and guns.
Danger Island. The show's main ongoing one live action serial. Directed by future Hollywood director Richard (Lethal Weapon) Donner, it centred on five people stranded on a remote jungle island: Doctor Hayden and his young daughter Lesley, Link (played by child actor Jan Micheal Vincent, later to play the character of Link in '80s TV series Airwolf), Morgan (who proved the muscles), and the silent native, Chongo. Together they faced deadly natives, pirates, landslides and earthquakes.
As Bingo says: "Oh-oh...Danger Island next!" Link